Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The rumba originated in Cuba (where it is called bolero-son), and combines the musical traditions of Spanish canción with African rhythms and percussion. The dance became wildly popular in the 1930's, and is the slowest of five competition Latin ballroom dances. Many of the people who played Latin music in the U.S. were Jewish musicians rooted in the Klezmer tradition, including the marvelous pianist Irving Fields; from this evolved a wonderful repertoire of traditional Yiddish songs done in the SQQ rumba rhythm (including My Yiddishe Mama and Shein Vi Di Levone, songs we are dancing to in the ballroom class to learn rumba basics).

In both folk dance classes, we'll be reviewing Cicovata (also known as Vidinska Chichovata). I learned this dance first from Steve Kotansky, and then again this summer at Balkan Camp from Yuli Yordanuv. Yuli called the dance "the pravo of Northwest Bulgaria."

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