"Dancing Tid-bits" Issue #74, Thursday, Oct 1 2001

Dancing Tid-bits
Rumba, a lesson with Pierre Allaire

Who is Pierre Allaire? The Canadian legend of Ballroom and Latin dancing from Montreal. 10 Dance Champion and all that! Ohio Star Ball is well known as a top event in USA, attracting dancers from all over the world. I have rarely seen a more entertaining couple than Pierre and Merelieux. The most wonderful thing about this couple used to be the shear Joy of Dancing which will ooze from their bodies and that is what the audience could feel. So, if Pierre was not #1 there was enough "booing" from the crowd. His passion for dancing makes him a great teacher and adjudicator.

So a few weeks ago, I had an opportunity to attend a group session with him at the Dancesport Academy of Michigan in Dearborn. A rather large group; I present the following summary of a basic Rumba:

Toes turned out? Yes, we know that in Latin, we have toes turned out! Really I had not asked that question to myself before, Why? I just took it for granted. He had us up, standing on both feet quite apart. As we paralleled our feet we could not do the hip motion. Same was true when we turned our toes out, too much. It did make a lot of sense.

How much turn out in the toes? My personal opinion:I would say around 1/8 or less looks good but it will vary from couple to couple. Let's not loose the "naturalness "

Cuban Motion or Hip Movement: We divided the beats as, 1&2&3&4&, He told us to use the &s for the hip motion and step on the numbers. 41 is naturally longer but accent the hip on & of 1 (in other words count 41&).

Express yourself: This was interesting because everyone had their own way, including myself. No matter what, it encouraged us to put "feeling" into the dance and really it did make me feel that my "body" was indeed dancing.

Total Body involvement: Combine feeling with the body and you will look and feel better. Of course the total body involvement or movement has to be understood, coordinated and meaningful. The bodies were moving and churning in all directions.

Longest Arms. We know that "Arms should always be active." Absolutely stretched or too much bent arms do not create illusion of "longness." It was nice when he pointed out that simply, let your arms hang loose and then raise them to the side with some tone. Now you have long and strong arms. A feeling that some electricity is passing through the tip of your middle finger and as if you want to touch the audience with that energy, is quite self explanatory.

Spot turn: The turn is made on the ball but the heel must be touching the floor. Of course we all knew that?

We did not have time for intricate Choreography but we all used these concepts doing solo work with Rumba Basic, New Yorks and Spot Turns to L and R. and that was the end of that. I did leave with a slight appetite for a small Sparkle of Choreography but then you cant have it all in 1 hour...

Best Wishes Max.

Questions and comments to Dancemax@aol.com, thank you.

This article is part of and should be seen in the frame context of Dancesport UK, Tid-bits