Using dance anthropology to illuminate the values and attitudes embodied in rumba, Yvonne Daniel explores the surprising relationship between dance and the profound, complex changes in contemporary Cuba.
From the barrio and streets to the theatre and stage, rumba has emerged as an important medium, contributing to national goals, reinforcing Caribbean solidarity, and promoting international prestige. Since the Revolution of 1959, rumba has celebrated national identity and cultural heritage, and embodied an official commitment to new values. Once a lower-class recreational dance, rumba has become a symbol of egalitarian efforts in postrevolutionary Cuba. The professionalization of performers, organization of performance spaces, and proliferation of performance opportunities have prompted new paradigms and altered previous understandings of rumba.