Rumba: Making the Right Facial Expression

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by caw, Dec 11, 2012.

  1. caw

    caw Active Member

    How do you learn to do this properly? I mean, for the other dances it's a little more easy: Cha cha: flirt, Samba: party, Jive: fun fun fun, Paso: you talking to me? huh?!?!

    But Rumba is really not the easiest for me. I'm the lead, but I'm sure it's just as hard for the follow. So what do we do? Well, we know Rumba is the dance of love and passion, extacy and heartache, but these abstract terms (which make sense to those who already understand the matter), they don't make any sense when I need to know what face to make. Any concrete suggestions? We've tried copying pros, but we just feel and look stupid. Maybe we've copied the wrong ones.
     
  2. latingal

    latingal Moderator Staff Member

    Ummm....I try NOT to fake facial expressions. I go with the concept that the appropriate facial expression comes naturally when you feel internally what the body language of the dance is expressing.
     
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  3. caw

    caw Active Member

    Hmm, that may be a problem for me, because I often make no facial expression in real life when emotional things are going on...
     
  4. vit

    vit Active Member

    Well, many girls on my salsa venue can clearly show the passion when dancing on more sensual salsa tunes, and even more on bachata or zouk ... so why would that be so hard dancing rumba ? Maybe it's not so much about facial expression, but more about trying to feel it
     
  5. debmc

    debmc Well-Known Member

    I agree with Latingal's suggestion. I remember a thread about "dancing sexy" and I have thought about that concept alot, and I feel that as one gets better at the sensual movements of rumba, the expressions go along with it. There is a "letting go" aspect too... and that can be hard, because if it is overdone, it looks goofy, but if you can get to the point where you are really feeling the dance and the partnership, and you feel safe to express what that feels like, then it happens....
     
  6. danceronice

    danceronice Well-Known Member

    Or not being able to feel it with strangers (if I get stuck in a social situation involving salsa, rumba, etc. with someone who ISN'T 20+ years my senior or/and a professional who's working, my facial language is mostly trying to keep a smile on my face and avoid eye contact so they won't get the wrong idea because ew) or professionals. And let's face it, the whole rumba stereotype (the "vertical expression" line) is just silly, it's hard to take it seriously, especially when the dancing is strictly business.

    Not to mention what ARE the appropriate facial expressions? Mechanically. I'm usually happy if I can not look like I'm concentrating.
     
  7. debmc

    debmc Well-Known Member

    Do you make facial expressions when you are feeling joy or happiness?
     
  8. Jananananana

    Jananananana Active Member

    Let's be honest:
     
  9. TinyDancer109

    TinyDancer109 Well-Known Member

    Imagine your partner is a chocolate cake.
     
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  10. j_alexandra

    j_alexandra Well-Known Member

    the best rumba advice I've ever heard. thanks for the laugh!
     
  11. Jananananana

    Jananananana Active Member

    I don't think that's good advice. I don't think judges would appreciate me licking my partner's face.
     
  12. debmc

    debmc Well-Known Member

    Funny!
     
  13. vit

    vit Active Member

    I believe caw is asking about expression when dancing with the regular partner, at least previous questions were in that context (so I understood). Of course we are usually not doing these things with total strangers. But it's nice to watch the couple if their dancing is showing some (fictional) story, some (fictional) feelings, not just on their faces but on the whole body ... Yes, maybe rumba stereotype is silly, and it's probably the same with many other dances (with paso doble first on my mind), but it's how it is
     
  14. caw

    caw Active Member

    Of course, but I think I make less than most people - I often internalize it. Once I was on a fishing boat in the Gulf, having a really wonderful time, and my friend asked my why I looked so serious. But that said, I smile and laugh too. It looks like people are saying I just have to let it out, which sounds difficult knowing myself, but I'll give it a try.
     
  15. Groovology

    Groovology New Member

    Competitive ballroom dancing is at least in part a performance art, so I think having the right expression is really key, but there's no one right answer as to how to accomplish it. Feeling the music and letting it get you into character are really key, because you are, in a sense, acting. Even though the partnership is generally a business relationship, you need to convey the image that you and your follow are enacting a love story across the five dances. In other words, think less about "facial expressions with each dance" and consider instead "what stage of the relationship is my character in right now?"

    While you look for those answers, you can treat practices a bit like an improv show. You get a brief, fairly vague primer on what your characters are and the situation they're put into, and you fill in the rest. The answers will come in time with the right perspective.
     
    vit likes this.
  16. TinyDancer109

    TinyDancer109 Well-Known Member

    LOL seriously though... its the same lustful facial expression!
     
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  17. Jananananana

    Jananananana Active Member

    Great, next time I'm dancing rumba that's all I'm going to think about. Chocolate. There goes my diet...again.
     
  18. danceronice

    danceronice Well-Known Member

    Paso's actually the only one I've found to have real-world analogues as far as the body goes (but that's because it's based on bullfighting, which is only dissimilar from normal work with barnyard animals in that you don't normally WANT the animal to charge you. But it does happen and planting your feet and moving your upper body is sometimes the best method of not getting run down.)

    And of course it's fictional, all dance everywhere is acting, but trying to come up with facial expressions for it that don't look stupid is especially hard with rumba. Comp makeup doesn't help, but it's better at least than looking like you don't have eyes from a distance. It's easier to act from the neck down when you have to do something other than smile or look harsh.
     
  19. Jananananana

    Jananananana Active Member

    In all seriousness....mwhahahahaha.... no but seriously..... mwahahahahah, I can't really think about my face when I'm dancing. I usually just think about the song playing and whether I like it and I concentrate on the dancing. My face generally reacts to whatever music is playing. I've given some funny looks before "Who picked THIS piece of crap for a rumba?" It's generally disgust mixed with confusion.
     
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  20. caw

    caw Active Member

    When you wield an unconscious competence like that, you're set. But those of us who aren't masters need a bit of help - and I think many people here have been helpful :)
     

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