The Fan in Rumba is one of the most iconic steps for International Latin Ballroom Rumba. In this lesson, we are only focusing on the follower’s part! Sorry Leaders, next time! (On a separate note, you can improve your leading skills by 1000 folds if you know exactly where the follower needs to go in the Rumba Fan step. Therefore, you can certainly benefit from this as well. 🙂
For the followers, the Rumba Fan by itself, is really quite a simple step. A back walk, followed by a closing of the feet with a weight change. What can possibly go wrong? Well, let’s take a look below. Shall we?
Fan Mistake #1: Taking a side step (copying the Leader's footwork)
Don’t be tempted to copy what your leader is doing. The leader is in fact stepping to the SIDE, while you (the follower) is stepping BACK into Fan position.
How to Practice your Fan footwork:
- Remember that the Fan is a BACK Rumba walk. Not a side rumba walk.
- As you step back, draw your left foot directly back without swiveling/ turning on your right foot.
- When practicing with your partner, stay perpendicular to him as you walk into Fan position.
Fan mistake #2: Moving the arm too much for the connection
How to practice the correct Fan connection:
- Stillness in the frame is always important for creating a good connection.
- Keep a slight bend in your connected arm throughout.
- Try not to move that arm around.
- Make your connection come from your core and the rotation of your hips as you change weight. This means neither pushing nor pulling with the arm to create a “FAKE” connection. Trust me. That would feel really terrible to your partner.
Fan Mistake #3: Falling backwards and ending back-weighted
Practice Keeping Weight Forward in a Rumba Back Walk:
- Keep your body weight forward over the ball of the front foot, as you move your left leg back.
- Then shift your body weight over the ball of the left foot.
- Sometimes, dancers over-compensate by leaning their torso forward thinking that is keeping the weight forward. That actually breaks up the body line. Instead, focus on keeping your spine long and straight with your core engaged.
Fan Mistake #4: Not Closing the Feet
This IS Probably the BIGGEST “NO NO” for the fan.
Practice Closing your feet and Switching Weight on the Rumba Fan:
- Bring ankles to close with toes pointing outwards to maintain your turnout. (See these other turnout exercises)
- Keep ankles together as you switch weight.
Fan Mistake #5: Flip Flopping Hip Action
Instead of swishing your hips side to side in a pendulum motion, work the hips more forward and back.
How to Practice Your Rumba Fan Hip Action:
1. Take your step, then rotate your left side back (not to the side) as you draw your right foot in.
2. Rotate right hip back (not to the side) as you switch your weight to the right leg.
3. Keep your knees pointing forward and brush the insides of your legs as you change weight. These actions help keep your hip rotation working in the forward and back direction.
A final word about the Rumba Fan:
This one step encompasses two of the most important elements for a good rumba – A back rumba walk, a closing action for the feet. Master those 2 and things and you’ll see big improvements for your Latin dancing. It’s also important to practice keeping a good dance posture and International Rumba timing intact as you practice.