Over 50 people attended Juan Pescao Stable’s “Sentimiento and Manana” Rumba performance last Sunday afternoon at the Prescott Joseph Center in West Oakland.
During the performance, members of the audience were asked to dance and learn some new moves, cheered on by friends and family members. There were some technical issues with the microphone, prompting an intermission, and people went inside the center to view the art show featuring a variety of paintings from artists such as Bertrell Smith.
Rumba is a form of Afro-Cuban music that features percussive rhythms, song and ballroom dance. The name derives from the Cuban Spanish word rumbo, which means“party” or “spree.”
The three main forms of rumba are yambú, guaguanco, and Columbia, which differ in choreography and the pace. Guaguanco is a seductive couples dance, Columbia is a fast and highly acrobatic solo male dance, and Yambú is a couple dance similar to guaguancó but much slower.
“We want to keep the tradition going whether we’re in Old Havana or Oakland,” said Stable. “For many Cubans, Rumba is spiritual and we play the music for our ancestors.”
Stable was a member of a group of professional Rumberos from Santiago de Cuba and from Guantanamo. Stable grew up in Guantanamo where he learned the songs, chants, and percussions to play rumba. He now teaches rumba every Wednesday from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Malonga Center in Oakland.
Stable said this was the group’s first time performing at the Prescott-Joseph Center and hopes to have more shows at the venue in the future.