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Cuban Rumba Dress
Grade Range: K-12
Resource Type(s): Artifacts, Primary Sources
Date Posted: 12/18/2008
This is a Bata Cubana, or Cuban Rumba dress, donated to the Smithsonian by Celia Cruz, the great Cuban salsa singer in 1997. An adaptation of the traditional Cuban rumba dress, it was made in the United States by Cuban-born designer José Arteaga. The Bata Cubana has its roots in the 19th century, with origins as diverse as the multicultural makeup of the people of Cuba. It brings together influences from Spanish, French, and African culture and dress, combining theater, fiesta, and the spectacle of carnival with slave and gypsy dress. The Bata Cubana is a garment worn for performance on stage or cabaret. Celia Cruz's Bata Cubana is made of orange polyester satin, trimmed with white nylon eyelet along ruffle-edges and eyelet beading along seams with inserted orange ribbon. The Bata Cubana was Celia's preferred performance costume.
Use this Investigation Sheet to guide students through describing the object and analyzing its meaning.