Object of the Day

Celia Cruz's Cuban Rumba Dress

February 6

The Cuban-American singer Celia Cruz, the “Queen of Salsa,” wore this Bata Cubana, or Cuban Rumba dress, in many performances, and donated it to the Smithsonian in 1997.

Cuban Rumba Dress

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.
Currently not on view
Data Source
National Museum of American History
Associated Name
Cruz, Celia
Arteaga, Enrique
date made
1973 - 1987
Credit Line
Gift of Celia Cruz
Physical Description
red (overall color)
polyester (overall material)
overall: 55 in x 50 in x 93 in; 139.7 cm x 127 cm x 236.22 cm
Object Name