Rhumba is a North American dance form performed ‘socially as well as competitively’.

This ‘ballroom’ dance is said to have originated during the 1930’s in the United States of America along the East Coast. This dance form essentially involved the use of ‘Afro-Cuban rhythms’ and mainly the song cubano.

Furthermore, this dance is considered to be slowest among the competitive Latin dances that include the Paso doble, Samba, Cha-cha-cha, and Jive. This form of dance is further divided into the American and Cuban style.

Difference between Rhumba and Rumba?

Rhumba with the “h” is the international latin dance. The name itself gives a clue, being a Spanish-Portugese language hybrid. Suspect is that it’s Western Europe’s interpretation of Latin American or Spanish dance: Afro-Cuban Rumba, Rumba Flamenco and Rumba Cataluña.

Rhumba is also called Rumba or pronounced as Rumba in America. Rumba is a genre of ballroom dance.

a. History/origin of the Rhumba dance:

It was during the 16th century that black slaves were frequently brought from Africa to countries like Cuba located in the Latin American region. It was thus due to the presence of these African slaves and their culture, that a dance style involving “pronounced hip movements” was developed in Cuba which was called “Rumbha”. It was then during the Second World War that a modified version of the original Rhumba called “Son” was then created. Furthermore, it was Son that was then modified into what is popularly known around the world as the “American Rhumba”.

b. Costumes used in the Rhumba Dance:

Since this dance is performed by both males and females the costume worn varies accordingly. They are as follows:

1. For women:

The costume worn includes a colourful short dress and a pair of high heel shoes.

2. For men:

The attire includes an overcoat, a shirt, a trouser, and a pair of dancing shoes.

c. Music involved in the Rhumba dance:

The musical instruments involved in this dance include the saxophone, cornet, guitar, piano, violin, bass, maracas, congas, bongos, timbales, and drums.


d. Training availability and the technique involved in the Rhumba dance:

In terms of technique, the American Rumba (the internationally popular rhumba style) involves the use of a “box step” which is known for a “slow-quick-quick pattern”. In addition, this step is usually performed to the 1st, 3rd, and 4th beat on a piece of music comprising of four beats in totality. As for training availability, there are number of them available around the world for all those interested in acquiring skills in this “ballroom dance” which has originated from North America.

e. How to dance the Rumba (Rhumba dancing Basic tutorial video for beginners):

The following 4 videos show the basic steps of the Rhumba dance explaining how to do the rumba dance. All these 4 YouTube channels provide extensive tutorials covering the basics of rumba dancing for beginners.

  1. Howcast
  2. Egils Smagris
  3. Dance Insanity
  4. Passion4dancing

image credit

Categories USA
Translate »