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Rhumba (Rumba)

OUT to Dance offers ballroom dance classes and more at West Roxbury School of Dance: click here for our current dance classes.

Ballroom Rumba and Rhumba
However you choose to spell it, Rumba is a smooth, elegant and often funky partner dance based on Cuban Rumba and Son. This type of "Big Band Rumba" was also known as Rhumba. The interaction, emotion and the soft rhythm between the partners earned the dance the title "Dance of Love." Rhumba is the smooth, sophisticated cousin of salsa and cha cha. A tremendous number of contemporary pop and Latin tunes are actually rhumbas, so rumba is a very useful dance, overflowing with spins, wraps, and heat.

Cuban Rumba
Rumba arose in Havana in the 1890s. As a sexually-charged Afro-Cuban dance, rumba was often suppressed and restricted because it was viewed as dangerous and lewd. Later, Prohibition in the United States caused a flourishing of the relatively-tolerated cabaret rumba, as American tourists flocked to see crude sainetes (short plays) which featured racial stereotypes and generally, though not always, rumba.

Perhaps because of the mainstream and middle-class dislike for rumba, danzón and (unofficially) son montuno became seen as "the" national music for Cuba, and the expression of Cubanismo. Rumberos reacted by mixing the two genres in the 1930s, 40s and 50s; by the mid-40s, the genre had regained respect, especially the guaguanco style.

Rumba is sometimes confused with salsa, with which it shares origins and essential movements.

Gypsy Rumba
In the 1990s the French group Gypsy Kings of Spanish descent became a popular New Flamenco group by playing Rumba Flamenca (or rhumba gitana, Catalan rhumba) music.

African Rumba
Rumba, like salsa and some other Caribbean and South American sounds have their rhythmic roots to varying degrees in African musical traditions, having been brought there by African slaves. In the late 1930s and early 1940s in the Congos, musicians developed a music known as rhumba, based on West and Central African, and Caribbean and South American rhythims.

This brand of African rhumba became popular in Africa in 1950s. Some of the most notable bands were Franco Luambo's OK Jazz and Grand Kalle's African Jazz. These bands spawned well known rhumba artists such as Sam Mangwana, Dr Nico Kasanda and Tabu Ley Rochereau, who pioneered Soukous, the genre into which African rhumba evolved in the 1960s. Soukous is still sometimes referred to as rhumba.


"I think rumba is deeply cool and sexy, and I was grateful that you made learning it so simple and clear." Sheila A., Dedham, MA



When joining our rumba, Latin, salsa, or other dance classes, note that our OUT to Dance studio locations, West Roxbury and Roslindale, are within twenty minutes of downtown Boston, Dorchester, Jamaica Plain, Hyde Park, Brighton, Allston, Brookline, Newton, Chestnut Hill, Dedham, Norwood, Needham, Westwood, Milton and Quincy; and within 25 to 35 minutes of Cambridge, Somerville, Arlington, Wellesley, Natick, Waltham, Braintree, Brockton, Stoughton, Canton, Foxboro, Weymouth and surrounding towns.We are also less than an hour from Providence, Rhode Island and New Hampshire.

Rhumba Music

A few of Liz's students' favorites:

Swing Dancing, Salsa Dancing, Ballroom Dancing, and Other Fun Dance Classes

Want to try our dance classes at West Roxbury School of Dance? See our current class schedule under Classes for Everyone. And we have LGBT dance classes on Sundays.

Other dances you can learn in our OUT to Dance Classes

Swing/Lindy, West Coast Swing

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