Salsa > Hip Motion : Salsa vs Latin Rhumba

Discussion in 'Salsa' started by rickyT, Oct 28, 2003.

  1. rickyT

    rickyT New Member


    I’ve learnt and danced Latin (Ballroom) Rhumba for a few years until I started taking Salsa classes (LA style) recently. The hip motion taught by the Salsa teacher is surprisingly different from what I was taught in Rhumba classes. I’d describe the Rhumba hip motion (taught to me) as smooth and swaying, and following the contour of a sleeping ‘figure of 8’. The Salsa hip motion I cannot describe as I’ve yet to master it. I’m surprised there’s a difference since I thought that Salsa evolved from Mambo (which evolved from Rhumba). Can anyone on the Forum with both Salsa and Rhumba experience care to enlighten me.

  2. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Hi rickyT. Welcome to the forums. :D I'm so glad to see your first direct-from-you post! :D

    I know what you mean about the apparent differences between salsa, rumba, bolero, etc, but I'm not qualified to give you an in-depth technical answer. I'll leave that to someone else.

    Here's an interesting link.
    It talks about the fact that since salsa is a club or street dance not documented with manuals, many salsa teachers may or may not have the detailed technical breakdown that we as ballroom dancers are used to.

    Welcome. :D
  3. Spitfire

    Spitfire Well-Known Member

    Welcome RickyT,

    Personally, I find hip motion to be easier in salsa then for any of the other latin dances; probably since I keep my feet pretty close together in salsa.
  4. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    You know, rickyT, you really have me thinking this morning!

    I don't know whether there are official technical differences between hip motion for salsa and rumba or not, but I personally use a similar action for both. Both generated from the bend/straighten action of the knees and legs, which makes the hips move. The main difference I see is that, since rumba is slower, I have time to articulate or exaggerate each movement more. Same thing with bolero, since it's even slower. But, to me, it appears that the basic movement is the same.

    Anybody out there know the technical differences between hip motion for, say, mambo and rumba?
  5. borikensalsero

    borikensalsero Moderator

    I'm not sure if this will help any since it isn't comming from a ballroom stance but I have my cuban rumba/salsa class tomorrow and I hope to remember to ask my Afro Cuban instructor if there is a difference.

    As it is my understanding right this second (Future knowledge might change that), there is no techinical difference between moving the hips in the two aside the body posture/feet placement changing which changes a bit the movement of the hips. When my instructor teaches rumba or salsa she teaches everyone the 'afro cuban' way to move the hips and body. The techniques are the same throughout, however, hip movement changes due to body posture and different steps taken while dancing either dance. The difference really comes at the degree of which the hipps move, and how defined the figure 8 looks in the hipps due to how we are stepping, moving the upper body, and bending the knees. Again, my answer might very well not relate to ballroom at all. I hope not to forget to ask my isntructor about it.
  6. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member

    To my way of thinking there really isn't a difference kind, just a difference in degree and accentuation. The Cuban motion of rumba comes, as Jenn has suggested, from the leg actions. Since salsa, unlike rumba, does not have a precise flexing/straightening scheme the hip actions associated with rumba never come to full fruition. Also note that most styles of salsa lack the lateral displacements found in ballroom rumba (more in the "slow" side step of International rumba, but also found in the side-together of American), which tends to accentuate the elliptical nature of the hip movements in question. Add to this the discrepancies in dance tempi and I think you have at least the skeleton of the seeming differences in technique that, at least to my way of thinking, still share a common base.
  7. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Yup, SD. And when you add differences in personal execution and styling to the mix, the basic hip motion can look very different, even if the mechanics are the same.
  8. Black Sheep

    Black Sheep New Member

    Mamb & Rumba

    Ricky T,
    Mambo & Rumba have NOTHING in Common. They may appear in the same mold, but they have distinctly different music, different rhythmic accents, different points of delivery, different foot placements, different step patterns, Mambo is uninhibited, Rumba is very controlled and ultra smooth and Mambo hips could never have the 'TIME to do ' CUBAN MOTION' which is the essence of Rumba THAT creates the body action that allows dancers to dance smooth enough to hold full Champaign glasses on their heads without spilling a drop.
    Salsa does originate from Mambo and Mambo Originated from Cha Cha Cha or vice versa.
    Rumba has a class of dances that are similar, and differ mainly in tempos (speed); from very slow Boleros to frenzied Quarachas.
    Black Sheep '12 years of teaching both Mambo and Rumba'.
  9. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member

    Re: Mamb & Rumba

    As you'll notice in my comment above, I fully agree with this. The differences in music tempi are quite significant regarding the actions executed.

    The following sentiment, however, is ludicrous in the extreme:
    If you honestly think this after "12 years of teaching both Mambo and Rumba" then I suggest that either (A) you get a refund from your teachers, or (B) you got what you paid for if these too were things you never paid for any lessons in.
  10. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Yes. I think that's pretty much the point of this thread. Since rumba and mambo (later salsa) ARE so closely related, why does the hip motion associated with the two dances seem to differ? Answer: the basic mechanics of the motion don't differ, but the appearance can be different based on the tempo of the music and person-to-person styling differences.
  11. Black Sheep

    Black Sheep New Member

    Mambo & Rumba

    SDSalsa guy wrote,
    "If you ((Joe) honestly think this ( Mambo and Rumba have nothing in common) after 12 years of teaching both Mambo and Rumba" then I suggest that either (A) you get a refund from your teachers, or (B) you got what you paid for if these too were things you never paid for any lessons in."

    Dear SD,
    First of all SD, you are stealing my Vernacular Lines!
    Secondly, if you are quoting me, please do not truncate the quotes: That is the same as taking a statement out of context;
    Thirdly, if you agree with the ALL the differences I listed between these Two dances, what is left in common? They do not even originate from the same Caribbean Islands! Rumba is Cuban and Mambo is Puerto Rican.
    If you are going to steal my 'Vernacular Lines', then give me YOUR take on where they are similar? And please don't say they are both Latin or negro in origin!
    And try dancing the Mambo to Rumba Music or vice versa. And Rots of Ruck!
    If you can do that SD, I suggest you to take a course in sensitivity stimulation! Or try Niagra!
    Black Sheep 'Mambo was, is, and will always be my first love!'
  12. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Actually, I don't think there's need for anybody to get testy here. If you do a web search, it's easy to find references all over the place to mambo's relationship to rumba. A couple links are here:

    While you're right Joe, there are differences between the two dances, there are similarities as well. Anyone care to list some, or even better to get back to the topic at hand. Hip motion?
  13. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Okay. I've allowed half an hour, and nobody's posted! :lol: (I can get impatient) So I'll ask a question. What kinds of exercises did you do to progress from the strict up and down hip motion beginners use to the figure eight hip motion more experienced dancers often use?
  14. borikensalsero

    borikensalsero Moderator

    Re: Mambo & Rumba

    Thought I'd take the liberty to put my two cents on this dilema. I must say that yes, while ballroom rumba dancing may be the an extent different than ballroom salsa, Cuban Rumba dancing and Salsa dancing have more than lots in comon. The motions that ricans, cubans, jews, blacks, italians applied to mambo at the palladium came from rumba dancing. The body movement, sway of the hip, the run and chase effect of rumba were indeed incorporated to salsa.

    Now, if you want to speak of the version of Rumba in ballroom dancing then by all means debate it out but to the onlooker, the difference is accentuation/body posture/different steeps, the rest is pretty much the same. Remember that without rumba there is no salsa, so saying that they have nothing the same is pretty much a far fetch belief. Even salsa makes use of rumba like musical schemes.

    BTW, mambo music is very cuban, what is known as salsa is a relative of mambo. Mambo was first made famous in the US by Perez Prado but was originally created by Arsenio Rodriguez and Orestes Lopez in Cuba. The Mambo back and forth style was created through the 40s and 50s in the US, however, it incorporated a 'crap load' of rumba dancing. Hence, why looking at palladuim video and cuban rumba dance video we'll see the similarity of one and the other. While the differences are obvious their similarities can't be desregarded. Just because todays salsa dancing has taken on a more hustle like style it doesn't mean that rumba was never in it. Thinking that they have nothing in comon means that the homework didn't get a passing grade.
  15. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    :kissme: :notworth:

    Thanks, boriken!
  16. borikensalsero

    borikensalsero Moderator

    :oops: :oops: :oops: :oops: :oops: :oops: :bouncy:
  17. rickyT

    rickyT New Member

    Hip Motion: Salsa vs Latin

    Hi Pymalion,

    This is in reply to your query on the excercise to do to acquire the Cuban Hip Motion.

    Basically, I just stand on the spot, in front of the mirror, feet slightly apart and use the waist to trace the outline of a horizontal figure of 8. In the initial period (read 'many, many months'), I looked pretty awful because I was using my butt instead of my waist to move! In the beginning just ignore the timing but later you should be able to move in time with the Rhumba timing of 2,3,4,1.

    You will know you've acquired IT, when you can trace the figure of 8 with your waist, sitting down on a chair.

  18. msc

    msc New Member

    It's interesting, I've had teachers talk about using the torso muscles to generate Latin motion, and I've had teachers talk about generating Latin motion "from the floor." Now that I've had a few years of experience trying to refine my motion, I've realized I agree with both.
  19. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    I agree, msc. I had one coach call the leg action "bronze Latin motion" and the movement from the center "silver and above Latin motion." Whatever. You don't necessarily have to agree with the levels he suggested, but I do think that more advanced dancers have both. When I just started though, worrying about what my knees were doing was more than enough to keep me busy! :lol:
  20. Black Sheep

    Black Sheep New Member


    Your commentary only agrees with what I said about Mambo and Salsa. But I did not Say Salsa has or doesn't have ANYTHING in common with Rumba, and I made NO reference to where and how the Cuban influence got into Mambo MUSIC.
    My Theme was, 'Mambo has NOTHING in Common With Rumba'. And I hope you will give me the privilege of my having referred to the DANCE and NOT to Evolution of the MUSIC.
    As for the Cubans, they have always turned out the best Afro Latin dancers and music.
    The first dance I learned was the Mambo from Anita Arkin fresh out of New York in 1949. And the first Dance lesson I ever gave was teaching the Rumba figure 8 Cuban Motion to Barbara Snodgrass in the summer of 1949, and who incidentally married R.F. Cage both who live in South Boston, Va..
    I know dances evolve, but I can only verify what the pristine Mambo was like when it was introduced in the late 1940's into New York by the mass emigration of Puerto Ricans. And how I danced it throughout the 1950's.
    Black Sheep 'It's a fool or a con man who makes statements he can't corroborate'. Joe Lanza 2003 a.d.

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