How To Dance The Hand-To-Hand in Rumba

How to Dance Rumba Hand to Hand Technique

Why are we breaking down the Hand to Hand step in this lesson? This way, you can practice all the individual movements and technique of the Hand to Hand step (which can be used in Rumba and Cha Cha Cha) so that the whole step is greater than the sum of its parts!

One of the best things you can do for your dancing, is to get clarity on exactly what parts make up a figure/step. Then, practicing the individual parts fully. If you don’t really know what the parts are, then, sorry to say, you’re probably not executing the move in its full glory. That’s why we’re doing this lesson! Let’s dance!

Exercise #1: Quarter Turn

Practice Tips:

1. Swivel on the ball of your standing leg for a quarter turn. (i.e.: this means that heel of the swiveling foot is slightly off the floor while you turn)
2. Anchor the big toe of your free foot to the ground as you swivel.
3. Squeeze your inner thighs towards each other as you swivel.

Bonus: Improve your turnout with these:
5 Minute 5 Exercises to Improve Your Turnout For Latin Dancing

Exercise #2: Back Walk

Practice Tips:

1. Start the walk by bending your free knee, and keeping body weight forward on standing leg.
2. Brush the inside edges of your ankles and knees together as you walk back.
3. IMPORTANT: Move your leg behind you first, then shift your body weight back.

Bonus: Improve your leg action with these:
5 Exercises 5 minutes to Get Sexy Leg Action

Exercise #3: Forward Walk

Practice Tips:

1. Open the hip of your standing leg.
2. Keep both legs straight.
​3. Keep the back hip open as your step forward.

Bonus: Do a Check-up on your Rumba Technique:
5 Common Mistakes In International Rumba AND How To Fix Them

Exercise #4: Swivel Side Walk

Practice Tips:

1. Swivel on the ball of your front leg for a quarter turn.
2. Keep your spine vertical as you land on your side step.  (i.e.: hip should NOT be collapsed or rotated on standing leg yet)

Bonus: Improve your turnout with these:
5 Minute 5 Exercises to Improve Your Turnout For Latin Dancing

Exercise #5: Put It Altogether - Hand to Hand

Practice Tips:

1. Practice all Exercises #1-4 back to back.
2. Police yourself and make sure you complete each action before you do the next.
3. Keep your core engaged.
4. Make sure your spine is lengthened.
5. Work your timing:

  • Quarter Turn on count of “and”
  • Back walk on count of “2”
  • Rotation on count of “and”
  • Forward walk on count of “3”
  • Swivel turn on count of “and”
  • Side walk on count of “4”​

There you have it! Did you notice that this whole hand to hand figure is basically walks and swivels?? hmm…
Make sure you practice this figure on both sides, so you are balanced! Do it in the office or anywhere you have a chair. Worst case scenario, with a partner. 😉 Any questions, give me a shout! Happy Hand to Hand -ing!

Hand to Hand Choreography Ideas:

This video shows choreography ideas on how to dance the Hand to Hand step differently.


  • Gotthard
    August 3, 2021

    In actual fact, there needs to be pressure into both feet at all times in Rumba and Cha Cha. Even steps that have no weight must maintain pressure into the floor. While the front foot can slide slightly before the weight is replaced, it must never release from the floor. The slide, if it happens, is the result of hip rotation as the back leg receives the rest of the body weight, and is never an intentional movement of the foot.

  • User Avatar
    Chris Moffat
    November 17, 2017

    God, I love the glasses. Not only I.M. Pei but Philip Johnson, too. Next time let’s have a video on the architectural significance of Machu Picchu.

    • User Avatar
      LiWen Ang
      November 18, 2017

      Haha.. Thanks Chris! Love your comments. You know your architects!! I’m just bringing back the look. Almost Corbusier inspired as well… u think? I’d have to put my architect hat on for a video sometime. 🙂

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