American style (also called “Rhythm”) Rumba is kinda like American football – both are super popular in America and America alone.
The International style Rumba, on the other hand, is more like Soccer, super popular all over the rest of the world, especially in Europe and Asia! So, if the rest of the world don’t want to dance American style Rumba, why would you? I’ll tell you why! Because American style is easier in count and technique. Though I confess: my “more” favorite is the International style. Now, how can you differentiate and dance both styles differently?
Difference #1: Bent Vs Straight Knees
In the American style rumba, every step is taken with a bent knee and then straightened at the same time as the hip action.
In the International style rumba, every step is taken with a straight leg. (knee bends when leg is moving and straightens right before you put weight onto the leg)
Difference #2: Box Vs Forward-Back Basic
For American Style Basic Box Step, you make a box with your footwork.
Leader footwork: Forward left, Side right, Close left to right. Back on right, Side left, Close right to left.
Follower footwork: Back right, Side left, Close right to left. Forward left, Side right, Close left to right.
With International Rumba Basic, it’s a forward and back basic (no closing step):
Leader footwork: Forward left, Replace right, Side left. Back on right, Replace left, Side right.
Follower footwork: Back right, Replace left, Side right. Forward left, Replace right, Side left.
Difference #3: Start on Count of 1 Vs 2
Both styles of Rumba uses a 4/4 time; while the Americans start on 1, the Internationals start on 2! 😉
The Slow step will start on the count of 1. The dance uses Slow Quick Quick Timing – Slow (1,2) Quick (3) Quick (4).
Each Slow = 2 counts and each quick = 1 count. To make a full box basic: Slow-Quick-Quick, Slow-Quick-Quick.
The Slows are often on the counts of 1 and 3.
Holds the count of 1 and starts on 2. The timing for the basic step is 2, 3, 4 (hold/ nothing on 1). To translate into quick, quick, slow counting, that would be: Quick (2), Quick (3), Slow (4,1).
But note that the SLOW in International style is on often on the count of 4 or 2 (EVEN numbers), whereas in american rhythm, the SLOW is on the count of 1 or 3 (ODD Numbers).
A last word about American Style Rumba Vs International Rumba:
I will leave you now, with a sampling of how American style is danced versus International style. Leave me a comment and let me know which one appeals to you more and why!