Some Cool Facts About Rumba Dance Dress

rumba dance dress

Origin of Rumba Dance

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It was during the 16th century the black slaves were often brought from Africa to countries like Cuba. It was due to these African slaves and their culture, a dance style involving “hip movements” was developed in Cuba which was called “Rumbha”. Fidel Castro announced rumba as the official dance form of Cuba to signify the Afro ties with the people.

It was later during the Second World War that a modified version of the original Rumba called “Son” was created. Further, it was Son which was later modified into what is popularly known as the “American Rhumba”.

Rumba dance is considered as one of the slowest compared to other Latin dances like cha cha cha, samba and jive.

Music in the Rumba Dance:

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

The Rumba Dance Dress

Bata Cabuna is an adaptation of the original Cuban rumba dress which was made by a Cuban born designer Jose Arteaga in the United States. The Bata Cabuna dress has its roots in the diversity of Cuba with influences from Spanish, French and African people merging the carnival of theatre, fiesta and slavery gypsy dress.

The rumba dance dress is a flowing gown with frills of cloth at the bottom and sleeves. It is mostly colourful and glossy that is worn in the ballroom dance. Modern adaptations vary from the traditional attire in size, design and textures.

The Latin styles like tiered ruffled skirts, long dramatic sleeves and brightly colored, embroidered blouses and shirts are known to have their place in Cuban fashion. Afro-Cuban influences in costumes like the African head wrap, or bandana, began to surface, creating a fusion of cultures that’s uniquely Cuban. Remnants of these colourful rumba-style dresses are often worn today to entertain tourists or designed into formal wear like wedding gowns.

The Male costumes of Rumba Dance

The traditional Cuban garment that is in widespread use on the island is called a guayabera shirt, Havana shirt, cigar shirt or Mexican wedding shirt. It’s the Cuban answer to male chic. The guayabera shirt has two to four front pockets, and two groups of closely spaced pleats both on the front and back. It has a collar and buttons. The story goes that it was originally designed by a woman who added pockets to her husband’s shirt so he could bring a few guavas on the way home.

Cubans claim the guayabera shirt as their own, but so do most of the Latin American countries. The early styles were in white or off-white and somewhat plain.Earlier these were worn as rumba dance costumes with a pair of dance shoes.The 21st-century versions come in silk to satin and with sporty embroidered designs, beads and other embellishments.


The dance form rumba and its traditional dance costume stands as a witness to the rich culture of Cuba and its influences from Spain, France and Africa and how it got adapted to suit the taste of Americans as the ballroom dance.

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