The hambo is one of the folk dances of Sweden that quite possibly derived along some of the same lines as the mazurka and polska (Sjöberg 1980). In both the polska and hambo the dancers make a full clockwise one-measure turn, starting on the same foot at the beginning of each measure. The late Gordon Tracie referred to the hambo as "the national dance of Sweden" (Lidster & Tamburini 1965). It is perhaps the most well known of the folk dances in Sweden, with Swedish cultural groups around the world, and with American folk dancers.
The hambo has been danced continuously for at least the last hundred years. It is basically the same dance throughout Sweden, yet one can see regional as well as individual characteristics.
In 1965 the province/cultural area of Hälsingland began an annual hambo competition in early July. The competition has influenced the style of the hambo. It has provided a lot of visibility for the dance, and for many years 1500 couples participated. There was a race to the postbox to apply for the event. The event still exists today though it has changed some and is not as popular as it once was. There are hambo competitions in a number of areas in Sweden today.
The hambo style described here is as one might find in the Hälsingehambon contest. It is based on what I have learned from Tommy and Ewa Englund, Stig and Helén Eriksson, Leif and Margareta Virtanen, who have all won the competition at least once, dance researcher-teacher Bo Peterzon, and from the late Gordon Tracie.
Presented by Roo Lester in 2009. View pdf here.