Mambo Birthplace: Cuba

Creation date: 1938

Creators: Cuban social dancers

Dance type: American Rhythm

The Mambo began as a spin-off of a European country dance, which made its way to Cuba through Spanish immigrants. It was named the Danza, or the dance of Cuba, and gradually its beat and movement became mixed with Cuban rhythms, creating an entirely new beat and style.

In the 1930s a Cuban composer created a new piece of music combining native and Cuban rhythms with African and South American beats. They called this mix "the Mambo." Another composer, the self proclaimed "Mambo King" Perez Prado, began making "Mambo" music in the 1940's. He wrote the original "Mambo # 5." Dancers began to improvise to this new beat, and the Mambo was born.

Prado and his Orchestra toured the United States and started the Mambo craze. This new enthusiasm for Mambo came as the popularity of the Rumba was starting to decline.

By the mid 1950's Mambo mania reached amazing popularity on the dance floors of New York, San Francisco and Miami. The famous Broadway dance hall, the Palladium, declared itself the Temple of Mambo.

During this decade of skyrocketing popularity, Mambo competitions were held and rivalries between bands intensified over who would create the best mambo rhythm.

Today the Mambo is enjoying a comeback in popularity. Recent motion pictures featuring the Mambo and new popular music have created a new interest in this exciting dance.

This work is credited to BYU-Idaho dance book 2006.

Top Ten Mambo Dance Moves

#1 Mambo Basic

#2 Side Breaks

#3 Cross-Body Lead

#4 Open Break with Walk Around Turn

#5 Cross Over Break With Walk Around Turn

#6 Shouler Check

#7 Prominade Swivel and close

#8 Alternating Under Arm Turns

#9 Ruedo Basic

#10 Cross Body Lead With Inside Turn

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