Experience Havana with Mambo

Experience Havana with Mambo

Mambo music is very popular in the world. I bet everyone knows what mambo music is. A form of dancing called “Mambo” was devised from this type of music. The word “mambo” is actually a name for a bantu drum. “Mambo” literally means “conversation with the Gods”, and these drums were used for sacred and ritual purposes.

Mambo craze

Mambo is a dance that originated in Cuba. The mambo was a spinoff of the English country dance, which made its way to Cuba through immigrants. In its early years, mambo was known as the danza or the dance of Cuba and its beat and movement became gradually saturated with African and Cuban rhythm, creating an entirely new beat and style. During the 1930’s, mambo music was invented in Havana by Cachao and his contemporaries and it achieved its popularity all over the world. In the 1940s, Perez Prado came up with the dance (mambo) in synchronization with mambo music. He was the first person to have coined the term “mambo”. Mambo reached its peak in popularity when it reached New York. The mambo was especially popular in New York dance halls, where dancers twisted and turned and threw their partners, arms, legs and hands in the air to win dance competitions. It was danced at places like the Palladium, China Doll, Havana Madrid and Birdland. The mambo craze did not last long. In history, the greatest contribution that Mambo had is that it led to the development of Cha-cha. What many people do not know is that the cha-cha is actually still a form of mambo. The music and beat structure in Mambo and Cha-cha are so alike that it makes it a surefire relation.

The mambo dance

Mambo music is written in 4/4 time, but some of these beats call for the partner to hold. In mambo, the first step on every 4/4 beat has no change of weight, followed by quick-quick-slow beats. Mambo is characterized by the hip movements generated with the bending of one knee and the extension of the other. While moving forward and backward to the beat, dancers “sway” with the hips, creating a fluid motion that flows with the music. A few distinctive Mambo steps are La Cucuracha, Manita a Mano, New York, New York Bus Stop, El Molinito, The Liquidizer, El Mojito, Los Giros Locos. The mambo also exists in different forms .One form, the triple mambo, for which the beat is accelerated to three times its normal rate. Modern mambo is considered a New York creation. The fluidity of the dance entered the mambo scene shortly after its emergence into New York. The clave, a five note, two-bar rhythm pattern was the backbone of the mambo music, and from this New Yorkers like Lenny Dale, Cuban Pete and Killer Joe Piro added steps from jazz, tap and swing. By the mid 1970’s, the hustle also became a favorite dance form in New York, and Latin moves were added to create the “Latin hustle.” This dance form was the rage in the late 1970’s, encompassing mambo with quicker rhythms and steps.


Certified professional dance instructor/choreographer living in Newport News, VA Commutes to Richmond for over 15 years to teach. I enjoy helping people discover the power of dance in their lives. Regardless of your ability remember this, "anyone can learn to dance," and here's why you should say "Never": It can transform your life in ways you never thought possible. Introduce you to people you'd never meet and shape your confidence like never before.

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