Mambo (dance)Mambo is a Latin dance of Cuba which was developed in the 1940s when the music genre of the same name became popular throughout Latin America. The original ballroom dance which emerged in Cuba and Mexico was related to the danzón, albeit faster and less rigid. In the United States, it replaced rhumba as the most fashionable Latin dance. Later on, with the advent of salsa and its more sophisticated dance, a new type of mambo dance including breaking steps was popularized in New York. This form received the name of "salsa on 2", "mambo on 2" or "modern mambo".
The origins of mamboIn the mid-1940s, bandleader devised a dance for a new form of music known as mambo music, taking its name from the 1938 song Mambo 1980 song a charanga which had popularized a new form of danzon known as danzon mambo. This was a syncopated, less rigid form of the danzón which allowed the dancers to more freely express themselves during the last section, known as the mambo section . From Havana Pérez Prado moved his music to Mexico, where his music and the dance was adopted. The original mambo dance was characterized by freedom and complicated foot-steps. The mambo dance that was spearheaded by Pérez Prado and was popular in the 1940s and '50s in Cuba, Mexico, and New York is completely different from the modern dance that New Yorkers now call "mambo" and which is also known as salsa "on 2". The original mambo dance contains no breaking steps or basic steps at all. The Cuban dance was not accepted by many professional dance teachers. Cuban dancers would describe mambo as "feeling the music", in which sound and movement were merged through the body. Professional dance teachers in the US saw this approach to dancing as "extreme", "undisciplined", and thus deemed it necessary to standardize the dance to present it as a salable commodity for the social and ballroom market.
In the 1940s, Puerto Rican dancer Pedro Aguilar, known as "Cuban Pete", and his wife became popular as the top mambo dancers of the time, dancing regularly at The Palladium in NY. "Cuban Pete" was named "the greatest Mambo dancer ever" by Life magazine and the legendary Tito Puente. Pedro Aguilar was nicknamed "Cuban Pete" and el cuchillo for his mambo dance style.