Mambo- A Popular Social and Wedding Dance

Mambo- A Popular Social and Wedding Dance

mambo dance dip

mambo dance dip

The mambo can hypnotize you with its fascinating rhythms. This American style rhythm dance from the 1940’s is still popular in night clubs today. Fast and fun, it is a great dance to take out to social events and weddings.


The mambo originated in Cuba, with possible Haitian influence. In Haiti the Mambo is a voodoo priestess, with no specific dance. In 1943 Perez Prado introduced the Mambo with his song “Mambo Jambo” at the La Tropicana hotel in Havana.

From there it made its way to the New York plaza ballroom.  By 1947 the Mambo grew in popularity in ballrooms like The China Doll, Havana Madrid, Birdland, and the Palladium Ballroom. The new Mambo replaced the waning popularity of the Rumba. The dance was modified to remove the more violent acrobatics and hip hop like moves. Mambo dancers nicknamed the “Mamonicks” were turning up everywhere at the popular resorts and nightclubs. Artists like Rosemary Clooney sang “Mambo Italiano”, and Nat King Cole sang, “Papa Loves Mambo”.

The Mambo increased in popularity in 1961 with the release of “West side story”. In New York in the 80’s Eddie Torres popularized the salsa on 2, or Palladium Mambo. In the late 80’s and early 90’s Hollywood caught the Mambo bug, and was featured in the film “Dirty Dancing”

And “Mambo Kings”.


The basic Mambo was derived from the Cuban styled Rumba, or Mambo Bolero. It gave birth to the triple Mambo, which later became the Cha Cha, hip hop and Salsa. The Mambo is a spot dance with compact steps and frame. The Cuban motion is more staccato and less pronounced than in the Rumba due to speed. The Mambo basic is 3 steps in 4 beats, to a quick, quick, slow rhythm, or 2, 3, 4 hold 1 timing.  It is danced to 4/4 time music at a rate of 188- 204 B.P.M. (beats per minute).  The mambo footwork is ball flat throughout.


  1. The mambo originated in Cuba
  2. A hot and articulate rhythm dance
  3. A spot dance with compact steps
  4. Quick, quick, slow rhythm,
  5. More staccato Cuban motion
  6. 4/4 time music
  7. 188- 204 B.P.M.
  8. Also known as Salsa on 2

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