Mambo is a Latin dance of Afro Cuban origin that corresponds to Mambo music. It is rhythmically similar to the slower Bolero, though it has a more complex pattern of steps.
In the late 1940’s, a musician named Perez Prado came up with the dance for the mambo music and became the first person to market his music as “mambo”. Following in the footsteps of Prado came a wave of mambo musicians, such as Enrique Jorrin. Some experimented with new techniques, such as faster beats and the use of side steps in the dance; this latter innovation formed the foundation of Cha Cha Chá, and was the result of Jorrin’s experimentation. Cha cha chá was very pop-oriented, especially after Arthur Murray further simplified the dance. Mambo remained popular throughout the United States and Cuba until the 1960s, when a combination of Boogaloo and Pachanga (both modified forms of Mambo) were created.
By the mid-1950’s mambo mania had reached fever pitch. In New York Mambo was played in a high-strung, sophisticated way that had the Palladium Ballroom, the famous Broadway dance-hall, jumping. The Ballroom soon proclaimed itself the “temple of mambo,” Class and color melted away in the incandescent rhythm of the music.
In 1954 the cha-cha-cha, a kind of mambo created by the Cuban violinist Enriqué Jorrin, swept through Havana and New York. Easier to dance than the Mambo, with a squarish beat and a characteristic hiccup on the third beat, it spread to Europe and the rest of the World. Today, Mambo is at the roots of the Salsa dance and is a part of the Latin American rhythm group. Usually danced to a Quick, Quick, Slow rhythm.
Popular Mambo songs include “Mambo Italiano”, “Papa Loves Mambo”, “Mambo #5”, “I Saw Mommy Do The Mambo”, and “They Were Doin’ The Mambo”, ‘Dance City’ and thousands more.