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Mambo

The Mambo is a rhythm dance of Afro-Cuban origin; it was popularized in the United States in the 1950's by the famous bandleader Perez Prado. Mambo is a rhythm dance that does not progress along the L.O.D., and is characterized by Latin hip movement, breaks, and "shine" or "challenge" movements in apart position. The Mambo was also the precursor to (and eventually eclipsed by,) the more popular Cha-Cha, which inherited the playful, flirtatious character of the dance along with it's characteristic breaks and challenge movements. In it's original form, this dance was often done in groups as "Mambo Lines", as well as in circle, with partners progressing from one to the next; this almost-lost art is one of the most exciting and unique aspects of the Mambo, and is currently showing signs of revival in some places.

The Timing:
There is considerable controversy about the timing of the Mambo. Conventional school figure technique requires the dancer to hold the one beat and break (rock step,) on the second beat of the measure; this is how the figures have been presented in the charts, is expected in competition, and, according to the dance establishment, is the authentic timing of the dance. Many dancers find this timing difficult, but it's a major characteristic of the dance. Watch the films "Dance With Me" and "The Mambo Kings" for good examples of this rhythm. In social situations, a trained dancer who is accustomed to breaking on two would be well advised to be particularly sensitive to the skills of their partner; if, as is often the case, the partner seems determined to break on the one, then it is better to forego the "correct" break in favor of considerate partnership. The music is generally in 4/4 time, with 40-56 bars per minute (47 is ideal). As in the Rhumba, three steps are taken in each four-beat bar of music. The third step is held during the fourth beat, giving a quick-quick-slow rhythm. Because of the quick tempo steps are kept small giving a staccato leg action with less emphasis on hip action than in Rhumba and ChaCha. The staccato appearance of this dance is magnified by the use of speed to get into a figure, then a slight pause upon its completion

The Frame:
The Mambo frame is similar to the Rhumba frame, except that it is a little higher and more compact. Arms are a little more curved than in Rhumba because partners dance closer together. The upper body is erect and arms are kept braced to allow for the speed of the dance. The result is a more upright frame with an almost regal appearance. Footwork is Ball-Flat, remembering that the weight lowers late on the foot when taking a back step.

Footwork:
In most steps the ball of the foot contacts the floor first. The heel is quickly lowered to the floor as the opposite heel is raised. Steps are small and the knees are never quite straight due to the quick Mambo tempo. If the heel is lowered on a back step, the lowering must be delayed to avoid separating from your partner. When stepping back on beat 1 or 4, the heel need not be lowered. Weight is maintained in the ball of the foot and a strong forward pressure is felt.

Mambo Box Rhythm: QQSQQS


Step #
Man Hold 1 2 3 Hold 4 5 6 Lady Hold 1 2 3 Hold 4 5 6

Bar/Beat Foot and Placement Rhythm


1 2Q 3Q 4S 2 2Q 3Q 4S 1 2Q 3Q 4S 2 2Q 3Q 4S LF fwd RF back LF side RF back LF fwd RF side RF back LF fwd RF side LF fwd RF back LF side

Turn

Footwork

Description
First half of Mambo box

Nil Up to 1/8 L Up to 1/4 L Nil Up to 1/8 L Up to 1/4 L Nil Up to 1/8 L Up to 1/4 L Nil Up to 1/8 L Up to 1/4 L

BF BH BF B BF BF BH BF BF BF BH BF

Second half of Mambo box

First half of mambo box

Second half of Mambo box `

Mambo Basic Rhythm: QQSQQS


Note: This figure can be rotated to the left.

Step #
Man Hold 1 2 3 Hold 4 5 6 Lady Hold 1 2 3 Hold 4 5 6

Bar/Beat Foot and Placement Rhythm


1 2Q 3Q 4S 2 2Q 3Q 4S 1 2Q 3Q 4S 2 2Q 3Q 4S LF fwd Replace weight to RF close LF to RF RF back Replace weight to LF close RF to LF RF back Replace weight to LF close RF to LF LF fwd Replace weight to RF close RF to LF

Turn

Footwork

Description
First half of Mambo basic LF toes turned out

Nil Nil Nil Nil Nil Nil Nil Nil Nil Nil Nil Nil

BF BF BF B BF BF B BF BF BF BF BF

Second half of Mambo basic

First half of mambo basic

Second half of Mambo basic LF toes turned out

Mambo Progressive Basic Rhythm: QQSQQS


This figure is NOT rotated, it can be repeated as many times as you wish.

Step #
Man Hold 1 2 3 Hold 4 5 6 Lady Hold 1 2 3 Hold 4 5 6

Bar/Beat Foot and Placement Rhythm


1 2Q 3Q 4S 2 2Q 3Q 4S 1 2Q 3Q 4S 2 2Q 3Q 4S LF fwd Replace weight back to RF LF back RF back Replace weight fwd to LF RF fwd RF back Replace weight fwd to LF RF fwd LF fwd Replace weight back to RF LF back

Turn

Footwork

Description
Forward half of Progressive basic * *Toes turned out throughout the progressive basic * Backward half of Progressive basic * * * Backward half of Progressive basic * *Toes turned out throughout the progressive basic * Forward half of Progressive basic * * *

Nil Nil Nil Nil Nil Nil Nil Nil Nil Nil Nil Nil

BF BH BH B BF BF B BF BF BF BH BF

Side Break (Second Position Breaks, Cucarachas) Rhythm: QQSQQS


Step #
Man

Bar/Beat Foot and Placement Rhythm


1 2Q 3Q 4S 2 2Q 3Q 4S 1 2Q 3Q 4S 2 2Q 3Q 4S LF side RF in place LF close to RF RF side LF in place RF close to LF RF side LF in place RF close to LF LF side RF in place LF close to RF

Turn

Footwork

Description
Side break to L Part, but not all of weight on L Transfer all of weight to R Side break to R Part, but not all of weight on R Transfer all of weight to L Side break to R Part, but not all of weight on R Transfer all of weight to L Side break to L Part, but not all of weight on L Transfer all of weight to R

1 2 3 4 5 6 Lady 1 2 3 4 5 6

BF BF BF BF BF BF BF BF BF BF BH BF

Back Break Rhythm: QQSQQS


Step #
Man Hold 1 2 3 Hold 4 5 6 Lady Hold 1 2 3 Hold 4 5 6

Bar/Beat Foot and Placement Rhythm


1 2Q 3Q 4S 2 2Q 3Q 4S 1 2Q 3Q 4S 2 2Q 3Q 4S LF fwd Replace weight back to RF Close LF to RF RF back Replace weight fwd to LF close RF to LF RF back Replace weight fwd to LF close RF to LF LF back Replace weight fwd to RF close RF to LF

Turn

Footwork

Description
Forward half of Back Break LF toes turned out

Nil Nil Nil Nil Nil Nil Nil Nil Nil Nil Nil Nil

BF BF BF B BF BF B BF BF B BF BF

Backward half of Back Break Extend arms so lady steps back Pull Partner back in to closed position First half of Back Break

Second half of Back Break Man also steps back

Double Back Break Rhythm: QQSQQS


Step #
Man Hold 1 2 3 Hold 4 5 6 Lady Hold 1

Bar/Beat Foot and Placement Rhythm


1 2Q 3Q 4S 2 2Q 3Q 4S 1 2Q LF back Replace weight fwd to RF close RF to LF RF back Replace weight fwd to LF close RF to LF

Turn

Footwork

Description

Nil Nil Nil Nil Nil Nil

B BF BF B BF BF

Extend arms so lady steps back Pull Partner back in to closed position

Extend arms to lady steps back Pull Partner back in to closed position

RF back Nil B Man also steps back Replace weight Nil BF 2 3Q fwd to LF 3 4S close RF to LF Nil BF Hold 2 4 2Q LF back Nil B Man also steps back Replace weight 5 3Q Nil BF fwd to RF 6 4S close RF to LF Nil BF Note: By raising his left arm during step 3, the man may alternately lead the lady to turn to her right under his joined hands during steps 456 before resuming normal hold.

Crossover Break (New Yorks) Rhythm: QQSQQS


Note: Preceded by a closed basic in which you step to the side in step 6 while releasing mans Right Hand

Step #
Man Hold 1

Bar/Beat Foot and Placement Rhythm


1 2Q LF fwd

Turn

Footwork

Description
Crossover to Right Left foot crosses in front of body Man and woman are side-by-side RF pivots on ball so both feet face R

to R

BF

2 3 Hold 4

3Q 4S 2 2Q

Replace weight Begin turning left back to RF to L LF side End: facing partner RF fwd Replace weight back to LF RF side RF fwd Replace weight back to LF RF side to L

BF BF BF Take double hand hold Crossover to Left RF crosses in front of body Man and woman are side-by-side LF pivots on ball so both feet face L

5 6 Lady Hold 1 2 3 Hold 4

3Q 4S 1 2Q 3Q 4S 2 2Q

Begin turning R to R End: facing partner to L Begin turning R to R End: facing partner to R

BF BF BF BF BF Take double hand hold Take double hand hold Crossover to Left *See notes for Men steps 4-5

Crossover to Right LF fwd BF *See notes for Men steps 1-3 Replace weight 5 3Q Begin turning left BF back to RF to L 6 4S LF side BF Take double hand hold End: facing partner Lead: Man leads the crossover to R (123) by extending LH forward forward (to R) between man and lady, turning lady to her left. Man leads the crossover to L (456) by extending RH forward forward (to L) between man and lady, turning lady to her right. Step ends after a (mens) crossover to Right (123). Follow with a (Preferred) Spot turn, or the second half of a Mambo Basic (456).

Mambo Natural Underarm Turn Rhythm: QQSQQSQQSQQS


Step #
Man 1-6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Lady 1-6 7 8 9 10 11 12

Bar/Beat Foot and Placement Rhythm


1-3 2Q 3Q 4S 4 2Q 3Q 4S 1-3 2Q 3Q 4S 4 2Q 3Q 4S LF back RF in place LF side RF back LF in place RF closes to LF

Turn

Footwork

Description
Steps 1-6 of Mambo Box open break Using L hand, lead lady to dance underarm turn to R Steps 1-6 mambo box Open break

Nil Nil -

BH BF BF BH BF BF BH BF BF BF BF BF

RF back Nil LF fwd RF side LF fwd across 1 turn to R betw RF 10-11 RF fwd Continue to turn R LF closes to RF -

prepare for underarm turn to R underam turn to R -

Mambo Turning Basic Rhythm: QQSQQS


Step #
Man Hold 1 2 3 Hold 4 5 6 Lady Hold 1

Bar/Beat Foot and Placement Rhythm


1 2Q 3Q 4S 2 2Q 3Q 4S 1 2Q

Turn

Footwork

Description
Begin facing W LF toes turned out

LF fwd Nil Replace weight Begin turning left back to RF LF side turn L RF back Replace weight to LF RF fwd turn L Nil Nil

BF BF BF BH BF BF

PP, End facing LOD Pull partner towards you End facing C

End facing 180 degrees from start

Begin Facing center RF back Nil B Replace weight 2 3Q Nil BF fwd to LF 3 4S RF fwd Nil BF PP , Still facing center Hold 2 LF fwd very turn L, pivoting 4 2Q BF End facing W small step on L foot RF back, 5 3Q Nil BF slightly to side 6 4S LF back Nil BF Note: To make this easier, man can omit turn on 4, and woman can only do turn (instead of ). So end with man facing LOD, woman backing LOD. Observe that you end with the feet in fourth position, go directly into mens left foot forward, womans right foot back (123) or closed basic to end this step.

Spot Turns Right and Left (Double Walk-around turns) Rhythm: QQSQQS
Step #
Man Hold 1 2 3 Hold 4 5 6 Lady Hold

Bar/Beat Foot and Placement Rhythm


1 2Q 3Q 4S 2 2Q 3Q 4S 1 -

Turn

Footwork

Description
Begin facing W, feet apart RH is free With left hand, lead lady to turn to her left, then release hold

R, End facing LF fwd against LOD Return weight turn R, fwd to RF End facing LOD Complete whole LF Side turn, face partner L, RF fwd End facing LOD Return weight turn L, End fwd to LF facing against LOD Complete whole RF Side turn, face partner -

B BF BF B BF BF B BF BF B BF BF

Resume normal hold Begin facing C, feet apart LH is free Your RH is drawn in front of you , then released to signal turn

L, End facing 1 2Q RF fwd against LOD Return weight turn L, 2 3Q fwd to LF End facing LOD Complete whole 3 4S RF Side turn, face partner Hold 2 R, 4 2Q LF fwd End facing LOD Return weight turn R, End 5 3Q fwd to RF facing against LOD Complete whole 6 4S LF Side turn, face partner Notes: Steps 1 and 4 pivot for both man and woman. Body movement initiates turn. Keep the body braced and steps small.

Resume normal hold

Mambo Half Chase Turn (Man) Rhythm: QQSQQS


Note: Measures 3 and 4 may be repeated. Ste p#
Man

Bar/Beat Foot and Placement Rhythm


1 2Q 3Q 4S 2 2Q 3Q 4S 3 2Q 3Q 4S 4 2Q 3Q 4S 5 2Q 3Q 4S 6 2Q 3Q 4S LF fwd RF back LF back RF back LF fwd RF fwd LF fwd RF fwd LF fwd RF fwd LF fwd RF fwd LF fwd RF back LF back RF back LF fwd RF fwd

Turn

Footwork

Description
First half of Mambo Progressive Basic

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

Nil Nil Nil Nil Nil Nil 1/2 to R Nil Nil 1/2 to L Nil Nil Nil Nil Nil Nil Nil Nil

BF BH BH B BF BF BF BF BF BF BF BF BF BH BH B BF BF

Second half of Mambo Progressive Basic to apart position

Half-chase turn to R

Half-chase turn to L

Apart Progressive

Resume closed position

Mambo Half Chase Turn (Lady) Rhythm: QQSQQS


Note: Measures 3 and 4 may be repeated. Ste p#
Lady 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

Bar/Beat Foot and Rhythm Placement


1 2Q 3Q 4S 2 2Q 3Q 4S 3 2Q 3Q 4S 4 2Q 3Q 4S 5 2Q 3Q 4S 6 2Q 3Q 4S RF back LF fwd RF fwd LF fwd RF back LF back RF back LF fwd RF fwd LF fwd RF fwd LF fwd RF fwd LF fwd RF fwd LF fwd RF back LF back

Description Turn
Nil Nil Nil Nil Nil Nil Nil Nil Nil 1/2 to R Nil Nil 1/2 to L Nil Nil Nil Nil Nil

Footwork
B BF BF BF BH BF B BF BF BF BF BF BF BF BF BF BH BH First half of Mambo Progressive Basic

Second half of Progressive Basic `

First half of apart Progressive Half-chase turn to R Half-chase turn to L Apart progressive Resume closed position

Mambo Full Chase Turn (Man) Rhythm: QQSQQS


Note: Measures 3 and 4 may be repeated. Step #
Man

Bar/Beat Foot and Placement Rhythm


1 2Q 3Q 4S 2 2Q 3Q 4S 3 2Q 3Q 4S 4 2Q 3Q 4S 5 2Q 3Q 4S 6 2Q 3Q 4S LF fwd RF back LF back RF back LF fwd RF fwd LF fwd RF fwd (spin) LF closes to RF RF back LF fwd RF closes to LF LF fwd RF back LF back RF back LF fwd RF fwd

Turn

Footwork

Description
First half of Mambo Progressive Basic

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

Nil Nil Nil Nil Nil Nil 1/2 to R 1/2 to R Nil Nil Nil Nil Nil Nil Nil Nil Nil Nil

BF BH BH B BF BF BF BF BF BF BF BF BF BH BH B BF BF

Second half of Mambo Progressive Basic to apart position

Full chase turn to R

Back break

Apart Progressive

Resume closed position

Mambo Full Chase Turn (Lady) Rhythm: QQSQQS


Note: Measures 3 and 4 may be repeated. Step #
Lady 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

Bar/Beat Foot and Rhythm Placement


1 2Q 3Q 4S 2 2Q 3Q 4S 3 2Q 3Q 4S 4 2Q 3Q 4S 5 2Q 3Q 4S 6 2Q 3Q 4S RF back LF fwd RF fwd LF fwd RF back LF back RF back LF fwd RF fwd LF fwd RF fwd (spin) LF closes to RF RF fwd LF fwd RF fwd LF fwd RF back LF back

Description Turn
Nil Nil Nil Nil Nil Nil Nil Nil Nil 1/2 to R 1/2 to R Nil 1/2 to L Nil Nil Nil Nil Nil

Footwork
B BF BF BF BH BF B BF BF BF BF BF BF BF BF BF BH BH First half of Mambo Progressive Basic

Second half of Progressive Basic `

First half of apart Progressive Full chase turn to R back break Apart progressive Resume closed position

Mambo Scallop (Fifth position break right w/


Promenade box ending)

Rhythm: QQSQQS
Step #
Man

Bar/Beat Foot and Placement Rhythm


1 2Q 3Q 4S 2 2Q 3Q 4S 1 2Q 3Q LF behind RF RF in place LF side (swivel) RF fwd LF side RF closes to LF

Turn

Footwork

Description
Fifth position break Fifth position) Swivel to PP Promenade box finish

1 2 3 4 5 6 Lady 1 2

Up to 1/4 L Up to 1/4 R Up to 1/4 L Up to 1/4 R Up to 1/4 L

BF BF BF BF BF BF

End in closed facing position

Fifth position break RF behind LF Up to 1/4 R BF LF in place Up to 1/4 L BF RF side 3 4S Up to 1/4 R BF Swivel to PP (swivel) Promenade box finish 2 4 2Q LF fwd Up to 1/4 L BF ` 5 3Q RF side BH 6 4S LF closes to RF BF End in closed facing position Note: Fifth position breaks can be done in either direction (breaks to mans right are shown above). By breaking right as shown, then left by the man doing the womans 1,2, and 3 steps during the 4,5,6 a nice series of Right,Left, Right, Left fifth position breaks can be performed. To end on 1,2,3 simply go into a mambo basic, to finish on 4,5,6 do the promenade box finish as taught above or do open rocks.

Mambo Open Rocks Rhythm: QQS


Step #
Man -

Bar/Beat Foot and Placement Rhythm


2

Turn

Footwork

Description

Open Rocks Rock weight to 4 2Q BF RF Rock weight to 5 3Q BF LF Rock weight to 6 4S BF RF Open Rocks Lady 2 Rock weight to 4 2Q BF LF Rock weight to 5 3Q BF RF Rock weight to 6 4S BF LF Note: Open rocks are most useful as an ending to other steps. They allow you to alternate which foot your weight is on while staying in time to the music. Open rocks can be done starting with either foot, but starting w/ R foot is shown. If starting with/ L foot the open rocks should begin on 4 instead of 4. Open rocks are a sort of Cucaracha with the feet apart. Position: This step begins in open position, such as after the first half (1,2,3) of New Yorkers. The weight for the man should begin on the L foot. The womans weight should begin on the R foot.

Mambo Shoulder-To-Shoulder Rhythm: QQSQQS


Step #
Man

Bar/Beat Foot and Placement Rhythm


1 2Q 3Q 4S 2 2Q 3Q 4S

Turn

Footwork

Description
Left Shoulders Be prepared to step Outside Partner to her left

1 2 3 4 5 6 Lady 1 2 3 4 5 6

LF fwd OP on her L side Replace weight Commence L turn to RF 1/8 L End Facing W and LF side partner 1/8 L, RF fwd OP Step is facing DW Replace weight Commence R turn to LF 1/8 R RF side End Facing W and partner RF Back Replace weight Commence L turn to LF 1/8 L RF side End facing C and partner LF Back Replace weight Commence R turn to RF 1/8 R LF side End facing C and partner

BF BF BF BF BF BF

Swivel to PP Right Shoulders Step OP to her R

End in closed facing position Left Shoulders

1 2Q 3Q 4S 2 2Q 3Q 4S

BF BF BF BF BF BF

Right Shoulders

End in closed facing position

Notes: Commence this step in closed facing position, with man facing DW against LOD. The weight should be on R foot, and a slight turn to right should have been performed on preceeding step.

Mambo Closed Fan


Rhythm: QQSQQS
Step #
Man Hold 1 2 3 Hold 4 5 6 Lady Hold 1 2 3 Hold 4 5 6

Bar/Beat Foot and Placement Rhythm


1 2Q 3Q 4S 2 2Q 3Q 4S 1 2Q 3Q 4S 2 2Q 3Q 4S LF fwd Replace weight to RF LF side RF back Replace weight to LF RF side RF back Replace weight to LF RF side LF fwd RF back and to side LF side

Turn

Footwork

Description
First half of Mambo basic LF toes turned out

Begin Facing W Nil Nil 1/8 turn L turn L End facing DC 1/8 turn L End facing C Nil Nil 1/8 turn R 1/8 turn L, End Backing Wall 3/8 turn L 1/8 turn L End backing C

BF BF BF BH BF BF B BF BF BF BH BF

End in PP, Man and lady V Lead Partner forward outside mans L side.

End in closed facing position First half of mambo basic

End in PP, Man and lady V Step outside partner on his L side

End in closed facing position