Steve Chambers
Ballroom Dance Instructor
The Rumba was the beginning of Cuban and Latin American dance crazes.  Danced to music
for the Mambo and Cha Cha in the U.S.  Music called Salsa perpetuates the popularity of the
Rumba all over the world.

A Rumba is generally considered to be a medium-tempo 4/4 Latin ballad. The Latin
percussion section punctuates the music with syncopated accents, while bass, guitar and
piano keep a steady beat and fill in the harmony.  American style Rumba is danced to a variety
of musical genre from the most traditional of Latin sounds to modern day pop hits.

The bolero is a smooth, sophisticated, sentimental love dance. The
emphasis is on smoothness and graceful turns with much communication
between partners. The slower music to which it is performed enhances a
feeling of romance.

The basic step of salsa dancing probably derives from the Rumba, often called the grandfather
of the Latin dances. The Rumba originates from Cuba and it was first seen in the United
States around 1920. Salsa dancing as we know it today was mainly developed in the Latin
Quarter in New York City. Casino Rueda from Cuba has also had a big influence on the Miami
style of salsa.

Salsa is similar to Mambo in that both have a pattern of six steps danced over eight counts of
music. The dances share many of the same moves. In Salsa, turns have become an important
feature, so the overall look and feel are quite different form those of Mambo. Mambo moves
generally forward and backward, whereas, Salsa has more of a side to side feel.

The "Mambo" dance is attributed to Perez Prado who introduced it at La Tropicana night-club in
Havana in 1943. It first appeared in the United States in New York's Park Plaza Ballroom - a
favorite hangout of enthusiastic dancers from Harlem. The Mambo gained its excitement in
1947 at the Palladium and other renowned places such as The China Doll, Havana Madrid
and Birdland.  The Mambo combined American Jazz with the Afro-Cuban Beat.  For dancers,
the Mambo was an exciting challenge.  Today, the Mambo is exciting to dance and watch.

Cha Cha
Cha Cha is a rhythmical Latin dance which originated in the 1940's as a modified form of
Mambo. It's fun, energetic, sexy and flirtatious, easily distinguished from other dances by its
addictive "Step, Step, Cha Cha Cha" rhythm.  Probably the most popular Latin dance in the
U.S., where you can relax and let your personality show.

The national dance of Brazil became the rage of Brazilian society in the 1930’s but began as
an exhibition dance in Paris in 1905.  Movie star & singer Carmen Miranda is credited with
making the dance popular in the U.S. in the early 1940’s. It is extremely popular today because
it is easily adaptable to different tempos.

There are two schools of thought as to how this captivating dance began.  One says it started
as a peasant dance in the Dominican Republic by African slaves. The dragging of one leg
relieved chafing of leg irons.  Another says a returning war hero, General Maringie, danced
dragging an injured leg.  Today the exciting rhythms of the Merengue inspire dancers all over
the world to move  with the intoxicating beat of the Merengue.