By Arthur Murray


The wild and exciting music, and rhythmical body movements make the earthy Mambo irresistible.



In the 1940’s Americans became fascinated by Latin American rhythms. The original Mambo music, El Guardia Con El Tolete, had its beginning in 1944 as a Rumba with a riff improvisation. The Mambo combined American Jazz with the Afro-Cuban beat. Arthur Murray Studios became famous of turning out some of the best Mambo dancers of the era. As the parent of Cha Cha and Salsa, the Mambo is an exciting challenge for all dancers.



Mambo music is written in 4/4 time with each measure divided into four beats with the important musical accents occurring on the first and third beats. This dance can be done over a wide range of tempos.



The components of Mambo are rock steps and side steps and foot styling includes points, kicks or flicks. The Latin hip movement in Mambo is an important aspect of the dance. The overall flavor of the dance is contained in the translation of the word Mambo which means “shake it” or “say it”.


Teaching Elements

  • Mambo Breaks                 Combinations and variations of rock steps
  • Shine (Open) Position     Appearance, self expression
  • Footwork                           Staccato footwork, kicks & controlled movement
  • Turns                                  Develop momentum control, weight off heels
  • Interrelation                     Variety of figures adapted from other dances
  • Amalgamations                Combination of figures
  • Compare/Contrast          Salsa, Rumba, Cha Cha


Mambo songs and artists include:

Tequila – The Champs

Mambo #5 – Perez “Prez” Prado

Cherry Cherry – Neil Diamond

Livin’ La Vida Loca – Ricky Martin