Joy in Motion, you hit the nail on the head! This is exactly what I would have liked to express but I would probably not be able to explain it as eloquently as you do. I am a street salsa dancer but I also love to watch ballroom dancing and I have a lot of respect for ballroom dancers!!! However, when it comes to ballroom mambo, I am always really disappointed. I cannot judge the technique but I am sure these ballroom mambo dancers have all the right technique down. However, it looks like the technique always gets in the way of the dance. It usually looks learned and the moves are hard and very technical. The smiles are also trained and often exaggerated and artificial. They dance with the music, but not in the music (and a total no go for me is when they dance to pop music instead of real mambo music). The "natural" component, the fluidity and what Latinos call "sabor" are missing. They do not "breathe" mambo and that is always so visible (an example is Joanna Zacharevicz). Compare some of the elegant greats of the salsa world, e. g. Felipe Polanco, Tito Ortos, Jhesus Aponte, Stacey Lopez, or Oliver Pineda. Many of them are also professionally trained dancers (not ballroom trained) and have their technique down. Here is an example of what I mean. Felipe's dance partner is just all musicality, sabor, fluidity and everything else: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GrqRzI4f7jI However, when they "combine their formal training in technique with good connection, musicality, and Latin movement", they look fabulous! For example, I LOVE to watch Yulia Zagoruychenko, no matter what she dances!!! She really has "it"! She is a ballroom dancer, but she oozes musicality, hotness, fluidity, all the above, and more. And many years ago I saw a couple from the professional cabaret division dance mambo. That was phantastic! She was Latina and that was obvious. Her (ballroom) mambo was so hot!!! Unfortunately I cannot remember her name.