Salsa > Salsa vs mambo

Discussion in 'Salsa' started by uncle joe, Aug 6, 2009.

  1. uncle joe

    uncle joe New Member

    As early as 1949 I learned the Mambo, the original of Salsa, when it started to be the dance craze in NYC. Fortunately, I had learned the original Puerto Rican syncopated version of the Mambo where the Dancer holds the First Beat with feet together and breaks FWD or BWD with the Left or Right Foot on the Two count, steps In-place on the Three Count, and holds feet together on the Four & One counts.

    MAMBO: Hold Feet together on One, Break FWD on Two, then step In-place on Three, and Hold feet together with weight on step Four for Two beats (Four & One) The Fourth Step is Held For two Quarter notes, without an alternating weight change.

    Of course this is a bit more complicated rhythm, but once you get it going, breaking on Two in Mambo, you will never go back to Salsa breaking on the One Down beat. It takes a couple of hours practice to Convert from Salsa to Mambo so do not try it unless you are an excellent dancer. And any good Salsa dancer will be able to follow you.

    And when dancing in open exhibition postion, with the Four & One Beat taken In-place, you are free to do any fancy footwork you can imagine on those two beats.

    Starting today, August 4, 2009, my One Man Crusade is to bring back the Mambo style of dancing for the more sophisticated dancers.
    There is room for both styles; Mambo & Salsa, just as in Tango or Swing or Waltz.

    I'll give details for the Mambo for any one interested in dancing Mambo in the syncopated ZONE instead of accenting Salsa by breaking FWD on the Down beat.

    Uncle Joe
    The dancer's best friend
  2. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    First.. its NOT syncopated rhythm that you are describing. This only occurs if one dances a " Son Guajira " rhythm incorporated into the basic.( the forerunner of Cha Cha and triple Mambo ). You are addressing the Clave, on 2 and 6 , of the 2 bars .

    A syncop. rhythm as " danced " would incorporate an " and " in its makeup ( this occurs in Clave which I,m about to put on my web this w/end ).

    And, the " closed " foot position, was taught primarily to beginners ( in all the schools I taught in..late 50s early 60s and on) and the "passing" of the feet that many of the pros danced, was more in favor in club use,.I also learned from PRs in L.A. where I worked ( as opposed to the style I was taught by the studio) and yes, their " style " is distinctive ( thats what I still dance and teach but with a Cuban influence )
  3. Br0nze

    Br0nze Active Member

    My knowledge of Salsa and Mambo is rudimentary, at best, and I thought that the main difference between the two was this difference timing, specifically being that the Forward or back Breaks in Salsa are on 1 and in Mambo on 2, and the pauses are on 4 and 8 in Salsa but 4&1 in Mambo. Is that incorrect, or merely incredibly simplistic?

    I am personally far more favorable towards Mambo, though my knowledge of its figures is in the range of about six. Can figures from Salsa (and Cha Cha) be interchangeable in Mambo? It was (again) my understanding that they could be.
  4. uncle joe

    uncle joe New Member

    Your explanation of the difference between the Salsa & Mambo breaking on 1 or 2 may be simplified but it is perfect. I wish I had explained the difference your way.

    There is a definition for syncopation in music dictionaries, "Syncopation is accenting the unaccented beats". In 4/4 time music, the first beat in the bar (measure) is the accented down beat, so when the Mambo dancer breaks on the second beat (2) they are accenting the unaccented beat and that is syncopation according to the music dictionaries.

    My intention in describing the Mambo with feet together on the < 4 & 1 > counts is for beginners.
    On <4 & 1 > I would be substituting those two quarter beats with an endless variety of moves or take the a two bar of music into a completely non basic configuration. And as for the clave beat , of couse you can dance to that beat, but again, I want t keep it simple for beginners.

    Uncle Joe
    The dancer's best friend
  5. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    I,m aware of the musical breakdown.. but.. in dance terms, syncopation has a specific meaning in relation to HOW we dance.. in aaddition, the " joining " of 2 bars and or " compressing" notes to fit within a bar, Waltz being a good e.g. where no syncop. is written,and yet we " add " a syncop. into, and add "onto" , basic stucture. ( 1,2 and 3 or.. 1,2,3, and..).

    Time signatures only tell us HOW the music was written.

    What dancers do with musical interpretation, is not always written in the composition.. and, to go back to salsa/mambo.. one can choose to dance to clave or not ,and in addition, there is also the "style " of the piece musically speaking..... i.e. Guaguanco, Montuno, Guajira( this has a clear syncop. ) etc.. which should affect the WAY we interpret the dance..

    And to add more to the musical polyrhythms, is the inclusion of Cumbia passages ( which are syncopated ) into some Colombian style Salsa music ..
  6. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    Salsa may be danced breaking on ..1, 2, and or 3(PR), and Mambo ( today ) is danced on 1 and 2..
    Style dictates, to a large degree, the beat on which one chooses to break .

    And yes, many of the variations in
    Salsa and Cha came out of Mambo ( and other dances ) if you want a complete breakdown of transition.. go to my web and read " articles "....
  7. Angel HI

    Angel HI Well-Known Member

    I am confused by what you are referring to.

    Mambo isn't puerto rican. It's cuban.

    You're a wee late. Dancing on 2 is already quite popular in many circles.

    TT is correct is his posts.
  8. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    Clave on Vid.

    I hope to have a small Video segment on my web by tonite ( or Sat. ) highlighting a basic danced to Clave..this will show the emergence of triple Mambo etc..
  9. uncle joe

    uncle joe New Member

    I am mostly into composing music since 2001; my Mambo dancing days stopped in 1962, and when I talk Mambo I am coming from Pre 1962, so there will be a difference in the evolution of the Mambo that makes it impossible for me to comment on the modern evolution of the dance.

    From a musicians point of view, what you are doing in dance is bending the notes or also improvising which is a creative high level of art.

    Check my website for twenty-four of my thirty-thee original musical companions, and I will Check yours. WWW.LINDYBYLANZA.COM
    Angel HI,
    I won't argue abut the origin of the Mambo, you could be right.
    about my being a wee late in promoting the Mambo; I was 29 years too late in substituting the WCS with the Lindy Hop in Southern California when I first published my book, "Lindy By Lanza" on April 20, 2001, but at this last week's Camp Hollywood 13th annual summer Festival, my favorite Mambo dance partner of the 1950's sent me this Email:

    "I was there (Camp Hollywood) the whole time. These kids are doing Lindy and they looked and danced great. One thousand of them."

    So you see Angel HI, it is never too late to the remaining Salsa dancers improve by substituting the Salsa with the Mambo. I will just have to write another book, "Why Salsa When you can Mambo?"

    Uncle Joe aka Black Sheep
    The dancer's Best Friend
  10. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    So am I.. the difference is,I continued teaching and dancing it thru the 80s, and "switched " to salsa thru popular demand.. however.. I STILL educate my class people, with salsas' heritage ,and do play 50s/60s music frequently in my class work(I also include some when I DJ ) .
  11. DancingMommy

    DancingMommy Active Member

    Or better yet, just dance to the music. ;) Forget about counting and "just dance".
  12. timberamayor

    timberamayor Member

    Anyway, I'm sure many of you already know this but...

    Changüí, son, chachacha and mambo are all Cuban music stylse and Cuban dances and they are all danced "contratiempo" which is to say on the upbeat (or the style of on2 described in the original post). So all of the original dances from which salsa sprang were danced 2,3,4 6,7,8. (or in the case of chachacha 2,3 chachacha 6,7 chachacha).

    Anyone who is into Cuban dance will still dance these dances contratiempo.

    Cuban salsa (Casino), on the other hand is danced "a tiempo" meaning on the downbeat i.e. on1 1,2,3 5,6,7.

    I don't think the beat you dance on is nearly as interesting as the direction of the motion "in-line" versus "rotational".

    As far as which beat is "right" to dance on I think it depends on the song. Any song with a strong son clave feels "contratiempo" to me, incuding songo and timba, whereas for faster songs I prefer "a tiempo".

    There is a great song from Orquesta Revé's last album "Fresquecito". It is called "A sancochar boniato" and it starts as a rumba, switches to timba and then goes to son montuno and even includes some percussion breaks. What does this mean for the dancer? You can start with rumba, switch to casino, then switch to son and even throw in some despelote. I love the song because it allows you to do so many things and you can even switch dancing between dancing "a tiempo" and "contratiempo" in the same song. I like variety.
    youtube com/watch?v=WGyzCPWDlOQ

    rumba 0:00-1:01 (I'd dance rumba)
    timba 1:02-2:24 (I'd dance casino)
    son montuno 2:25-end (I'd dance son)
    At 4:38 they do a gear change in the rhythm section that Cubans call "bomba" and that's where the dancers would do despelote or tembleque. And again about 1 minute later.
  13. uncle joe

    uncle joe New Member

    Good Advice DancingMommy, but that is what I love about Mambo, The way we danced it in the 1950's was free forming interpretive improvised dancing throwing in the mambo basics in between with your partner and exhibition dancing in open position throwing in back bends, double spins and precision routines. Somehow dancing on the beat in Salsa is boring just as dancing on the beat in WCS is and that is what finally killed WCS in Southern California.

    Uncle Joe
  14. DWise1

    DWise1 Well-Known Member

    And yet we still have all those poor WCS dancers throughout Southern California who don't realize yet that their dance has been killed. Dancers who far outnumber Lindy hoppers regularly dancing at dances and events that far outnumber the number of Lindy dances and events. After all, WCS has a multitude of teachers and promoters, whereas in Orange County there's only one Lindy promoter, Shesha Marvin -- are there any Lindy promoters in LA outside of Memories in Whittier?

    Know what you need to do? You need to start attending those WCS events. So you can inform them that WCS has been killed. And be very sure that you also inform them of the reason you know that it has been killed, namely that WCS was not taught at a Lindy event. Be sure to report back the reception you get; I'd say that they will all laugh you out the door, though some might take pity on your poor deluded state of mind.

    Oh, and be extra sure to go to the WCS events of the US Open this year so you can spread the Gospel of "WCS has been killed because it was not taught at a Lindy event" to them as well. You know, that huge room with the stands packed with WCS dancers who then pour out and pack the dance floor between competition events.

    You really need to tell them, you know. Withholding such important information would border on being criminal.
  15. dancin/dj

    dancin/dj Member

    I have not been on in some time, i find uncle joe"s post about bringing mambo back for more sophisticated dancers very divisive and arrogent- straight up old school hype, gee joe thanks for helping us poor salsa dancers-without your great knowledge where would we be, please admin i hope if you guys read this , u will see this set up that's as old as the hills, f joe's statement that just breeds a fight. sorry many people dance around what they really intend.
  16. MultiFaceted Dancer

    MultiFaceted Dancer Active Member

    Dancing Salsa, Mambo, West Coast, or any other style of music is there for all of us to Enjoy-Whether it's danced Competitively or Socially. Each Style of music and Dance has it's own Unique Characteristics that distinquish one dance or type of music from another- along with it's own timing qualities.
    That is why we all want to Learn as much knowledge as possible to truely understand each style and type of music and dance. Live and Let Live
    Enjoy the Moment -Tomorrow is Promised to No-One
  17. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    The origin of Cha, is Son Guajira, danced on "1" and first used as a Triple Mambo, in a social context , and Cha, is not even considered a latin dance by many DJs and latinos.. and its CHA Cha.... ( 4 and...the Conga slap ).

    The 4 and 1,( cha, cha , cha thing ), came out of teaching, and is reputed to be a verbilisation of the noise the feet made by singers in bands, when moving back and forth..
  18. DancingMommy

    DancingMommy Active Member

    Poor Benji Schwimmer. I feel bad for him. I think he missed the memo. :rolleyes:
  19. dryrain

    dryrain New Member

    Salsa on2 style usually refers to the NY style salsa. It is danced on 1-2-3, same beats as on1 salsa. I don't think that's what UJ is talking about.
  20. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    A.H. was refering to ORIGINS.. not style... ALL styles are "cuban" based and are hybrids ( as is Mambo ).. and the 1.2.3. you refer to, was being danced in Cuba ,before there was a N.Y. " style" ...

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