Salsa/Mambo differences?

Discussion in 'Salsa' started by Bronzestudent, Sep 10, 2004.

  1. msjanemas

    msjanemas New Member

    jhb:

    I can't agree with that simply because I'm not too clear on what you think is Salsa in terms of dancing? What is Salsa? On 1 to you? As far as I could remember before the hustle came out, we were dancing the same thing you see today in the Cheetah, Ipanema, Casa Blanca, Chez Sensual and the Corso. Both on 1 and on 2 were no different than today. What is different and should always be is the ability to execute improvisational movements. That is what makes one stand out. Everything else is standard. It was sometime during the Corso era that the hustle came out. Downstairs a new club called Barney Googles opened up and they had a mix of Latin Music and Disco. Both Mambo and the Latin Hustle were being danced. We Latins just happen to Hustle a little better than your average Zenon or Studio 54 patron who did the average plain Hustle because we "added" Mambo turns to it. Mambo dancing was already in existance and full blown. The Latin Hustle did not influnce it.

    If anything is going to be called the Modern Mambo that would be LA Style in my opinion. LA has incorporated their Mexican styles like Quebradita. "Salsa" on 1, actually just another style of Mambo, is as old as Mambo on 2. Both Latin Dance styles are Mambo but the difference again is where it originated, of course which step you begin on (which shouldn't be a big deal), and 1 uses Tumbao while on 2 uses clave. Remember Cuba was dancing SON and Rumba and a Mambo unlike the NY style. I don't understand the "contemporary" Salsa dance term. It is not heavily influenced by the hustle. Again I say it's the other way around. Old Mambo is Palladium Mambo and that Mambo is very sofisticated. Some can't even do what was done at the Palladium today. Timing, styling, shines and improvisations were very important in connection to the music. You never saw someone (a dancer by title) on 1 or on 2 offbeat like you do today. You never saw someone (a dancer by title) do continuous spins and turns that covered more than 1/3 of the dance number. Style/sabor was the bottom line. What is Salsa dancing if not Mambo with another name? I think this a matter of popular terminology, just like "some" of the Music (genres) which many call Salsa and it's really a Cuban Son, Guaguanco or Son Montuno, of course excluding all the Willie Colon, some of the Palmieri, Noro Morales, Charlie Palmieri, Luis Perico Ortiz, Bobby Rodriguez, Joe Cuba, Orq. Flanboyan, etc. recordings since they recorded both Cuban and NY Sounds.
  2. jhb

    jhb New Member

    I do not go for the notion that dancing on 1 is Salsa, and the same thing "On 2" is Mambo. Really, my original point was to suggest the opposite: dancing on-2 the way they dance it now is not mambo! In terms of dancing, Salsa is the style of dance that developed through the 70s, from the mambo. I'm a little bit too young to have experienced the Cheetah and those other clubs you mentioned, but I have seen a fair amount of footage, both of Mambo through the 50s and 60s, and of Salsa through the 70s, and the change is very apparent, agreeing with what most literature seems to suggest.

    As I mentioned, the hustle is a latin-based danced, very much influenced by the mambo that came before it. One thing that distinguishes it are its approach to turn patterns. The mambo of the 50s and 60s looked quite different to how we dance Salsa now, and does not have the same "styling" or patterns as Salsa does now. Few would confuse the two!

    Well, let me put it this way. How much the hustle influenced the mambo or the mambo influenced the hustle is academic (they both influenced each other anyway). What really matters is by the mid-70s both the hustle and the "mambo" (ie salsa), looked very different than mambo did even 10 years before.

    Again, while I agree the step you choose to "break" on does not make the dance distinguishable enough to bother giving it another name, Salsa, on 1, or on 2, is NOT as old as Mambo. Palladium mambo, and the cuban mambo that preceded it look very different from Salsa today! That difference, which occurred through the early and mid 70s, alongside the development of the hustle. Eventually, this new style of dancing was called mambo less and less, took the same new name the music it was now being danced to. Both on 1 and on 2 Salsa now much more closely resemble this salsa/hustle of the 70s than of the mambo of the 60s. It sounds like you were lucky enough to have been around in that time, when mambo was turning into salsa (again, let's not bother getting into an argument about how much that had to do with the hustle! It's a side issue). When I say "contemporary" salsa, I am talking about the dance as it has been roughly since the 70s.

    Well, this is a total aside too, but I disagree with you when you say "on 2 uses clave", and "on 1 uses tumbao". Neither of them uses clave any more than the other. If they did, the timing would be different on either side of the clave (like rumba and the very, very early Cuban mambo was). For some reason, people say on 2 is on clave. Does the 3 side of the clave, where the clave hits 1-2.5-4 not matter?

    The very early Cuban mambo had step patterns derived from son and rumba, and like rumba, had a slight shuffle and twist to the timing which you sometimes see even now when you see Cubans dance. It was sort of on-2, but again, didn't exactly follow the timing rules we do now. But early on, as the dance style became more "Americanized", even in Cuba, the mambo regularized to have each step directly on a beat (and at first, with the timing "pause-step-step-step,pause-step-step-step), and we have the birth of the basic footwork that we still use in some form today. The NY mambo took this and evolved it further.


    Salsa is not just "mambo" by another name. It is a distinguishable dance form that deserves its own name. The basic footwork timing is the same, but the styling and the turn patterns give it a feel very different from old mambo. As far as music genres go, well, some people do misuse the term Salsa and call Son, or Mambo "Salsa", but they are using the term incorrectly, and just like the dance and I would say even much more so, Salsa is a distinct entity from both son and mambo. Like differentiating ANY genres of related music, it is a sliding scale, and some songs you might think "well, this is half and half" or something like that, but in the end, the two genres are distinguishable, and few who have heard them both and have a bit of knowledge would have trouble telling them apart.
  3. msjanemas

    msjanemas New Member

    JM:

    Jhb:

    If one is not dancing to the clave or the tumbao you must be OFFBEAT! Dancing but OFFBEAT. What style of dancing are you referring to? Do you have a clip? I'd like to see it.

    Jhb:

    JM:

    That's because we use the turns used in Latin Dancing to the hustle. What is it from the hustle that was added to Mambo or in your case Salsa? Sorry but I never heard or did any hustle and added it to Mambo on 1 or 2. Again it was the other way around. By the mid 70's we were learning from the Palladium crowd. Mambo is not about choreography on the dance floor unless you were entering a contest. It's suppose to occur naturally. That is dancing. With an exceptional leader you could look like you were his partner, yet you may have just met him that evening.

    Jhb:

    JM:

    Are you saying on 2 is not Mambo, but Salsa? When I talk about Mambo I'm not referring to the Mambo the Haitians brought to Cuba nor the Mambo of Perez Prado which was Rumba/Guaguanco. Of course the Cuban Mambo is different. But the Palladium Mambo is the Mambo dance today by most dancers at the COPA and many places in NY. Polanco, Eddie Torres dances Mambo. Salsa term is just use because people will never get it. The term has been marketed to the point where everyone is confused. The difference is that these dancers that I mentioned are GREAT and not your average mom and pop having a good time at a club. You can't compare average people who just go out 3 times a year to dance and assume they are dancing Mambo/Salsa.

    Jhb:

    JM:

    Ah but that's a matter of just popular terminology. Just like the music. Mambo never turned into salsa. Mambo still exists. On the other hand what many called Salsa was the on 1 which does look like Latin Hustle if you wanna look at it that way. I should say the Latin Hustle looks like Salsa on 1.

    JM:

    Jhb:

    JM:

    Then what does on 2 use? As for on 1 the tumbao is set around the clave. Most hard of hearing people prefer to listen to the Conga's tumbao as a guide than finding the clave which can be subtle in many NY Sound recordings, thus you have your on 1 dancers who are unable to dance on 2.

    Jhb:

    JM:

    Of course it evolved further.

    http://musicofpuertorico.com/en/genre_rumba.html

    Initially, the Americanized term "rhumba" was used to refer to many different styles or genres of music that had been imported from Cuba by the late 1920's. These styles and genres included the pregón, the canción, and the bolero. The true rumba, as well as other styles from Cuba were popularized by Latin dance bands such the Xavier Cugat Orchestra.

    It has only been recently that most people have learned to distinguish the rumba from other, similar musical styles; acknowledging the original meaning it has always had for Cubans and others that were truly familiar with Latin music genres.

    The rumba can be classified as having three distinct styles: guaguancó, columbia, and yambú. The guaguanco is the better know of these and is more popular in Havana than the countryside.


    JM:

    Jhb:

    JM:

    I'd have to see what you are talking about. Styling and turn patterns are nothing more than improvising and/or choreography which is done with almost any dance. Hip Hop can be improvised but it's still Hip Hop because the basic footwork and timing is there. Now if that change then we're talking about another style, but choreography does not change anything except exhibit a better performance.

    Jhb:

    JM:

    I would appreciate if you could provide a clip for us to see. Thanks for your response.
  4. SalsaAmore

    SalsaAmore New Member

    If you see the dancers on1 and on2 nowadays, Salsa and Mambo basically has become very similar. I'm not talking about club goers, but performers and pros as well. Mambo on2 dancers will try to adhere to the old rules of the dance. But as the dance continues to evolve ever so quickly, anyone else other than true Eddie Torres followers will incorporate new moves into it. It's just a natural occurrence with dance, because the old stuff do tend to become boring at some point and no one wants to see it anymore or do it anymore, unless that's what they're there to watch or do particularly. Salsa is a street style dance that has no rule books or guidelines yet. And people will, like in history, want to take it further in progression.

    When modern dance came into the picture of ballet. People hated it and refused to accept it and said that it wasn't ballet. But now, we have modern ballet and classical ballet. Salsa is such a new dance that it is forever changing as we speak. We're in a time where the dance be it termed Mambo or Salsa is still new. And, while we're making history, it's hard to see what the real outcome of the dance is. But, if you really need to classify it, Mambo is a classic dance if done in its true form according to the legends, i.e. ET. And, Salsa is a more modern style of this form of dance, so to speak, whether it be on1 or on2.
  5. jhb

    jhb New Member

    I'm not sure what you are getting at here. You can dance either Salsa or mambo either on-1, or on-2. I'm not suggesting people dance it another way (although, actually, in Cuba they do sometimes dance mambo with footwork that hints back to the guaguancó and doesn't really fit with our notions of on-1 and 2, but that's another story). What I am saying is, what foot you choose to break on is not what distinguishes Salsa and mambo. Mambo in the old days was usually danced on-2, although not always, and Salsa now can be danced either, and it is still Salsa.

    You probably where taking things from the hustle, and from other dances as well and incorporating it into the mambo. It doesn't have to be a concious thing that EVERY dancer from back then will remember doing. It is something the dance trend at the time did. As I have repeated more than once, the major difference that the hustle offered over Palladium mambo was its approach to turning patterns, which the Mambo did not have, to nearly the same degree. The palladium dance is fantastic, stylish, at times complicated, but it looks different from the Salsa of today. Whether you think different enough to denote a separate monicker is perhaps a matter of opinion, but different it is. [/quote]

    No. Again, I'm saying the that what separates Mambo from Salsa is NOT what step you choose to break on, that both Mambo and Salsa can break on either step. Mambo usually broke on 2, but as you say, sometimes on 1. Salsa can break on either.

    Perez Prado played Guaguancó? Listen to any of his songs (let's say Mambo º5 for the sake of universal recognizability). It's very obviously mambo, and sounds nothing like Guaguancó I'm not really sure either what you mean by "the Mambo the Haitians brought to Cuba". The word has roots in Haiti, and Haitians coming to Cuba did influence Cuban music with the music they brought over, but Mambo didn't develop until midway through the next century.

    Cuban mambo the dance was different, but not that different from mambo. Well, we can really divide Cuban mambo into two stages, early on, when the footwork was a bit more "rumba (specifically guaguancó)" like, and a bit later on, when it had settled on its "pause-two-three-four" pattern. But I don't see how you can look at the Cuban mambo of the 40s and 50s, compare it to NY Mambo of the same time, and claim they are different (they looked very similar in both timing, style, turn patterns, everything), and say they are different, yet not recognize the difference then between Palladium mambo and the Salsa of today. Even as Mambo developed in NY, Palladium mambo just looked like a slightly fancier version of the Cuban mambo, especially in the footwork (ie shines). I'll grant that they might be different enough to categorize them differently, but surely then so is Salsa and Palladium mambo!

    Nore am I sure why you bring up "great" and "average" dancers. From either era, there were great dancers dancing their respective dancers, and mediocre dancers also dancing salsa or mambo.

    What do you mean, what does on 2 use? If we are talking about what part of the music the "break" emphasizes in each of the different styles, then on 1 emphasizes the "downbeat", ie the first beat in the measure, and the beat that receives the general emphasis of the music, and on 2 breaks on the "backbeat", which is accented by a few percussion instruments. You say on-1 is dancing to the tumbao, but the tumbao is just the rhythm played out on the tumbadora which usually has a very faint accent on the 2. Another instrument which sometimes emphasizes the two is the cowbell (which emphasizes the two on the "short" side of the clave). I really don't see how on-1 is dancing to the Tumbao.

    Then you say that dancing on two is dancing on-clave. That's a pretty vague statement. What does that mean exactly? The clave pattern (the son clave at least) is 1-2.5-4, 2-3. On one side, the clave hits the "1", and on the other it hits the "2".

    There ARE some afro-Cuban styles which involve dancing on-clave, such as some ways of dancing to the guaguancó, and you can see it sometimes when you see Cubans dancing mambo or Salsa.

    You're right, in that people here often horribly mislabel rumba. That ballroom "rhumba" is not rumba at all. But that brings up an interesting point. Ballroom rhumba, which is a derivative of son, has the exact same steps and timing as a certain type of on-2 mambo (the more common type in the old days). Is ballroom rhumba just mambo then? How about son? Son is often danced "on-2" with similar or the same timing as the mambo. Is Mambo just son then? Or Son just mambo? By your logic, it would be. What differentiates it? By your logic that simply the basic footwork and timing defines a dance, they are all the same dance then!

    A clip of what? Salsa you can see in just about any latin club you might visit. Palladium mambo, you might be able to find on the internet, as with Cuban mambo and rumba. Do a little research! Those are the only dances I refer to.
  6. msjanemas

    msjanemas New Member

    jhb:

    I'm not sure what you are getting at here. You can dance either Salsa or mambo either on-1, or on-2.

    JM:

    I'm saying I think you call Salsa what I know to be Mambo on 1.

    jhb:

    You probably where taking things from the hustle, and from other dances as well and incorporating it into the mambo. It doesn't have to be a concious thing that EVERY dancer from back then will remember doing. It is something the dance trend at the time did. As I have repeated more than once, the major difference that the hustle offered over Palladium mambo was its approach to turning patterns, which the Mambo did not have, to nearly the same degree. The palladium dance is fantastic, stylish, at times complicated, but it looks different from the Salsa of today. Whether you think different enough to denote a separate monicker is perhaps a matter of opinion, but different it is. [/quote]

    JM:

    And what turn pattern is that? I never took things from the hustle to the Mambo. Never. Mambo as it was danced in the 50s, 60s, 70s - 2005 is still Mambo. There is not one recognizable turn in the Latin Hustle that was not already in Mambo. The Palladium Mambo (2) is no different than today. Thing is everyone can't do it and/or everyone looks different doing it. Some at the Palladium danced On 1 but was never the highlight on dance show night so the media doesn't really talk much about on 1 during that era and assumes everyone did the Palladium on 2.

    jhb:

    No. Again, I'm saying the that what separates Mambo from Salsa is NOT what step you choose to break on, that both Mambo and Salsa can break on either step. Mambo usually broke on 2, but as you say, sometimes on 1. Salsa can break on either.

    JM:

    I'd have to see what you call Salsa dancing. I do feel you are talking about Mambo on 1.

    jhb:

    Perez Prado played Guaguancó? Listen to any of his songs (let's say Mambo º5 for the sake of universal recognizability). It's very obviously mambo, and sounds nothing like Guaguancó I'm not really sure either what you mean by "the Mambo the Haitians brought to Cuba". The word has roots in Haiti, and Haitians coming to Cuba did influence Cuban music with the music they brought over, but Mambo didn't develop until midway through the next century.

    JM:

    Actually that was a mistake it should of read>
    (meaning an early version since Mambo went through various stages since it was first added to a composition as part of an arrangement). We all know like all genre terms and I quote:
    Bachata's original meaning is the same.

    jhb:

    Cuban mambo the dance was different, but not that different from mambo. Well, we can really divide Cuban mambo into two stages, early on, when the footwork was a bit more "rumba (specifically guaguancó)" like, and a bit later on, when it had settled on its "pause-two-three-four" pattern. But I don't see how you can look at the Cuban mambo of the 40s and 50s, compare it to NY Mambo of the same time, and claim they are different (they looked very similar in both timing, style, turn patterns, everything), and say they are different, yet not recognize the difference then between Palladium mambo and the Salsa of today. Even as Mambo developed in NY, Palladium mambo just looked like a slightly fancier version of the Cuban mambo, especially in the footwork (ie shines). I'll grant that they might be different enough to categorize them differently, but surely then so is Salsa and Palladium mambo!

    JM:

    In ref. to dance, what is the difference between a Bolero, Guajira and a Son? Speed with a little more umph here and there?

    JM:

    Then what does on 2 use? As for on 1 the tumbao is set around the clave. Most hard of hearing people prefer to listen to the Conga's tumbao as a guide than finding the clave which can be subtle in many NY Sound recordings, thus you have your on 1 dancers who are unable to dance on 2.

    jhb:

    What do you mean, what does on 2 use? If we are talking about what part of the music the "break" emphasizes in each of the different styles, then on 1 emphasizes the "downbeat", ie the first beat in the measure, and the beat that receives the general emphasis of the music, and on 2 breaks on the "backbeat", which is accented by a few percussion instruments. You say on-1 is dancing to the tumbao, but the tumbao is just the rhythm played out on the tumbadora which usually has a very faint accent on the 2. Another instrument which sometimes emphasizes the two is the cowbell (which emphasizes the two on the "short" side of the clave). I really don't see how on-1 is dancing to the Tumbao.

    JM:

    On 2 dancers use the clave beat as its guide. Some say it's "offbeat" because of the silent 4 and 8. The tumbao is not faint at all. One can find that easier than finding the 8 beat clave. Sometimes they don't even know they are dancing around the Tumbao. Or I guess I've been dancing on 4 all along. But hey I'm a Nuyorican who simply was there and saw it all, raised with many of the musicians and was at many Studio recording sessions. Technical terms only confuses everyone. As far as I know we were adding to the Hustle not taking from it. There was nothing there in the first place to take.

    JM:

    jhb:

    A clip of what? Salsa you can see in just about any latin club you might visit. Palladium mambo, you might be able to find on the internet, as with Cuban mambo and rumba. Do a little research! Those are the only dances I refer to.

    JM:

    CLUBS! Finally you answered what I thought all along!

    Speed, style and turn patterns which is your point is nothing more than adjusting to the music and being a flashier dancer that is all. All patrons in the clubs dance Mambo or try to! Salsa" On 1 or 2 IS Mambo On 1 or 2. Just because you break differently, have your own style and turns thoughout the song doesn't mean it's a new dance. Many people don't know how to break but once they get into it IT'S MAMBO. What I do know is that Mambo is versatile. No two couples are alike unless your schooled and choreographed. Mambo is meant to be self expressive, creative with turns and styles unlimited to the imagination. That is Mambo. Salsa is Mambo. Salsa is a popular misapplied term historically meant to express "Soul or Flavor." Always been and always will to me.

    Thank you! I thought I was missing out on a new dance!
  7. jhb

    jhb New Member

    Ugh, I just wrote a long response, and the forum didn't post it. Anyway, I'll just post a summary of it. Better for everybody!

    As I have repeated, no. The step you break on does not matter, and Salsa breaking on 1 or breaking on 2 is still Salsa.

    Fair enough, I agree with the gist of what you are saying. Although, with regards to the term rumba, when it comes to describing music, it is used to describe the distinct (but related) music forms guaguancó, yambú and columbia. Prado played neither. Regardless, by the time he was a big deal, the music he was making sounded an awful lot like the mambo that they would be playing in NY soon after.

    And on that note, what is the difference between Son, ballroom rumba, and mambo? They share very similar, if not in many cases identical timing and footwork. Is mambo then just son mislabeled? Why does mambo warrant a separate name and honor of being a different dance to son? Especially following your logic that if the basic footwork and timing is the same, it is the same dance.

    I didn't say the tumbao was faint. It's very prominent in the music. I was refering to its emphasis on the two, which is often very subtle (and sometimes not!)

    How do on 2 dancers use the clave beat as a guide? Do you mean, as a sort of compass to find the two? Why couldn't the one just as equally use the clave? Why couldn't on 2 dancers use the tumbao to find the two? Both the one and the two are fixed in position relative to the clave.

    I can hear the clave and the tumbao very easily in the music, and I use neither to "find" the beat, when dancing either on two or on one. I think most dancers, once past the early stages, just listen to the music as a whole and can identify where the one is, without the need to use specific instruments or patterns as flags. Have you ever danced cumbia? Did you have trouble finding the one (or the two for that matter. If you can find one, the other is just one beat away!)? And of course there is no clave, and no tumbao.

    So again, and and lets be specific, how is on-2 "on clave" and on-1 not? I know its an aside to what we were originally talking about, but it is interesting!

    Ah! Ok, so again, why is Mambo not just son? What's the difference? Earlier you even differentiated between Cuban mambo and Palladium mambo. Why are these different dances? In fact, ballroom rumba, a derivative of the son with exactly the same timing and steps as the mambo, predates the mambo by at least a decade. Does that mean that mambo isn't really mambo, it's just "American rhumba" (as some call it) misnamed! What makes mambo unique from these?
  8. msjanemas

    msjanemas New Member

    jhb:

    How do on 2 dancers use the clave beat as a guide? Do you mean, as a sort of compass to find the two?

    JM:

    Ah a little sarcasm here. Good enough. I tell you want you dance ballroom and "salsa" and I'll Mambo. I just made up what my people have been doing for ages. In comes Ballroom and all of a sudden we know nothing because you guys have complicated everything with steps and count and this and that (it's like reading a Navy Manual), beside doing it differently and as a sport.

    jhb:

    Why couldn't the one just as equally use the clave? Why couldn't on 2 dancers use the tumbao to find the two? Both the one and the two are fixed in position relative to the clave.

    JM:

    See all this technique talk just complicates.... in the Navy we called this NUKING IT. The Tumbao is set around the clave so when you dance listening to the Tumbao you are in fact "en clave" and in step without using an 8 count. It's not why but "what is". This is what they do. They do not follow Ballroom count and techniques simply because it's commercial and restrictive. We have been doing this for ages and to become commercial is to takes away the natural beauty of the dance.

    jhb:

    So again, and and lets be specific, how is on-2 "on clave" and on-1 not? I know its an aside to what we were originally talking about, but it is interesting!

    JM:

    I never said on 1 is not on CLAVE per se. The Tumbao "is already" on clave. It easier to find the clave using the Tumbao for a person who prefers on 1.

    jhb:

    Ah! Ok, so again, why is Mambo not just son? What's the difference? Earlier you even differentiated between Cuban mambo and Palladium mambo. Why are these different dances? In fact, ballroom rumba, a derivative of the son with exactly the same timing and steps as the mambo, predates the mambo by at least a decade. Does that mean that mambo isn't really mambo, it's just "American rhumba" (as some call it) misnamed! What makes mambo unique from these?[/quote]

    JM:

    Have you not seen the true SON danced? It's looks more related to a Guajira, just faster. With that said, the Son resembles a Guajira, which resembles a Bolero, more than the NY Mambo resembles any of them. The Mambo very sofisticated warrants a style of its own. Try dancing a SON to Ran Kan Kan. You might do it but you won't look good. You'll look like the last one in a chicken walk marathon.

    I'm sorry Ballroom Rumba, although beautiful as an art, is not the Mambo that we know. It's commercial and Americanized with strict body posture that is not "Real Latin" in style, some movements yes. Latin Mambo is about feeling...movement birthed from an inner source released and expressed as an outburst set to sensuality independently and not syncronized with everyone else on the floor.
  9. jhb

    jhb New Member

    Truly, no sarcasm was intended.

    I'm not sure why you have suddenly chosen to associate me with "ballroom". I don't dance it and don't like the way it looks. It almost seems that sudden tactic amounts to "name-calling". Why? Because I look at Salsa and Mambo and see two different dance? Because I know how to describe music in terms of counts? Describing the music in terms of counts is a very useful way to communicate about it in more detail on a forum like this. Its a way of describing aspects of the music in words, which is very necessary in a discussion like this. You do the same thing, and I see no problem in that. I really see no reason to make wild associations with "ballroom".

    Well then, both on-1 and on-2 is "en clave", fine. I don't agree at all with the notion that it is easier to find the clave using the tumbao for somebody who prefers on-1, and I'm really not sure where you get that from. It seems like a very strange and unfounded generalization. All beginner dancers, whether on-2 or on-1, will have trouble hearing the clave directly if they have had little prior experience with afro-cuban music. Once a dancer is more used to it, he will have less trouble. In neither should it make a difference what foot you break on whether you use the tumbao or the clave directly to "find" the clave. Either way you can hear your way around the music without specifically listening to a particular pattern.

    Nobody is saying mambo dancers or salsa dancers follow a "ballroom" count, whatever that means. Counting is simply a useful way to learn how to dance, and to describe it, as I have said above. And mambo dancers DO follow a count, whether they think about it in those terms or not. They break on a certain count. They step this way and that way on a certain count. We can say a particular dancer breaks on this count, steps on this count. He may not think about it that way, good for him. But he still does it.


    Yes I have. And (depending on the style, as the footwork of the son varies to a certain degree) its basic steps and timing can be identical to the mambo. The only reason you would have trouble dancing son to something like Ran Kan Kan is the speed of the music. So is mambo then just son sped up? And slightly slower mambos do fall within the speed range more common to son.

    I'm just playing the devil's advocate here. That is I agree that the mambo warrants a label of its own to describe the dance, but so does Salsa.

    Aha! So, you agree then that just because the timing and the footwork is the same, differences in other respects can warrant it being considered a different genre. Of course, ballroom rumba is not mambo, despite the identical timing and step pattern. Why not? Because of other factors, some of which you mention. Some of them are tangible: "strict body posture", and some of them are not: "Latin Mambo is about feeling...movement birthed from an inner source..." but these differences together give you a different, but obviously related dance.

    And Salsa is the same. It is very similar in many respects to its parent, the mambo, but in many other respects it is different. Some of them tangible, some of them not, but in the end, they look different. Palladium mambo does not look like Salsa (though it looks similar). Some styles of salsa recall more the look and feel of mambo (as you say, the LA style does this to a greater degree than some of the others), but its still different. In some ways, that difference is not tangible, but it does have a different feel to it (both the music, and the dance).

    You seem to be using a much looser (a more convenient) set of criteria to differentiate the mambo from other very similar latin dances than you are in separating salsa from mambo.
  10. msjanemas

    msjanemas New Member

    I assumed Ballroom because every step is important to them...every count and every turn like you described in your arguement. You are not an average Mambo dancer because if you were you wouldn't focus on the numbers, which is a commercial tool. Are you Hispano? If so, I'm curious what's your background in dancing or teaching?

    I will say it again. It is Mambo. Everyone uses the term Salsa because it is Popular usage and to teach the public will simply be a big headache. That is why you hear musicians use the term Salsa...they understand the public will not understand the originally terminology. Salsa is equivalent to the term Soul. If I want hear some Soul, I go to a club and dance the shingaling, wobble, freestyle, or whatever style to whatever music is being played. It's the same with Salsa. Quiero oir Salsa, means I want to hear some Soul. So when I get to the club I am going to dance Mambo or Guajira, Bolero, Cha Cha or Boogaloo. That is SALSA, a LIFESTYLE. Classic Salsa is the same as Classic Soul, a discriptive term where you can hear and dance to a variety of genres of music like R&B, Doo Wop or Funk and dance it. Just like the term Bachata was added to the dance and Guajira was added to the dance, etc. if the word Salsa was to be applied to a style it would be on 1, and just for the record people in the 70s were calling On 1 Salsa. But what is danced in the clubs is no different than Mambo on 1 or 2.
  11. jhb

    jhb New Member

    Not Hispanic. I've been dancing for a few years, just Salsa. Of course, I don't focus on the numbers when I'm actually dancing. However, when describing or analyzing music from a step back, especially in a forum where all we have is words, it's a necessity. And besides, analyzing music in detail, both in terms of its history and its makeup is interesting!

    We will just have to disagree here. It's been a good discussion along the way.
  12. msjanemas

    msjanemas New Member

    Sorry for the delay, I had midterms.

    It has been a good discussion. Thank you for your imput. It allows me to filter and figure out why people think the way they do about the term Salsa. In terms of music (not the dance) of course it is wonderful to analyze it in detail. I think because the main focus was dance and not music the subject sort of loss its focus once in a while, and people get thrown off when your discussing both dance and music and both have the same names. This is one of the main reasons why people never get it. But getting back to the subject, it's hard for me to agree on some of the things you believe, in terms of dance because I lived it. No doubt you are well informed. I have Jewish friends who lived it and they too are hardcore Mamboniks who see "Salsa" dancing as nothing more than Mambo substituted by a commerically popular name. No two snowflakes can be alike (except commercially made ones), yet they are still snowflakes. So when a Mambo dancer does his own amazing thing..he is giving a "Salsa" because tiene Sabor, but he is nonetheless a Mambo dancer.
  13. aragonh

    aragonh New Member

    These "Mambo vs. Salsa" are always interesting topics to read. However, it usually comes down to people arguing past each other.

    These discussions reminds me of Thomas Khuns book "Structure of Scientific Revolutions"

    Maybe there can be a "Theory of Dance Revolutions!!!"

    :D
  14. TemptressToo

    TemptressToo Member

    I feel more comfortable with salsa. It feels more natural to me. I also enjoy the more spin-heaviness in salsa.
  15. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member

    :lol:

    Well there ya' go, Mambo :arrow: Salsa in two words: paradigm shift! :lol:
  16. DancingCabbie

    DancingCabbie New Member

    Who really knows?

    Does anyone really know what they're talking about here. Are you guys just assuming what the difference between salsa and mambo is?

    "Dance is the dialogue between the music and your soul." -Cabbie
  17. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    troll alert... lol...
  18. tj

    tj New Member

    Lol, here I go defending a troll....

    I find most of the posts to be pretty unreadable in this thread since there's a lot of contradiction from one post to another and the use of a lot of lingo. Music history seems to be a pretty thorny and opinionated subject. Wish it was clearer and cleaner, but at least it doesn't interfere with my enjoyment of the music.

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