Mambo developed from the Cuban dance Danzon, and was greatly influenced by Cuban Haitians and American Jazz. Perez Prado is credited with introducing Mambo at a Havana nightclub in 1943. Other Latin musicians made significant contributions to Mambo’s growth and development, including Tito Rodriquez, Tito Puente and Xavier Cugat.

Around 1947, Mambo arrived in New York. Quickly becoming all the rage, Mambo was taught at dance schools, resorts and nightclubs, reaching its height of popularity by the mid 1950’s. The fad waned with the birth of Cha Cha, a dance developed from mambo. Recently, it has regained its popularity, due in large part to a New York dancer named Eddie Torres, as well as popular Mambo songs and movies.


Mambo is a fast and spicy dance characterized by strong Cuban motion, staccato movement and expression of rhythm through the body. Mambo also features many swivels and spins.

Generally speaking Mambo and Salsa are similar with the following exceptions:

  • Mambo – the dancer holds on count 1 and breaks on count 2
  • Salsa – the dancer holds on count 4 and breaks on count 1