Mambo

This is like fast Rumba with consequently smaller steps. The music has 4 beats to the bar and about 45 bars per minute. Count 2, 3, 4, wait (QQS) to a bar for most step groups or figures. The 1st beat is used to sway the hip further over the supporting foot from the last step.

As with other latin dances, the close hold is looser than for ballroom. Very few steps are inline. The couple often separate into an open position for side-by-side or shadow figures. The hold may be a high double, left to right or right to left.

The knees should be straight most of the time. Slide across the floor on the ball of the foot and side step by rolling from the inner edge of the foot to the outer. The body should remain level - no fall and rise as when waltzing. The motion of the hips is the key to this.

Basics

The man steps forwards on the left foot or backwards on the right foot (the lady doing the opposite). Then the weight is replaced onto the other foot (right or left). These 2 steps together may be referred to as a rock step. Do not just push the foot out for the rock step and forget to move the rest of your body over it - you will look like Frank Spencer. The last step is closed or to the side (left or right) with the final beat being used to sway the hip over the foot. For the next bar the man must begin with the other foot. Note that the forwards right and backwards left versions of this figure do not exist except in sequences. So the options are:

Left Closed Basic (FP, CH) Right Closed Basic (FP, CH)
Beat 2 (Q) 3 (Q) 4, 1 (S) 2 (Q) 3 (Q) 4, 1 (S)
Man LF RB LC RB LF RC
Lady RB LF RC LF RB LC

The couple should rotate gently anticlockwise during the figure when not dancing a sequence. This is accomplished largely during the closing steps. The right foot should be closed just in front of the left and the left just behind the right. Swivel on the balls of the feet when transferring weight to leave a fully closed position.

Left Basic Turning (FP, CH) Right Basic Turning (FP, CH)
Beat 2 (Q) 3 (Q) 4, 1 (S) 2 (Q) 3 (Q) 4, 1 (S)
Man LF RB LC-1 RB LF RC-1
Lady RB LF RC-1 LF RB LC-1

The open form of the basic is used less often than in the Rumba and has smaller steps. Mambo doesn't really have any travelling figures.

Left Open Basic (FP, CH) Right Open Basic (FP, CH)
Beat 2 (Q) 3 (Q) 4, 1 (S) 2 (Q) 3 (Q) 4, 1 (S)
Man LF RB LS RB LF RS
Lady RB LF RS LF RB LS

Hand-To-Hands

Both man and lady step backwards across the body to a side-by-side position with just a single handhold. Then the weight is replaced onto the other foot before turning back. The last step is to the side (left or right) with the final beat being used to sway the hip over the foot. A double handhold is usually taken on the side step if the next figure uses this or the other single handhold.

Hand-to-Hand (SRP-FP, RLH-DH) Hand-to-Hand (SLP-FP, LRH-DH)
Beat 2 (Q) 3 (Q) 4, 1 (S) 2 (Q) 3 (Q) 4, 1 (S)
Man LXB-2 RFX+2 LS RXB+2 LFX-2 RS
Lady RXB+2 LFX-2 RS LXB-2 RFX+2 LS

New Yorks

Both man and lady step forwards across the body to a side-by-side position with just a single handhold. Then the weight is replaced onto the other foot before turning back. The last step is to the side with the final beat being used to sway the hip over the foot. A double handhold is usually taken on the side step if the next figure uses this or the other single handhold.

New York (SLP-FP, LRH-DH) New York (SRP-FP, RLH-DH)
Beat 2 (Q) 3 (Q) 4, 1 (S) 2 (Q) 3 (Q) 4, 1 (S)
Man LXF+2 RBX-2 LS RXF-2 LBX+2 RS
Lady RXF-2 LBX+2 RS LXF+2 RBX-2 LS

Spot Turns

Both man and lady step forwards across the body to a side-by-side position but push away and release the single handhold. They continue turning round using both feet to swivel before replacing the weight onto the other foot. The last step is to the side with the final beat being used to sway the hip over the foot. The next figure determines the handhold taken on the side step.

Spot Turn (SLP-BP-FP, LRH-NH) Spot Turn (SRP-BP-FP, RLH-NH)
Beat 2 (Q) 3 (Q) 4, 1 (S) 2 (Q) 3 (Q) 4, 1 (S)
Man LXFS+4 RSFX+4 LS RXFS-4 LSFX-4 RS
Lady RXFS-4 LSFX-4 RS LXFS+4 RSFX+4 LS

Usually just a single spot turn is danced - the SRP one after 3 hand-to-hands.

Alemana Turns

The man raises the linked hands and directs the lady to turn under his arm. She uses the same steps as a spot turn while he dances a basic. This is usually a single turn to the right, after 3 basics or new yorks. However it is possible to turn the other way.

Rev. Alemana (FP-SFP-FP, LRH/RLH) Alemana Turn (FP-SFP-FP, LRH)
Beat 2 (Q) 3 (Q) 4, 1 (S) 2 (Q) 3 (Q) 4, 1 (S)
Man LF RB LS RB LF RS
Lady RXFS-4 LSFX-4 RS LXFS+4 RSFX+4 LS

Cucarachas / Pressure Steps

The cucaracha is a side-replace step ending in a close, rather than a forwards or backwards replace.

Cucaracha (FP, CH) Cucaracha (FP, CH)
Beat 2 (Q) 3 (Q) 4, 1 (S) 2 (Q) 3 (Q) 4, 1 (S)
Man LS RS LC RS LS RC
Lady RS LS RC LS RS LC

Side-by-Side Solos

The man pushes the lady away and to the side with his left hand and releases his hold. He turns the other way and they dance side by side with no handhold until turning back to each other after an agreed number of basics. Note that the man switches to dancing the opposite form of basic during this mini-sequence. He would usually follow it with normal basics.

Basic to separate (FP, CH-NH) Closed Basic (FP, NH)
Beat 2 (Q) 3 (Q) 4, 1 (S) 2 (Q) 3 (Q) 4, 1 (S)
Man LF RB LBSF-2 RF LB RC
Lady RB LF RBSF+2 LF RB LC

Closed Basic (FP, NH) Basic to rejoin (FP, NH-CH)
Beat 2 (Q) 3 (Q) 4, 1 (S) 2 (Q) 3 (Q) 4, 1 (S)
Man LB RF LC RF LB RBSF+2
Lady RB LF RC LF RB LBSF-2


© Susan Foord (sf@pedag.org) 2010-07-24
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