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Spinning Mambo into SalsaCaribbean Dance in Global Commerce$
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Juliet McMains

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199324637

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199324637.001.0001

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From Mambo to Salsa

From Mambo to Salsa

Dancing across Generational Divides

(p.27) 1 From Mambo to Salsa
Spinning Mambo into Salsa

Juliet McMains

Oxford University Press

Although often danced to the same music and called by the same name, mambo dancing at New York’s Palladium Ballroom in the 1950s differed significantly from commercialized New York salsa/mambo of the 1990s and 2000s. This chapter examines the technical differences that separate the dance styles of these two generations of mambo dancers, highlighting the older style’s closer reliance on Africanist aesthetics. The author argues that technical differences in vocabulary, syntax, gendered dynamic, connection, use of space, and rhythm emerged as a result of salsa dance commercialization. A further argument is that the changing aesthetic priorities of the dance emerge from a growing separation of the dance from the music for which it was named, a phenomenon the author calls “kineschizophonia.”

Keywords:   Palladium Ballroom, New York, Africanist aesthetic, mambo, salsa, kineschizophonia, commercialization

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