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The History and Culture Behind the Mambo in the West Side Story

Works Cited Salzar , Max . “1954 Mambo USA ‘ Latin Beat Magazine 1999 .West Side Story . 23 December 1961 .Feurerstein , Alan . “Mambo Legends Cuban Pete and Mille Architects of Excitement ‘ LA Salsa July 1992 .Leymarie , Isabelle . “Mambo Mania ‘ UNESCO Courier v . 48 , issue 1 January 1995 .The History and Culture behind the Mambo in West Side Story Introduction Watching West Side Story and seeing the cool movements of the dancers as their hips sway to the beat of the Mambo invites the viewer into their world . The music and movements all work together to not only portray the idea of Latino culture but also to evidence the most popular music of the day . Mambo exploded during the 1950 ‘s in the United States . This paper will discuss the dance itself and the musicians who created the music of the Mambo . Issues of culture and societal interaction all traverse in this beautiful form of movement .Beginnings The mambo was first danced in Cuba but its origins stretched around the globe . Mambo means “conversation with the gods ‘ and originates in spiritual songs from the Congo . There is also foundation in the English country danced the contradanse . It traveled from England to the French court to Spain . It was then carried to the colonies , Cuba in particular . As the European and African Slave cultures mixed , so did their styles of dance . The two created a unique form of movement based on sensuality and rhythmic expression . In the 19 century , the European stiffness of the dance was beginning to weaken . Street musicians began to improvise with the form and size of the ensembles that performed it . Charangas , small groups of musicians highlighting the sounds of the violin , clarinet , flute and percussion , formed to make musical creations called danzons . These danzons created the foundation of the music played for the Mambo .Orestes Lopez was credited with producing the first piece called a Mambo . After World War II , Mambo ‘s popularity exploded . One of the first popular musicians was Parez Prado . “Prado has been nurturing the mambo since 1942 when he tired of just playing piano for the renowned Casino De La Playa and orchestras in Cuba and turned to writing . In 1947 , Prado moved to Mexico City and soon caused more excitement in that country than anyone since Pancho Villa (Salazar )New York 1950 ‘s New York served as the “hey day ‘ for the dance and its music . It was heard in ballrooms throughout the city as bandleaders competed for the best dancers . One of those venues was the Palladium .“The Mambo craze gripped New York City . All the great Latin music ,musicians and dancers could be found congregating in one place – The Palladium dance hall on 53rd and Broadway . It was called the Home of the Mambo (Feuerstein ) The Mambo shown being performed in the dance halls of New York in West Side Story evidences this . New York ‘s culture and the exceptionality of each of its boroughs helped drive the mambo scene . Musicians such as…

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