37¢ Let’s Dance
Issue Date: September 17, 2005
City: New York, NY
Printed By: American Packaging Corporation for Sennett Security Products
Printing Method: Photogravure
Perforations: Serpentine Die Cut 10.75
Latin-American dances developed from a mixture of native American, European, and African cultures. The mambo, for instance, came from the French contre danse and the Spanish contradanza (country dance), brought to French and Spanish Caribbean colonies in the eighteenth century. In addition, African slaves on the islands contributed their rhythms to these dances.
In the twentieth century, the tango was the first Latin dance to be introduced on European and North American dance floors. By 1912, it was so popular that elegant hotels invited their patrons to “tango teas.”
After World War II, the mambo became the rage in New York, coming north with Cuban musicians and tourists who had frequented Havana night spots. Dominican immigrants brought their national dance, the fast-paced merengue. People from Puerto Rico, Cuba, and Haiti brought their music and dances as well.
The cha cha, a version of mambo, became a favorite in night clubs during the 1950s. A faster and more dramatic style of Latin dancing, called salsa, started in the 1960s in Latin night clubs. The disc jockeys would call out, “Salsa, salsa!” (“Spice it up!”)
Aside from the basic steps, there are only two rules for Latin dances – have fun and keep the rhythm!