You are here

Spinning Mambo into Salsa: Caribbean Dance in Global Commerce

Spinning Mambo into Salsa
Spinning Mambo into Salsa
McMains, Juliet. Spinning Mambo into Salsa: Caribbean Dance in Global Commerce.  Oxford University Press, 2015.

This history of salsa dance focuses on its evolution in three major hubs for international commercial export—New York, Los Angeles, and Miami. The book examines how commercialized salsa dance in the 1990s departed from earlier practices of Latin dance, especially 1950s mambo. Topics covered include: generational differences between Palladium Era mambo and modern salsa; mid-century antecedents to modern salsa in Cuba and Puerto Rico; tension between salsa as commercial vs. cultural practice; regional differences in New York, Los Angeles, and Miami; the role of the Web in salsa commerce; and adaptations of social Latin dance for stage performance. Throughout, salsa dance history is linked to histories of salsa music, exposing how increased separation of the dance from its musical inspiration has precipitated major shifts in Latin dance practice. Based on over 100 oral history interviews, archival research, ethnographic participant observation, and analysis of Web content and commerce, the book is rich with quotes from practitioners and detailed movement description. Check out an interview about the book at:

People Involved: 
Status of Research or Work: 
Research Type: