History of Salsa/Mambo – Palladium Era – New York City

I was in the process of writing a brief history of Salsa. But NJN’s Imagenes has beat me to it with this 27-minute documentary that focuses on the Mambo Golden Era of the Palladium in New York City. The documentary is called “Golden Age of Dance” and it aired on Thursday, April 17, 2008 at 6:30 pm on NJN.

Our friends, the Swing Sabroso Orchestra, are featured at the end of the video along with members of New Jersey’s Cultural Explosion group and many other popular Salsa dancers.

Make sure you watch the full episode (27 minutes) because it is full of juicy videos and trivia. I broke down the video into three parts because of YouTube’s 10-minute limit.

The review in quotes below is from an email from our friend Tricia Dougherty.



“Golden Age of Dance” – PART 1

This episode is a 27 minute documentary showing Mambo dancing in New York City at the Palladium in the 1950s. Back then the night began with a free mambo lesson On 2 (hey, just like they do today at some places !) and continued until 4AM. Old footage was displayed of the famous dancers of that era. Their dance style was not quite as precise and polished as today’s dancers but it was fun to watch everyone doing their thing on the dance floor.

“Golden Age of Dance” – PART 2

The Ballet Hispanico dance company performed at the Joyce Theater in New York reliving the days at the Palladium. Each dancer was selected to play a certain “character” from the 1950s palladium days: the socialite, the married couple dance instructors, the underage girl, the hot Casanova, plus the neighborhood people and weekly regulars. And “playing the role of the big band at the Palladium is Ray Rodriguez and orchestra Swing Sabroso !”

“Golden Age of Dance” – PART 3

It was great ! Dancing to “Baila con Swing Sabroso”, side by side footage was shown on the screen of the black and white 1950s Palladium dance floor mixed in with the current Crystals dance floor showing identical dance moves and dress. Footage of the band at Crystals was mixed in with their music video. If you want to fast forward to the Crystals portion of the show, it is at the 3:40 minute mark of Part 3.

To view similar videos, please visit the Scarlet Mambo YouTube Channel

4 People have left comments on this post



» Anthony said: { Apr 21, 2008 - 08:04:32 }

Great find! Thanks for posting it on the a2s blog.

» Michelle said: { Apr 24, 2008 - 08:04:29 }

Dany, Thanks so much for finding this video. I really enjoyed watching Part 3. Go Scarlet Mambo go!

» Rumba Con Son said: { Oct 6, 2008 - 03:10:02 }

I was just doing some research on the history of Salsa in New Jersey when I came across your post and am I glad I did. Thanks for sharing that most excellent documentary. If you don’t mind, I think I’d like to do something similar on my site. If you think it’s appropriate, perhaps you can link to my site at http://www.rumbaconson.biz or my bosses site at http://www.rumbaconson.com If not, I completely understand.



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