of the Mambo Is Bruising Some Toes
by Mireya Navaro, New York Times
September 3, 2000
Kate Shanley and Humberto Lopez met
in a nightclub with starfish on the walls
and a pulsing Latin beat in the air.
They caught each other's eye immediately
-- she of the long blond hair, white
pants and rabbit fur top; he of the orange
shirt and handsome dark looks.
A song was starting and he asked her
to dance. She said yes and they locked
bodies in the semidarkness.
Then they bumped knees. Then they pulled
in different directions. Then the song
became interminable. When it was over,
they spent time talking but did not dance
''It was a total mess,'' said Mr.
Lopez, 23, a waiter from Queens. ''It
was kind of a disaster,'' agreed Ms.
Shanley, 44, an advertising sales representative
who is also from Queens.
Ms. Shanley was dancing ''on 2,'' known
as New York-style mambo, in which the
first long step, known as the break step,
comes on the second beat and there are
no pauses. Mr. Lopez was dancing ''on
1,'' the style favored by many mambo
dancers in which the first long step
comes on the first beat, and the dancers
pause on the fourth and the eighth beats.
The encounter occurred two months ago
in Miami, but it could have taken place
on any dance floor in any Latin club
these days. Call it the mambo wars. »
Photo by Meredith Davenport
for the New York Times
in the "on 2" style, based