MAMBO VS. HUSTLE
KISSING COUSINS
BY: ANGEL RODRIGUEZ
NEW YORK CITY


In recent years the controversy about Salsa or Mambo vs Hustle has greatly intensified. To add fuel to the fire, In comes Razz M' Tazz who incorporates Hustle, Jazz, Mambo, and Ballet. Hence, bringing new meaning to Salsa/Mambo. In order to understand and appreciate the difference in these cousins we must identify the similarities, and respect the origin. I consider myself blessed because I have had the good fortune to be taught by the best and have managed to create by own style while remaining true to the origin and makeup of the dance.



While watching the Hustle USA open recently, I saw that the performers who had a strong Salsa/Mambo background had more zing then the hustle dancers. This could not be said of those who danced in the 70's. The hustle dance was Dynamic and came out of mambo swing and ballroom influence for people such as Augie and Margo the great Latin dance team who in-turn were the influence for other teams like the Dance Dimension. George Vascones was my greatest inspiration, I fondly recall his positive thoughts, as he would say, "Angel you can be the best because you dance without limits and combine both Mambo and Hustle to create a new style".

I taught this different style to many dancers and take pride in having taught most of the professional dancers in New York City at one time or the other. It is no wonder that the main mambo instructors in New York continuously try in emulate the Razz M' Tazz system.

For years there was a misconception that a Hustle dancer could not dance Mambo and a Mambo dancer cannot dance Salsa because of the difference in theories and timing. It is my integration of both that has created a New York style that will survive forever.

One of my early recollections is when the then young prince of mambo suggested that I was dancing hustle and not salsa. He said that in real mambo there was no trick lifts or dips and the turns didn't look that way.

Mr. Ralph lew once jokingly said, "Hustle was invented in the Bronx by some little Puerto Rican that did Salsa to American music". I believe it was George Vascones who along with the Latin symbolic paved the way for today's dance kings. George helped train many dancers in New York and had the first organized Latin Dance Company. George taught dancing on one & two and made sure you went back and forth on the beats, which creates a polish look with the mambo jazz from the ball room system. This is now what people call shines. In Razz M Tazz we call this Freestyle. Most people don't know the history behind the phrase "shines" which came from the nickname given to shoe shine boys who tapped in the 50s and 60s for a nickel.

Mambo turns came from the Caribbean as well as from the Savoy ballroom where people like Sonny Allen were doing the swing and adding their turns to mambo. I was performing Salsa and Mambo shows while still performing Hustle shows for people such as Machito and his Orquestra.

Razz M' Tazz's Mission is not to leave the dancing to the professionals but to make professionals out of every dancer. One of Razz M' Tazz's rule (or quote) to live by is "Free your Soul". We at Razz M' Tazz live by this quote because to "Free your Soul" is to free yourself of any negativity or close mindedness that would in any way stun your growth. Ironically, It is the same dancers that criticized our style that are flocking to our Workshops, to see our Shows or Performances and are buying our Instructional Videos to learn the system that's causing Waves in the Sea of Dance.

Let's clear something up!. Hustle and Mambo are the parents of today's Salsa. Our new Salsa is a mixture of Plena and ballroom mambo tossed in with about a hundred turns, a good measure of Hustle, Latin jazz and a whole lot of new found energy.

"So Free Your Soul"

"It's a Mambo/ HUSTLE Thing"

Salsa