Sometime, probably starting in 1940 with the Carmen Mirnada flick Down Argentine Way and getting carried all the way through to Ricky Ricardo from I Love Lucy, there was a surge of Latin/South American influence in American culture. Of course, most of it got dumbed down or twisted around - a tutti-frutti hat does not make one a Samba Goddess, banging dumbly on a pair of congas does not make one Chano Pozo. Most of the soul of Latin American culture got sucked out of it when it came here, like the Cuban method.

'Dance, the Arthur Murray way!' That's the way that many Americans learned to dance. Now, anyone can dance. Really. And you don't need to follow a few footprints in the floor to learn. But Mr. Murray felt it necessary to simplify dance for everyone, so he distilled the sinuous gyrations of Latin American dancing (Samba, Mambo, et. al.) to a simple eight steps. Out to the right, back, out to the left, back, now wasn't that easy? Now try it again, and move your hips this time. That's the 'Cuban method'.

But dance is a mindset, not a series of steps. And contrary to popular belief, these eight steps were not all that Latin America had to offer. Imagine, if you will, a bunch of pinks moving their feet (and only their feet) pseudo-rhythmically to a beat, all tight-laced and unfunky, and calling it 'dance'. But it was popular; the term survives to this day, and anyone can find an Arthur Murray Dance Studio in a close city and learn to do the same vapid steps with the same lack of joy that their forebears did them with.

I copped his style, now I send you to the master, pingouin, and his writeup in What song would you want to sing if you can sing?. Same idea. Anyone can dance.

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