Do you dance? Cultural fun for the brave….

On Friday I taught levels 1-3 how to Mambo.  I’ll be honest, I used to do it every year but as Freshmen, my juniors were very easily distracted and my sophomores were… well, hard to handle we’ll say!!! 🙂  This year my freshmen are so good that I seriously think the good Lord is paying me back for living through the previous two classes and loving them in spite of their wily ways.  LOL ….. soooooo…. I decided to resurrect the Mambo.

At first I was going to limit to the Freshmen but then I felt guilty leaving the older kids out so I just taught everyone.  The lesson went like this: Discussion in Spanish of what dancing is like here and in Spanish speaking countries followed by a listen through of the song we were going to be dancing to.  I gave them two versions of Rie y Llora (sorry no accents)… One by Justo Lamas and one by Celia Cruz.  When they had heard both, we discussed which version they preferred and why.  Then I gave them a lesson in Mambo.

It is so easy!  If you have any rhythm at all you can do this!!!  Practice at home in the mirror before you go to class but if you sell it with your huge enthusiasm, they can’t help but get into it!  We started just feet, then added hips, and finally hands…  I let them try with a partner too!  We danced to Justo’s version because it is a little slower but then I let Celia’s version play and we tried to keep up!

There were about 10 minutes left in class and they had been sooooo good that I pulled out a song we found on our last trip to Spain.  It was pretty hard to find but FINALLY on iTunes I did.  It’s called Follow the Leader by La Banda del Diablo.  It is mostly Spanish but there is a little Spanglish in there too.  🙂  I had them stay in the Mambo circle and I got in the middle.  When the singer said Follow the Leader Sigame..Sigame… I did a crazy dance that they had to imitate (think lawnmower, sprinkler, chachacha, crazy dance grabbing my foot and moving knee back and forth… LOL You have to have very little shame to go there…) then in the song it gave directions of what to do and they LOVED it!  It is such a fun song!

If you want Mambo lessons, I’ll make my daughter record me and we’ll post it on FB or you could also look there for a professional (which I am NOT!)

Author: senoracmt

I began teaching Spanish in Illinois in 1994. I have taught levels 1-4 in a small rural high school, 8th grade introductory Spanish, Biology 1, and 101 and 102 at the community college level. My Spanish classes are partnered with the community college to offer students 8 semester hours of dual credit on completion of Spanish 4. In 2011 I met Carol Gaab and Kristy Placido and have since co-authored the book "La hija del sastre" with Carol Gaab and authored the novels "La Calaca Alegre", "Bianca Nieves y los 7 toritos." "Vector," "48 horas","Bananas", "Sostenible", and "Papálotl" through Fluency Matters. In 2006 I became National Board certified and I have been serving as a mentor both for candidates seeking certification in world languages other than English and a virtual mentor for candidates in all certificate areas. I completed my Masters degree in Spanish education in 2011 and did my research on the use of Understanding by Design to create meaningful cultural units for the language classroom. I am a frequent presenter on this topic, please consider me if you are interested in a workshop on backward design. In 2013 I was named the ICTFL Foreign Language teacher of the year and in 2014 I was selected as CSCTFL's teacher of the year. In November of 2014 I was lucky enough to be one of the five finalists for the ACTFL National Teacher of the Year in San Antonio, TX. What a "Cinderella" experience! You can reach me via email at senoracmt at

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