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The Mamboniks
Southampton Arts Center
Southampton, NY
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During the 1950s, free-spirited, mostly
Jewish dancers from New York City
fell head over heels for the mambo, a
hot dance from Havana, Cuba. Their
love for Latin rhythms earned them
a nickname: the mamboniks like the

Directed by Peabody Award winner
Lex Gillespie, The Mamboniks tells
a surprising, little-known story: how
two cultures, Jewish and Latin, met
on the dance floor at a time when
America was racially segregated, and
anti-Semitism was commonplace.

It features a lovable, somewhat zany
group of characters, now retired yet
still dancing in Florida, who spin their
tales with heart, humor and chutzpah.

Set to the infectious Afro-Cuban
sounds of Tito Puente and Celia Cruz,
the film traces the mambos rise from
its birth in Cuba, to the peak of its
popularity in the neon-splashed New
York of the 1950s.

We travel to Havana with mambonik
Marvin Marvano Jaye, who last
visited the island in 1959, when
dancers performed as the bombs of
Fidel Castro and his revolutionaries
echoed in the streets.

For many mamboniks, the affinity
for Latin sounds was more than just
pure fun: in the years after World War
II, dancing helped Jews banish the
horrors of the Holocaust and find joy
once again.

Mad Men meets Buena Vista Social
Club in this surprising story about the
dancers who fell in love with Cuban
Mambo in the 1950s, sparking a dance
craze that swept the nation and the

The Mamboniks is the first documentary
to tell the story of the musical and dance
invasion that came from Cuba in the
years preceding Fidel Castro and the
Cuban Revolution of 1959.

89 MIN: 2019
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Southampton Arts Center (View)
25 Jobs Lane
Southampton, NY 11968
United States



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