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The Mamboniks

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.

Set to the infectious Afro-Cuban sounds of Tito Puente and Celia Cruz, the film traces the mambo’s rise from its birth in Cuba to the peak of its popularity in the neon-splashed New York of the 1950s when a group of free-spirited, mostly Jewish dancers fell head over heels for this new hot dance and received a nickname:  the mamboniks. 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. Still dancing today, this lovable, somewhat zany group of dancers tells the backstory of the trend that was immortalized in the movie Dirty Dancing.  Reception including live music by Primo Cubano follows the film.

This event is sponsored by OceanView at Falmouth.


Documentary / Dir: Lex Gillespie / 2018 / USA / 86 min


Washington DC Jewish Film Festival, Boca Raton Jewish Film Festival, Boulder Jewish Film Festival

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