Honoring the contributions of Latin American culture the four stamps featuring dances trace their roots to the Caribbean islands. Showcasing one of four popular dances on each stamp, Latino artists have created designs that express their personal interpretations of merengue, salsa, cha-cha-chá, and mambo, using vivid colors and sinuous shapes to capture the energy generated by dancers moving to the beat.
As in all cultural developments, music and dance draw on the styles around them as they evolve. Perhaps nowhere is that more true than with salsa, which may owe its broad appeal to its broad embrace. Building on a foundation of Afro-Cuban music and dance, New York Puerto Rican, other Latino, and Anglo musicians-whose influences included jazz and rhythm and blues-adapted and re-worked the Cuban styles, such as mambo, son, and cha-cha-chá, to create a distinctly New York sound. That sound came to be called salsa in the late1960s. Since then, salsa has traveled very well. Latin American countries such as Colombia and Venezuela have created styles of salsa and recording industries based on the New York model. Musicians around the world, from Japan to Finland, Senegal to England, reinterpret salsa and blend in the flavors of their homeland. The arrival of Dominicans in New York since the mid-1960s brought merengue into the mix of Latino music and dance. With its cross-class appeal, this national dance of the Dominican Republic has also made its way around the world.