The Postal Service issued the 37-cent Let's Dance/Bailemos commemorative stamps in four designs, on September 17, 2005, in Miami, Florida, and New York, New York. Ethel Kessler of Bethesda, Maryland designed the stamps. This issue honors the contributions of Latino art to American culture by featuring images that showcase one of four popular dances on each stamp. Four Latino artists present their personal interpretations of the dances.
For the Merengue stamp, Rafael Lopez used a warm palette of colors, from red and orange to yellow and lime green, all suggesting the tropical sunlight and vegetation of the Caribbean islands.
Capturing motion in the billowing skirts of a salsa dancer, José Ortega used palm leaves to refer to salsa's tropical roots in the Caribbean, and a cityscape to suggest its New York City birthplace.
In creating his design for the Cha-Cha-Cha stamp, Edel Rodriguez juxtaposes the warmth of the dancers' suntanned skin and the sinuous line formed by their bodies with the coolness suggested by their white clothing and waving palm fronds.
Sergio Baradat evokes elegance in his design for the Mambo stamp. The red of a woman's dress offsets the nighttime purple and gold hues of the ambient light, while a drum-shaped moon seems to join the orchestra's saxophone and timbales.
Designer Ethel Kessler borrowed the dance-school convention of step patterns for the margins of the stamps. All descriptive texts and headers are in English and Spanish. Sennett Security Products printed 70 million stamps in panes of twenty in the gravure process.
Postal Bulletin (August 18, 2005/September 1, 2005)
Scott Catalogue USA: 3939
Copyright United States Postal Service. All rights reserved.
Museum ID: 2006.2002.459