Palladium Mambo, Palladium Era Mambo Dancers - Keeping the History Alive
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Peter Casciano/Mambo Pete

1927–2002

Mambo Pete
Mambo Pete Dancing at Palladium Contest circa 1951

Peter Casciano was an Italian-American amateur dancer at the Palladium known as “Mambo Pete.” He was a frequent entrant in the Palladium contests before joining the Navy in 1951. Serving aboard the USS Antietam, Peter was known to give mambo dance exhibitions on board and on shore leave. Letters from his friends while he was in the Navy reveal that they also enjoyed dancing mambo at the Cascade Gardens in Brooklyn, Sunnyside, and El Mambo on Long Island. After serving in the military, Mambo Pete worked as a longshoreman in Brooklyn. He continued to enjoy mambo music and dance throughout his life. In the 1970s, on Sunday mornings while Peter's wife Grace cooked up the traditional Italian pasta dinner, he'd prepare for church by shaving and simultaneously dancing to the sounds of the “Sunday Salsa Show,” hosted by Roger Dawson on New York's WRVR. According to his son, “his passion was dancing. He had no hobbies. He loved to dance. That was all we knew. He loved Latin music, in particular the mambo.” His family inscribed the words “Mambo Pete” under his given name on his gravestone.

© Juliet McMains 2014

Sources:

This information was relayed to me during a telephone conversation with Richard Casciano, son of Peter Casciano, January 10, 2014.


 
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Header photos: Mambo Aces (Aníbal Vázquez and Mike Vázquez) and Jackie Danois Website Design: Wren McMains, Additional Credits