Palladium Mambo, Palladium Era Mambo Dancers - Keeping the History Alive
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Mike VázquezMike Vázquez

September 21, 1929 –

Born Miguel Vázquez in Ponce, Puerto Rico, Miguel moved to New York in 1946. When he was released from the army in 1950, he started attending dances at the Palladium where he competed in the amateur mambo contest. After a year, Mike (his stage name) was invited to dance in the Palladium professional mambo shows, performing in five different two-man precision mambo teams between 1951–1983. Mike Vázquez formed his first professional partnership with Joe Vega in 1951. They danced together for a couple of years as the Mambo Jets, so named because of their fast footwork, especially showcased in the Cuban rumba which they danced in addition to mambo and cha cha cha. Mike’s next partnership was with Julio Sabater as the Mambo Gents. They danced together for a year, working for stints at New York’s Chateau Madrid and with Lionel Hampton in Chicago. Mike then teamed up with Enríque Crespo to dance for a couple of years as the Cha Cha Lads. After that partnership ended, Mike Vázquez reconvened the Mambo Gents with a new partner, Tony Costello. This partnership lasted for many years and included a tour of South America and performances with Xavier Cugat and Perez Prado, among many other stars of Latin music. Mike took a break from dancing with the Mambo Gents to fill in when Mambo Ace Joe Centeno fell ill. For a year or two, Mike Vázquez performed with Aníbal Vázquez as the Mambo Aces (photo is from this partnership). Mike then returned to the Mambo Gents to dance again with Tony Costello. When Tony decided to quit dancing to become a chiropractor, Mike Vázquez reunited with Enríque Crespo, with whom he continued to perform as the Mambo Gents. Enríque and Mike appeared in venues such as the Apollo Theatre. Mike Vázquez then moved to Florida and worked as a solo act on cruise ships out of Miami. He then moved back to New York to form his final partnership with Freddie Rios as the Salsa Aces, which lasted until 1983 when Mike Vázquez met his wife Ana and retired from show business.

© Juliet McMains 2012          

Sources: This information was provided to me by Mike Vázquez during an interview in Pembroke Pines, FL, September 11, 2007. Details were later confirmed during subsequent telephone and email communication.

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