Remember the scene from Jim Carrey’s The Mask where Carrey escapes the police by donning a frilled shirt and singing, “They call me Cuban Pete / I’m the King of the Rumba Beat / When I play my maracas I go chick-chicky-boom, chick-chicky-boom?” Well, Desi Arnaz popularized the Latin rumba tune “Cuban Pete” back in the 1940s, but he actually conferred the title on another man in 1949: Pedro Aguilar. Aguilar was a prize-fighting boxer-turned-dancer, whose moves in the ring translated so well onto the floor that he became a legend. As Cuban Pete, the dancer, Aguilar became the “King of the Mambo Beat,” developing over 100 steps, choreographing for films (including Mambo Kings), and becoming a master of la clave (the five-note pattern that governs the rhythm of all types of salsa music). Now, seven decades later, Aguilar is still shaking his tail feather alongside dance partner Barbara Craddock. But they’re not keeping all that Latin know-how to themselves. Instead, the pair (now living in Miami) instruct weekly at Dancer’s Dream (7909 Pines Blvd, Pembroke Pines). If you’re down to learn the mambo, you could never have a better teacher than Pete, nor a better price: $40 for a group lesson. Class starts Saturday at 2 p.m. Call 954-966-3838.
Saturdays, 2008
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John Linn