Pedro "Cuban Pete" Aguilar, passed away at the age of 81 in Miami, Florida. Cuban Pete grew up in New York's El Barrio (Spanish Harlem) and made his mark in the Latin dance world at the dawn of the mambo craze, in New York's famous Palladium Ballroom, and from there vaulted to international prominence. Known as the "King of the Latin Beat," "Mr. Mambo," and the "Prince of the Palladium," he invented scores of dance movements and hand embellishments now viewed as standards of Latin dance. He served as a catalyst for social change in the entertainment and social arenas by being the first "man with a tan" in the U.S.A. to dance with a white woman on the stage. It happened in 1951, when he danced with Millie Donay at the Palladium, ushering in the racial and ethnic integration of the dance floor.
In his multi-decade career, he performed in movies, television and stage, and danced for North American presidents, foreign heads of state and other dignitaries. He also served as choreographer and consultant for the film "Mambo Kings." He adjudicated at many prestigious dance events worldwide, and was also regarded as a skilled lecturer on the history of Latin dance and music.
Along with Barbara Craddock, he helped make history in the preservation of "clave" by serving as...