The new documentary, Mambo Man, produced by Miami-based dancer and choreographer Barbara Craddock, recalls an era when dance was influencing culture and society in ways rarely seen since. A preview of the film is set for 3 p.m. Sunday, March 30, 2014 at the Norton Museum of Art, 1451 S. Olive Ave. in West Palm Beach.
The preview also includes a Latin dance performance by the Palm Beach Atlantic University Dance Ensemble as well as music by renowned percussionist (and Palm Beach County resident) Pablo “Chino” Nunez, who served as a consultant for the documentary, and produced and arranged all the original music for the film. The event is free with regular museum admission. For information, visit www.Norton.org. (A podcast featuring interviews with Craddock, Nunez, and others associated with the project is available at www.artsradionetwork.com.)
In the 1950s, something unique was happening at the Palladium dance hall on 53rd Street and Broadway in New York City not seen in other parts of the country. While distinctions in class and race were the norm at the time, teenagers from all backgrounds were drawn to The Palladium, which was the epicenter of the Latin dance craze called the mambo.Ask anyone who grew up in that area at that time and they’ll tell you their tales of sneaking out of the house, their dance garb hidden, to mambo late into the night led by dance legend Pedro “Cuban Pete” Aguilar and his partner. (Desi Arnez gave him the “Cuban Pete” moniker even though he was Puerto Rican.)
Miami-based dancer and choreographer Barbara Craddock, nationally known for her talent and passion for the mambo genre and clave-based Latin dance and music, was a longtime dance partner of “Cuban Pete’s” and vowed to carry on the late dancer’s legacy.
As executive producer of Mambo Man, she teamed with Luis Rosario Albert, second assistant director of Armistad (1997), Under Suspicion (2000), and El Cantante (2006), and Alan Tomlinson, an Emmy-award-winning television producer and documentary filmmaker.
Setting the stage for the screening, percussionist Nunez, who has worked with legendary figures such as Tito Puente, Celia Cruz, Johnny Pacheco, Marc Anthony, Ray Barretto, Willie Colon, and Ruben Blades, will perform Latin music, and members of the PBA Dance Ensemble will perform "Si Me Pudieras Amar,” a Latin dance piece choreographed by Craddock.
About the Norton Museum
The Norton Museum of Art is a major cultural attraction in Florida, and internationally known for its distinguished Permanent Collection featuring American Art, Chinese Art, Contemporary Art, European Art and Photography. The Norton is located at 1451 S. Olive Ave. in West Palm Beach, FL., and is open Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Closed on Mondays and major Holidays). General admission is $12 for adults, $5 for students with a valid ID, and free for members and children ages 12 and under. Special group rates are available. Admission is half price on Thursdays for everyone. West Palm Beach residents receive free admission every Saturday with proof of residency. Palm Beach County residents receive free admission the first Saturday of each month with proof of residency. For additional information, please call (561) 832-5196, or visit www.norton.org.