Las Vegas with Ramon Ros and his Group
During the time I worked in San Francisco at the Latin American supper club called La Fiesta, I was seen by Ramon Ros, a Latin American dancer who formed a group with four couples. He engaged me to dance as his partner in the show and arranged a booking in a Las Vegas Hotel known as The Last Frontier. This establishment was one of two Hotels in Vegas at the time featuring acts as entertainment for dinner guests.
I was acquainted with some of the other dancers from former contacts and we rehearsed congenially for about a week. I also performed two solo dances with the orchestra. These were set in between the group offerings to balance the program.
After this preparation, we traveled to Las Vegas on a night train which had no food service. Comically, some of the costumes we wore had leis of real peanuts which were to be worn during our dances. Some of us ate the peanuts as we really were hungry!
When we arrived at the Hotel Last Frontier in the morning, we enjoyed a substantial breakfast.
I was never really interested in dancing with a partner as I had a sense of the Spanish idiom as a solo form. Nevertheless I entered into the spirit of it and worked to learn the dance routines Ramon put together. We did a Samba and a Rumba and as I remember some form of Tango with all four couples using the stage at once.
During the time, it occurred to me to try to do my Farruca on a table and the management obliged and built one for me to perform on. The table was not more than 3 by 3 feet and presented a challenge of agility and some nerve to attempt such a stunt.
I regarded this as “very flamenco” and especially Spanish since I had heard of dancers doing this in Spain.
Years later, I did perform the Farruca on my own 2 by 2 feet table in concert. A movie I appeared in several years later filmed this dance and a clip of the sequence can be seen today on YouTube for all posterity!
All in all the gig was an experience and fun; but I never wanted to do a show like that again.