A Dance Giant
He had Errol Flynn's good looks and the dance grace of Fred Astaire, rolled into one. Danny's drive and love for dance was second to none. I had the pleasure of performing with Danny & Lisa Nunziella and getting to know this dance giant.
Just weeks ago, we were corresponding, and in the early stages of writing his biography, a Spotlight feature for DanceTalk, prior to his passing.
Along with other dance greats, I will share with you the fond memories we have of our friend, Danny Llaurado.
His hustle career started back in the early 70's, pre-Saturday Night Fever and the hoopla. He was a high energy hustle "street" dancer. He quickly began to hone his craft, creating his own distinct style and dramatic look. For five years, Danny partnered with Carol Famigletti. They became a very popular dance team and collectively joined forces with Floyd Chisholm and his partner Annette. Together they formed an exciting dance troop - "The Disco Dance Connection," They were booked six nights a week at the premier New York Supper Clubs. The shows would feature four couples performing: group numbers, solo spot light dances along with two female singers. Along with Danny & Carol, Eddie Espinosa with his partner Barbara would tour Paris for a month. As a troop member, Danny's relationship with fellow dancers extended beyond just business, they became a brotherhood. Nelly Cotto, Ricky Quintana, Lee Rofrano, Deano 'Dino' Georgio, Jean Camaletti, Gina Figueroa and Lisa Nunziella.
In addition to competing in contests, Danny and Carol would dance back up for Pop singer Patrick Hernandez (Born to Be Alive) and perform on weekends at Plato's Retreat. Eventually, the dance troop lost ground and disbanded.
Danny would continue to perform with new partner Maria Torres. But things heated up when he joined forces with long time friend Lisa Nunziella. The dance relationship clicked - combining two great talents. Together they would compete and perform all over the country. They rose to the semi-finals on the televised Dance Fever show and would display a ground breaking double' along with Deano 'Dino' Georgio and Sandra Rivera on the syndicated TV show "Star Search."
Recognized for his creativity, Danny built on ideas but gave them a new twist, taking lifts and tricks to a new level. His ability to thrust his partner high into the air, as she executed a triple, then catch her effortlessly with a smile on his face was..... electrifying.
After achieving so much via his dance, Danny started a new chapter in his life.
He was the manager of Pierre Michelle Saloon in Manhattan. He recently purchased a home in upstate NY. After persuasion from long time friend Deano Dino" Georgio, Danny agreed to reflect back upon his dance career with me. We never completed our discussions.
Danny touched so many friends in our dance community and helped raise the hustle bar. He will be sadly missed by so many and never forgotten.
Danny was only 46 years old.
We send our condolences to his family and many friends.
Danny was a wonderful partner and friend as well. I'll always cherish those memories as some of the best of my life.
I'm very grateful for all the years we had together.
- Carol Famigletti
I was shocked to here the news....Danny was a wonderful partner and caring friend. He was funny and witty, we had a great time dancing together. We competed and traveled the world performing. He will not be forgotten. He was a true professional....
- Lisa Nunziella
Danny was one of the innovators that basically invented the hustle as we know it today. Our friendship was always first and the dancing came after ... we were really a close group.... All of us, from the 70's dance group are devastated by this huge loss.
- Mike Babbino