Lee Rofrano - Hustle / Disco WCS + Salsa

Lee Rofrano -
by Ron Bess

As a young teenager, Lee would take the train from Brooklyn to Manhattan to frequent the high energy Discotheques. This started a journey, that would take her to the top rung of the disco ladder, but by age 19, she would walk away from it all.

At the young age of 15, Lee Rofrano met Ricky Quintana while dancing at Club Ipenema. "I would sneak on the train and get to the club before 11:00PM to beat the cover charge." Lee and Ricky's romantic relationship soon took a turn towards serious dance competition. Each was a gifted dancer but they had to synchronize their talents. They would rehearse at home then compete at local dance contests. "We won some and lost some." As they began to hone their skills they met Floyd Chisholm and Nellie Cotto. Floyd was putting together a dance troop and invited them to join forces. For three years, they would tour and perform with Floyd & Nellie, Eddie Espinosa & Gina Figueroa and Danny Llaurado & Carol Famigletti. "The group was the best, we really had a great time," Lee remembers.
All along, Lee and Ricky would continue to compete and perform. Their first television appearance was on New York's "Soul Alive" dance show. The show revolved around a weekly dance contest where couples, representing different NY/NJ clubs, battled for first place recognition.
Lee remembers, "a long TV taping and working under hot lights for hours. But it was a great learning experience."
After winning the preliminaries in NY, they were eligible to represent the big apple on the syndicated television show "Dance Fever." Only a year prior, their good friends, Floyd and Nellie shocked the country with their ground breaking hustle routine, which they performed on The Merv Griffin Show. Now, Ricky and Lee would add a page to that book and introduce classic adagio moves including: over head lifts, the back roll down and the magical snake maneuver. Her nude-style costume had the television staff biting their nails? They had her do a special dress rehearse before taping the hit show. "They were afraid something might pop out," a laughing Lee reminisce. Ultimately, they would win the first round and go onto the "Dance Fever" semi - finals.
After winning a prestigious contest at Regine's Night club in NY, they were selected to perform in the motion picture "Can't Stop the Music," featuring the Village People.
They also caught the eye of popular singer, Patrick Hernandez, and joined him on his tour to become his opening act. Hernandez was at the top of the charts with his hit single, "Born to be Alive." In addition, they performed weekends at "Plato's Retreat," an infamous Adult leisure club in the city.
But with four years into this non-stop dance world, Lee said good bye. "I didn't want to dance anymore." "Ricky had a life long goal to dance, this was his dream. I started dancing as a baby, I loved to dance but I slept late and danced all night for four years. I didn't want to do that the rest of my life."
Ricky would move on to new partners and stay active in the dance scene but Lee needed a change and moved back to Brooklyn, her home town.

Today, she recides in Staten Island and works for Cohen Brothers Real estate in the city. Two days before the attack on the world trade center, Lee was married (for the first time) in Las Vegas. Still friends with long time dancer Michael Babbino, she loves to look back on her greatest teenage memories, that of her dance years.

She was fortunate to rise to the top of her craft at only 17 years old - when the country was in a disco dance craze and the competition was at its peak.
Lee gets out to dance but reluctantly is not a regular. She really gets a thrill when someone spots her. "I remember the time I walked into Dancesport and Carl Charles exclaimed, look who is here, A blast from the past."
Truly one of the more exciting dancers, Lee, had a positive influence on many others to follow her. She helped introduce a new style of the hustle to dance enthusiasts all over the country. Her showmanship and dare devil moves literally took your breath away. She has left an indelible contribution on our dance and a warm impression in our hearts.

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