Ra-lph Lew - Hustle / Disco WCS + Salsa


Ra-lph Lew -
by Ron Bess



Disco 101, - Ra-lph Lew' ( Ral' ff  Lou')
He is a mover and shaker in the dance industry.
If he isn't producing music, he is busy running a dance weekend or developing the opening show for a headline act. Welcome to the crazy world of Ralph and Lucile Lew. The quantity of shows and work he received was incredible. For many dancers, he gave them the opportunity to perform multiple times a week, year after year.
In 1951, Ralph joined the army. While with the service in Germany,  he coordinated dance shows. When he returned to the USA, he worked at Grossingers and the Pines Hotels (Catskills, NY) teaching dance lessons and performing. It was like a scene out of "Dirty Dancing."
In 1957 he began teaching for Tony & Lucille at their studio on 57th street. He then set up shop on his own. Make way for the "Ra-lph Lew Hustle Factory" located in Brooklyn.
In the mid 70's, the NY Daily News dropped their financial support for the "Harvest Moonball" Competition, (the major sponsor). This was by far, the longest running and nationally recognized competition in the country. When it appeared that the HMB competition was down and out, Ralph helped spear head & coordinate the revival of this prestige event. After successfully re-igniting this historical competition, he then recommended adding  the "hustle" to the agenda.
Ralph and Lucille continued to dance with their company and introduced the hustle to the  hundreds of night clubs, studios, country clubs and hotels all over the tri state area. While producing music for Mericana Records, Ralph befriended Vince Montana, Jr. Vince asked Ralph and his dance company to join him  for what would become the famous launching of  "Vince Montana Jr. The Salsoul Orchestra" at Radio City Music Hall. What an event. Ralph brought along the darlings of Hustle, Floyd Chishom and [[Nelly Cotto]].
Over the years, wonderful teams performed with him including: [[Derrick Allen]] & Lilia, Billy & Sandra, [[Mark James]], [[Jeff Shelley]] & Donna Shelley, Ray Bogart & Kathy, [[Kenny Gonzales]], Billy & Annabel,  Ron & Lisa, [[Roberto Pagan]], [[Eddie Vega]], [[Rufus Dustin]], Bobby & Lynn, Denise & [[George Velazquez]] , [[Mark James]] and the Latin Symbolics.
On any given night they could be opening  for Tony Bennett, Eddie Fisher, Lannie Kazan, Lou Rawls, Jackie Mason, Mark Anthony, Henny Youngman, Sal Richards, Tito Puente & his Orchestra, India,  Anthony Newly or Celia Cruz.
At 72 years young, Ralph along with his better half Lucille,  throw some of the greatest dance weekends, bar none. This year will mark their 25th anniversary year.
In fact, they were the first to initiate a Hispanic dance weekend, "Salsa in the Catskills."
As a choreographer, he could combine elegant sets with spectacular costumes, wonderful dance routines, ranging from hip hop to dramatic theater arts. As the master of ceremonies he would add  a touch of  humor while the audience became spellbound by his dancers. Always on the cutting edge, Ralph has consistently under promised and over delivered.  We are very grateful for all that he has contributed to our Dance......
Ralph gave many of us the opportunity to perform live on stages thru out the country. He taught us valuable lessons in performing, working a stage, choreography, showmanship, professionalism and the most important lessons of all.... on life.

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