Michael Terrace

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Michael Terrace (born Michael Santiago Gutierrez; December 31, 1926 in Spanish Harlem, New York City) is a retired ballroom and Broadway stage dancer, choreographer, actor, dance consultant, and writer.[1] His stage and subsequent dance career spans a total of 60 years, during which he's made innumerable contributions to ballroom dancing. Terrace played Bernardo in West Side Story with the national company and was picked out of 2,500 ballet dancers[citation needed] to be at the Metropolitan Opera House[which?] with the Bolshoi Ballet Company of Russia.[citation needed]

Terrace is particularly associated with the film Dirty Dancing (1987). His stories of the formative years of the mambo in the Catskills inspired Eleanor Bergstein's vision of lead character Johnny Castle (played by Patrick Swayze).[citation needed]

Terrace met and married Elita Cleveland and formed the dance team Terrace & Elita.[citation needed] Some of the original "Mambo-niks", Michael and Elita, were regulars in the Palladium Ballroom dance competitions and helped to bring the Mambo craze to mainstream America. They worked closely and often with legends such as Tito Puente, Machito, Sammy Davis, Jr., Harry Belafonte and many other stars of the 1950s and 1960s.[citation needed]

As of 2007, Terrace lives with his wife in Fort Lee, New Jersey, where he is writing stories about the Mambo and his time at the Palladium. His wife Elita is an artist and sculptor. They still go dancing twice a week.[citation needed]