Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Evacuate the dance floor – it’s Tony Ferrante!

By Meredith Deliso

You may know him as Tony Disco. Now get ready to meet Tony Mambo.
Gravesend resident Tony Ferrante made it to the small screen this past summer, showing off his dance moves on “American’s Got Talent” and making it as far as the finals.

Now, the 75-year-old retired barber is looking for his second shot at fame.
The dancer has been in talks with the “Talent” folks about another run, this time, breaking out his mambo moves.

After wowing over the crowd with his disco freestyle, set to Sylvester’s “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real),” in “Talent’s” last season (see clip below), Ferrante was called back before the judges again recently to audition for the next one. This time, he did a mambo number.

“One of the judges remembered me, says, ‘Oh, you’re back, how are you, you look sharp,” says Ferrante.

A natural performer, Ferrante doesn’t have any formal training, and he does all his dancing freestyle.

“No rehearsals, no choreography, everything I do comes natural,” says Ferrante. “My new steps now, I don’t know where I’ve got them from. It just comes to me.”
When his stage moved from Brooklyn to before a TV audience of millions, the pressure didn’t faze the Brooklynite one bit.

“When (‘Talent’ host) Nick Cannon asked me, ‘You’re not nervous?’ I said, no, I’m not nervous at all,” remembers Ferrante. “The more people I see the more I want to perform. For other people, it’s usually the opposite. I just love it.”

Before his TV debut, Ferrante honed his skill on the Brooklyn dance floors, tearing it up in Bay Ridge at places like the Greenhouse Café and Griswold’s Pub.

“Tony would come into my gigs at Griswold’s Pub years ago and with his flair for style, dress and dancing would catch everyone’s eyes,” says Frankie Marra, who fronts a Bay Ridge rock and roll band. “Tony is what Brooklyn is about — character. We are friends and he often comes to see me and I specifically pick songs out to highlight his unique dancing moves. As a lifelong Brooklynite, (I am) proud to have Tony represent us in any dancing contest.”

Since appearing on TV, Ferrante’s picked up some new fans too.

“I had a wild experience on 86th Street and Bay Parkway,” recalls Ferrante. “I walked into the store, and three teens walked in. One said, ‘You’re from America’s Got Talent. Oh my God!’ She was jumping up in the air.” Like a pro, he took a photo with them.

Ferrante’s hoping to get a call back from “Talent,” and, after catching the TV bug, is looking for more outlets. His girlfriend, Marianne Marciante (pictured above with Ferrante at Goodfella's), who encouraged him to audition for the show in the first place, has sent a video of Ferrante to Oprah. They may also contact another dancing fiend, Ellen DeGeneres. Though regardless of the outcome, he’s pleased with his success.

“God’s been good to me,” says Ferrante. “I’m very happy about this whole thing.”

Photo by Stefano Giovannini


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