Jorge Riva

alermo was born at the Boca, in the same neighborhood where Benito Quinquela Martín and Don Juan de Dios Filiberto found their inspiration, but his childhood and youth were spent in Palermo, "neighborhood of tango and milonga".

Since early age he evidenced, his inclination for dancing. His father "El Lecherito", a dancer of tango milonga (together with the "Tarila" were the best dancers in Villa Crespo) discovered the early vocation of his son, understanding that he was born for dancing. He spent his childhood days listening on the radio to all the orchestras which he recognized as his teachers.

His days as child and teenager were devoted passionately to dancing, and so, with the passing of the years he is gaining facility, dexterity and experience, playing the different styles and rhythms of the orchestras in their varied ways, shaping himself his character as interpreter.

At the Academia Nelson that he frequented, he drew Profesor Orlando´s attention when he discovered Palermo´s ability, he expressed: «If this kid finds a partner, I´ll bet on him against everybody». It was a time when El Tarila, El Méndez and El Cachafaz danced.

Palermo began to be aware of his own value when he appeared in several of the principal dancing rooms in the neighborhood of Palermo. There he won the nicknames of: "Tango Argentino" and "El Dividido". This nickname calls for an explanation: waist upwards means nowadays, waist downwards, the "900".

On several occasions the public, touched, stopped dancing to watch Palermo´s dance, because he had already achieved shine and fame as tough, daring and witty, a fact that the owners of an important ballroom realized and soon hired him. So in 1942, Palermo made his debut at the "Palermo Palace" salon with the Ángel D'Agostino orchestra and with Carmen Calderón as dancing partner. His success was so amazing that, to attract people´s interest, many times his appearance was announced even though he was not playing.
With his first partner (1943)
At a party organized to be held in the courtyard of his house on Billinghurst and Melo streets, an old styled quartet played. It was lined up by Robertino Acosta on bandoneon; Magrini on violin; El tano (the Italian) Vicente on flauta; El gallego (the Spaniard)Fernández on guitar (the same one that had played with Eduardo Arolas) and "El tano Roque" from Avellaneda as dancer, who made a show.
Palermo, a fan of the old stream, did not dare to dance out of respect for the old folks, but everybody insisted on his dancing until his father told him: «Come on». That evening he was praised even by the musicians. Robertino Acosta said astonished: «This dancers has to be for Lopecito», alluding the commentator of picturesque traditions of Buenos Aires, Juan F. López. El Tano Roque agreed.
Although Lopecito could not believe that a little kid was able to be an interpreter of the "guardia vieja" (old stream), he is invited for a rendezvous at the cabaret "Singapur" on Montevideo Street, where the Manuel Pizarro orchestra was rehearsing to appear with "La Cabalgata del tango", at the Paramount cinema theater on Lavalle Street. He rehearsed with them, and was accepted. Then, Palermo danced with the Pizarro orchestra and El Tano Roque with the Cuarteto de la guardia. On their opening show they were a boom, to such an extent that, El Tano Roque, touched, told Lopecito: «Now I can die in peace. With this kid there is guardia for 60 years». Since then, Palermo went on dancing with the quartet of the old stream, as featured dancer, occupying the place that left for him the old dancer.
After splitting with Carmen Calderón, he appeared with this company in almost all the cinema theaters of Buenos Aires with the enthusiastic acclaim of the audiences before the novelty of this dancer "that knew all kinds of tricks". In fact, people saw him dancing: old stream style, canyengue, tang