92-year-old World War II veteran becoming a dancing sensation in Richmond: ‘He’s a Casanova’

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'He's a Casanova. The girls love him'

With every step, turn and twirl, Angelo Ricco is living proof that age is just a number. He saw a lot of things serving his country decades ago, but the 92-year-old still possess more energy than most teenagers. Just catch a glimpse of him on the dance floor.

8News caught up with the dancing sensation at one of his favorite spots: Padow’s in Innsbrook. We found with every step, turn and twirl, the 92-year-old dancing veteran is proving age is just a number.

“It keeps me active, my legs moving and so forth,” Ricco says. Every Thursday evening you can find him dancing in the deli at Padow’s in Innsbrook. The Navy vet says he’s always loved to dance.

“That was my career in the Navy,” he explained. “I used to dance a lot when I was ashore.”

It wasn’t all fun and dance in the Navy, though.

“I was at Hiroshima four days delivering supplies to the four fellas that landed on Hiro,” recalled Ricco, who joined the Navy when he was just 17. “I got into the Navy because I had a fight in high school. This guy puts a pencil in my face, which I didn’t care for. So I slapped the pencil. It went flying across the room and we started to fight. 

“So, I wound up in the dean’s office getting bawled out so I said, well, I quit, I am going to the Navy.”

It was after his time in the Navy that the New Yorker moved to Richmond, where he’s since found friendship and community — particularly during weekly live music nights at Padow’s on Main Street in downtown Richmond.

One of those close friends is ‘Freddy C’ of the band Freddy C. and Company

“Angelo is my padrino, which is the Godfather,” ‘Freddy C’ said. “We met at the Italian club, we adopted each other. He’s my, as they say in Italian, paesan. 

That bond is mutual; Ricco feels the same way about ‘Freddy C.’

“Freddy will do anything for me and I will do anything for Freddy,” he said.

A veteran himself who served in the Air Force in Vietnam, ‘Freddy C’ plays at Padow’s twice a month.

Sidney Padow, who has been working at Padow’s for 62 years, started up the live music about eight years ago.  His father started Richmond’s famous Padow’s chain back in 1936.

“The crowd is terrific. They’re older and they like going out. They just like to have a good time,” Padow said.

“This is a veteran outfit in here. There’s a lot of veterans, but Angelo is kind of special,” says Freddy C. “All girls love men who can dance. If you can dance, you always have a girlfriend.”

“Most of the time, the ladies come ask him to dance,” Padow said. “Angelo’s is a Casanova, a bocca buona … he is like Fred Astaire, and the girls love him.”

Ricco’s dancing isn’t limited to Padow’s; the 92-year-old also dances at the American Legion Post on Fridays and Saturdays as well. And he’s showing no signs of slowing down — he’s now also begun writing country music.

If you would like to check out Ricco or Padow’s live music nights, you can find a schedule of performers here. Next week, Chuck Parsons Trio performs on August 22. Freddy C and Company return September 5.

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