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|Date:||Thursday, December 2, 2021, 11:22 AM|
Tap Dance Legends
BoJangles Robinson and Shirley Temple
Bojangles Robinson – (1878-1949) was an American tap dancer and actor of stage and film. He started in Vaudeville and worked on Broadway for many years. It wasn't until after the age of 50 that he appeared in Hollywood movies. Here he stars in the 1935 movie The Little Colonel with Shirley Temple.
Shirley Temple – (1928) She started her film career in 1932 at the age of 3. In 1935 she was the number one box office star. Her signature hit On the Good ship Lollipop is known the world over. Her movie roles include Poor Little Rich Girl, Curly Top, and Heidi. In 1935 she made the movie The Little Colonel with Bojangles Robinson. Later in life she had a career in politics becoming the US Ambassador to Ghana and Czechoslovakia.
Busby Berkeley (1895-1976) was a highly influential Hollywood movie director and musical choreography. Berkeley was famous for his elaborate musical production numbers. The movie Gold Diggers was filmed in 1935 and is an example of show tap that is often found in musicals. This style of tap led to what is today known as Broadway style, which is popular in American culture. It often involves high-heeled tap shoes and show music, and is usually the type of tap first taught to beginners. Start the video at 1:53 and the dance section ends at 5:15.
The Nicholas Brothers - Fayard (1914–2006) and Harold (1921–2000). They appeared in The Cotton Club in Harlem New York at ages 16 and 9. With their highly acrobatic tap style they soon caught the eye of Hollywood appearing in many films such as Sun Valley Serenade and Stormy Weather. They inspired tap dancers Gregory Hines and Savion Glover. This clip is from the 1943 movie Stormy Weather is still amazing to watch after all these years.
Fred Astaire – (1899-1987) Fred and his sister Adele had an act together and soon moved to New York City. They began performing in New York and years later also in London. His sister, Adele, left the show business in 1939. Fred continued onto a motion picture career in Hollywood. He starred in movies such as: Top Hat and Easter Parade.
Gene Kelly – (1912-1996) Gene started dancing at his mother’s dance studio as a child. He was known as an athletic dancer and was primarily a tap dancer. He starred in Singing in the Rain, Pal Joey, and An American in Paris.
Gregory Hines – (1946-2003) Gregory Hines appeared in films such as The Cotton Club and White Knights, and Tap. He appeared on Broadway in shows such as Sophisticated Ladies, and Jellies Last Jam. He grew up virtually backstage at the Apollo Theatre in NYC performing with his brother. There he witnessed performances by many and great tappers such as the Nicholas Brothers and Sammy Davis Junior.
Start the first video at 5:20. This is a scene from the movie Tap with Sammy Davis Junior and Gregory Hines. This scene depicts a tap challenge and showcases rhythm tap.
The second video is a short video with Gregory Hines challenging Savion Glover in a rhythm battle of sounds.
Savion Glover – (1973) Savion made his Broadway depute at the age of 12 in the Tap Dance Kid. Additional Broadway credits include: Black and Blue, Jellies Last Jam, and Bring in the Funk, Bring in the Noise. In 1996 he won a Tony Award for his choreography in the Broadway smash hit Bring in the Funk, Bring in the Noise. On television he was a regular on Sesame Street. He also was the human tapping behind the animated feature "Happy Feet" which used motion capture technology to bring Savion's taps to mumbles feet.