Happy very snowy February everyone! February is always a super special month as two of my greatest mentors were born on February 14, 1946. My mom Loretta (who celebrates her 80th this year!) and Mr. Gregory Hines, in whose memory “On Tap” was created. Here is a brief bio on Gregory.
“He was an actor, singer and a writer, but first and foremost, Gregory Hines was a dancer. Hines both popularized the art form of tap dance and stayed faithful to its unique history. A dancer for 54 of his 57 years, Hines had a unique ability to combine the aural and the visual, and is considered one of tap dancing’s greatest stars to date. He began tap dancing before he turned 3. A mere two years later, he turned professional, dancing with his brother Maurice as part of the Hines Kids, and later, the Hines Brothers. In “White Nights” (1985), he joined ballet star Mikhail Baryshnikov (my #2 mentor) to tell a tale of two rebel dancers struggling to escape the hold of the Soviet government in Moscow. The movie helped popularize both dance mediums. The 1989 movie “Tap” featured Hines and Sammy Davis Jr. as well as other famed dancers. Hines’ love of dancing reigned supreme and one of his other major achievements was a successful campaign to Congress to officially designate May 25, 1989, as National Tap Dancing Day. Congress declared tap dancing a “uniquely” American art form and selected the birthday of tap dancer Bill “Bojangles” Robinson (whom Hines later portrayed in a 2001 TV special) to commemorate tap. The resolution also notes Robinson’s contributions to breaking racial barriers. Hines continued to work almost up until his death from cancer on Aug. 9, 2003. He is remembered as one of the greatest dancers of all time, and his legacy lives on at the New York Public Library’s Gregory Hines Collection Of American Tap Dance. The collection includes film, video, photographs and manuscripts chronicling the history of American tap dance.”
I will be forever grateful for the chance meeting with Gregory Hines I had in 2001 at OMSI in Portland. His taking the time to talk with me and encourage me to teach tap will always resonate within me. In his memory I choreographed “Bojangles”, which we enjoy in class often! Great movies to check out again and again,Bojangles and Tap!!
Here are your On Tap February 2014 notes:
1. Happy Tappy February Birthday to Victoria Hanson-Apollonia, Dolores Trussell, Danica Andresen, Connie Davidson, and Hallidae Hunt !! (If I missed your February birthday PLEASE let me know!) May this year be your tappiest!!
2. Dance Shows coming up in our area in February:
- Eugene Ballet “Scheghrazade” at the Elsinore Theater Saturday Feb. 8 7:30pm
- Dancing With your Salem Stars at the Elsinore Theater– Friday,February 14 7:30pm
- Alvin Ailey II at the Elsinore Theater- Thursday, February 27 7:30pm
3. Hamantashen cookie sales now being taken and volunteers needed! We have been known to tap in the kitchen while making these three cornered cookies! Work/dance sessions at Temple Beth Sholom in South Salem are Tuesday nights at 6pm and Sundays at 10am from February 18 to March 11. Please call or email me if you’d like to help roll and tap out the 500 dozen cookies!
That’s all for now. I’ll keep you posted as more dance developments come our way!
Yours in Tap,Stacey