11/6/17 O&A NYC DANCE: Bill Bojangle Robinson – Stair Dance from Harlem Is Heaven (1932)

The Stair Dance featured in Harlem Is Heaven (1932): one of the first movies to ever feature an all-black cast, this film also boasts one of the earliest recorded versions of Bill Robinson’s famous stair dance routine, where he tapped up and down two flights of five steps joined by a shared platform. Continue reading

7/16/17 O&A NYC SUNDAY AFTERNOON JAZZ CONCERT: Savion Glover – Newport Jazz Festival – 08/13/06 (Full Concert)

Savion Glover performs at the Newport Jazz Festival on August 13, 2006. 

Savion Glover – Full Concert – 08/13/06 – Newport Jazz Festival 

3/7/17 O&A NYC SHALL WE DANCE FRIDAY: Phyllis Hyman, Gregg Burge and Hinton Battle- It Don’t Mean a Thing! From Sophisticated Ladies

Tony Award nominated Phyllis Hyman performing Ellington classic It Don’t Mean A Thing From Sophisticated Ladies. She’s accompanied by Tony Award Winner Hinton Battle and Gregg Burge. Continue reading

1/25/17 O&A NYC WILDIN OUT WEDNESDAY: Jimmy Slyde Taps With George Benson On Guitar


Jimmy Slyde taps with George Benson on guitar and drummer Jo Jones. Continue reading

8/1/16 O&A NYC DANCE: Gregory Hines’ Tap Dance in America- Excerpt featuring

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Legendary Tap dancers Gregory Hines, Jimmy Slyde, Bunny Briggs, Sandman Simms performs during the 1989 PBS special Gregory Hines’ Tap Dance in America. Shot during rehearsal and performance at what used to be Billy Rose’s Diamond Horseshoe in New York, the special reunites cast members of previous Hines vehicles, including “Sophisticated Ladies” (the musical) and “Tap” (the movie). Continue reading

5/27/16 O&A NYC SHALL WE DANCE FRIDAY: Gregory and Maurice Hines

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Gregory and Maurice Hines, Harlem natives and child entertainers  were the sons of Alma Iola (Lawless) and Maurice Robert Hines, a dancer, musician, and actor. Maurice began his career at the age of five and Gregory at age two. Both studied tap dance at the Henry LeTang Dance Studio in Manhattan. LeTang recognized their talent and began choreographing numbers specifically for them patterned on the Nicholas Brothers. Continue reading

2/15/16 0&A NYC HOLLYWOOD MONDAY: Killer Diller (1948)

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Killer Diller starring The Clark Brothers (tap dancers), Nat King Cole, Moms Mabley, Dusty Fletcher, Butterfly McQueen, the Andy Kirk Orchestra, dancers from the Katherine Dunham School and the Four Congaroos (dancing Lindy Hop) was filmed in 1948 during the height of post war race films explosion. This all-black cast film, geared toward minority audiences, featured a cavalcade of African-American talent.  Continue reading

4/24/15 O&A Shall We Dance Friday: Bunny Briggs – Duke’s Dancer

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Bunny Briggs says he was born dancing: “When I finally faced the world my legs were kickin’. They let me loose, and I just started dancin’ . Just started right out dancin’. And been dancing ever since.” He was born on Lenox Avenue and 138th Street in Harlem, New York. At the age of three his mother took him to the Lincoln Theatre to see his aunt Gladys, who was a chorus girl. After seeing the dapper Bill Robinson perform at the Lincoln he rushed home to say, “Mamma, I want to be a tap dancer”. 

Bunny Briggs with Benny Carter Orchestra

After appearing at the Monterey Jazz Festival in 1960 with the Duke Ellington band, Briggs became known as Duke’s Dancer. Briggs became the chosen soloist in Ellington’s Concert of Sacred Dance, in David Danced Before the Lord, which premiered at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco (September 16, 1965). Dubbed by Ellington as “the most superleviathonic, rhythmaturgically-syncopated tapsthamaticianisamist”.

Bunny Briggs Performs Come Sunday from Duke Ellington’s Sacred Concert of Music

Briggs was nominated for a Tony Award in 1989 for his work in the Broadway show Black and Blue, he also appeared in the Gregory Hines film Tap in 1989. In 2002, Briggs received an honorary Doctorate of Performing Arts in American Dance by Oklahoma City University in 2002, honoring him as one of the nine doctorates of Tap Dance.

Dr. Bunny Briggs in Black and Blue

Shall We Dance Friday: John Bubbles- Cabin In The Sky

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Cabin in the Sky is a 1940 American musical with music by Vernon Duke, Lyrics by John La Touche, and a musical book by Lynn Root. The musical premiered on Broadway at the Martin Beck Theatre on October 25, 1940. It closed on March 8, 1941 after a total of 156 performances. It was directed by Albert Lewis and staged by George Balanchine. The Broadway production starred Ethel Waters as Petunia Jackson, Dooley Wilson as Little Joe Jackson, Katherine Dunham as Georgia Brown, Rex Ingram as Lucifer Junior, and Todd Duncan as The Lawd’s General. Continue reading