Tap Legends

The ITA Website Tap Legends content is compiled from numerous sources across the Internet.  If you, as a valuable member or guest, notice that one of our precious rhythm artists is missing, or that our information is incorrect, please contact us.  We're only human but superhuman in our ability to remedy the situation immediately!  Well ...give us a few days.


** Please note that these are external links, and that the ITA is not responsible for the content.

Just click each photo (or) & watch these incredible artists at work.

Click on each name for biographical information.



Maceo Anderson [d. 2001]

One of the Four Step Brothers. 


Fred Astaire [d. 1987]

One of the most recognized tap dancers in the world!



Cholly Atkins [d. 2003]

Former partner of Honi Coles, master teacher

and choreographer for Motown Records.


 Bill Bailey [d. 1978]

First artist recorded doing what is now known as the "moonwalk."



Clayton "Peg Leg" Bates  [d. 1998]

Amazing one-legged tap dancer and Catskills resort owner.






 Warren Berry  [d. 1996]

Member of the Berry Brothers which worked for 30 years.



Bunny Briggs

One of the master tappers featured in the movie Tap! (also sings/plays piano);achieved greatness and stardom as "Duke Ellington's dancer." 





Eddie Brown [d. 1992]

Master tap dancer that used self-proclaimed "Scientific Rhythm." 



Ernest "Brownie" Brown [d. 2009]

of "Cook and Brown" and "The Copasetics."




James "Buster" Brown [d. 2002]

Seen in "Tap Dance in America" PBS special, in later years worked with many

young dancers and ran the Swing 46 tap jam in NYC.


Ralph Brown [d. 1990]

Cotton Club and big band tap dancer.


 "King" Rastus Brown  Early tapper know as "Mister Tap."










 Harriet "Quicksand" Browne  [d. 1997] - Famous for incredible sand dancing; shared bills with such jazz greats as Cab Calloway and Billie Holiday.




Ardie Bryant

Jazz tap dancer and master teacher.


 James Cagney [d. 1986]
  The "professional gangster" of film was also our Yankee Doodle Dandee in tap shoes.




Lon Chaney [d. 1995]

Influential, innovative tap dancer. Influenced by Baby Laurence and in turn influenced Savion Glover.




Honi Coles [d. 1992]

"Class Act" tap dancer, partner with Cholly Atkins.




Leon Collins [d. 1978] - on of the bebop tap dancers influential teacher.




Steve Condos [d. 1990]

Danced with his brothers in "The Condos Brothers" as well as noted for precision close work, "the rudiments."


Willie Covan - tap dancer and member of Four Covans during the Vaudeville era.





Harold "Stumpy" Cromer

Made his mark in numerous Vaudeville, Broadway and film productions as well as performing with James "Stumpy" Cross as Stump & Stumpy.








James "Stump" Cross - Of "Stump & Stumpy fame in Vaudeville and film.


Skip Cunningham - A tap dancer and master entertainer who has worked in virtually every venue of the show business industry for his entire life.










Louis DaPron [d. 1987] - Dancer and choreographer for film and television; influenced many contemporary dancers of today.




Sammy Davis, Jr. [d.1990]

Consummate song-and-dance man seen in the movie Tap! before he soon thereafter passed of cancer.


Doris Day - Achieved success as a big band singer, film actress, recording artist, and radio and television performer, Doris Day remains one of America's best-loved entertainers.


 Dean Diggins  - Classical tap dancer. Often performed Morton Gould's Tap Concerto.












 Paul Draper [d. 1996]

An innovative tap dancer of film and stage.




Arthur Duncan

One of the hoofers in movie "Tap!" and star of "Tap Heat" with Jason Samuels-Smith; performed on Lawrence Welk and still quite busy.



Buddy Ebsen [d. 2003]

While he was later a TV "Beverly Hillbilly" and detective, Buddy was an eccentric tap dancer, partnered with sister Vilma.


Vera Ellen [d. 1981]

Female tap dancer in films and Broadway




Will Gaines

Bebop tap dancer based in Brittain.



Leslie "Bubba" Gaines [d. 1997]

Noted tap dancer and leading member of the Copasetics. Need a good picture and video!


Al Gilbert [d. 2003]

Nightclub/theater performer, known as teacher and for his teaching method. MusicWorks, LLC carries the Al Gilbert Tap Syllabus and routines. Need a good picture and video!




Chuck Green [d. 1997]

Influential master tap dancer, part of Chuck and Chuckles.



Gregory Hines [d. 2003]
Tony award winning tap dancing actor who starred on Broadway as well as in many films including The Cotton Club and Tap. See also the NYPL and ATDF Gregory Hines Collection of American Tap Dance.




Foster Johnson - A  “paddle-and-roll”-style tap dancer who starred in Evolution of the Blues with Jon Hendricks and toured the world in the heyday of tap.



Stan Kahn

This master of classical tap taught in San Francisco for more than 45 years and is the developer of Kahnotation tap dance notation. Need a great video!



Ruby Keeler [d. 1993]

Early stage and film star of the movie 42nd Street.



Gene Kelly [d. 1996]

MGM dance star of movies such as Singin' in the Rain. Brother Fred, also a tap dancer and popular dance convention teacher.



William Henry Lane, aka "Juba"

Early tap dancer; many state one of the "first."



Baby Laurence [d. 1974]

Influential rhythm and improvisational dancer (1930's-'50s).


Mable Lee

Singer and dancer and performed solo work as well as being one of the Apollo Girls.


Jeni LeGon

Early female tap soloist. Partnered with Bojangles in film "Hooray for Love."


Hal Le Roy [d. 1985]

A young, tall, thin as a pole dancer that had a distinctive, dazzling, eccentric style that was acclaimed by audiences and dancers alike.



Henry LeTang [d. 2007]

Master teacher as well as Broadway and film choreographer. Need a great video!







Carnell Lyons [d. 1992]

A busy tap dancer who spent many of his years in Europe.  A member of "The Business Men of Rhythm" among other groups. Need a great video and picture (hint to Tap & Tray in Germany)!



Ann Miller [d. 2004]

Film tap dancer known for world record "machine-gun" tapping. 



Florence Mills [d. 1927] 

One of the greatest stars of the black theatre and the first black international female superstars. Sang and danced. Need a great video!


George Murphy [d. 1992]

Tap dancing film and Broadway star.



Frances Nealy - West Coast tap chorine with "stair dance" specialty. Need a great video!



Gene Nelson [d. 1996]

Film tap dancer, choreographer. Toured entertaining troops in WWII.


The Nicholas Brothers: Fayard and Harold

Harold Nicholas [d. 2000] / Fayard Nicholas [d. 2006]

Dancing brothers known for combining flash and class act tap dancing in several films.


Donald O'Connor [d. 2003]

Film tap dancer and comic actor. 




Hermes Pan [d. 1990]

Tap dancer and choreographer for Fred Astaire. A great influence on how tap is filmed. Need a great video!



Juanita Pitts (need information - email us now if you can help!)




Eleanor Powell [d. 1982]

Athletic Broadway and film tap dancer (Broadway Melody of 1938 (and 1940) and others).


Jane Powell

Film singer, actor and tap dancer.



Bill "Bojangles" Robinson [d. 1949]
The grandfather of American tap dance and namesake of the "Copasetics."



LaVaughn Robinson [d. 2008] 

Philadelphia tap dancer and master teacher. Need a great video!



Ginger Rogers [d. 1995]

Actress and dance partner of Fred Astaire in many classic MGM film musicals.



Pat Rooney - early influential clog/tap dancer.



Peggy Ryan [d. 2004]

Film performer partnering with Donald O'Connor and others.



Earl Maximillian Scoggins - From street to Vaudeville, stage and master teaching.




The Silver Belles

A leggy troupe of female dancers who drew crowds to Harlem's famous nightclubs and theatres, such as the Apollo Theater and the Cotton Club.




Howard "Sandman" Sims [d. 2003]

One of the great hoofers and actors in movie "Tap!" Well-loved by the community and long associated with the Apollo Theater in NYC.




Jimmy Slyde [d. 2008]

Big band "presentation" dancer beloved by many in the field.  Master host of the LaCave long-time jam event in NYC.




Prince Spencer

One of the Four Step Brothers.



Lloyd Storey
Began at the Apollo Theatre and went on to work with Bill "Bojangles" Robinson and found the Detroit based Sultans. Need a great video and photo!




John "Bubbles" Sublett  [d. 1986] 

Tap innovator that invented the "cramp roll" changing the vocabulary and timing of tap.


Tommy Sutton

Long-time tap dancer and teacher, learned from Bojangles. Need a great video and more bio information!




Shirley Temple

Child film star partnered often with "Bojangles".



Glenn Turnbull - Tap dancer and choreographer, worked in film and TV. Need a video and a great picture!




Jane Withers

Film actress and dancer. Nicknamed "One-Take Withers" for successful B-movie work. Need a great video!