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Bill Bojngles Robinson

Bill “Bojangles” Robinson was seen as the father of tap dance. He was the first black solo performer to star on the white vaudeville circuits.


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Bill Bojangles Bio

‘Bojangles’ is currently SHADES Dancewear darkest shade of skin tone named after the Father of Tap dance, Actor and Singer, Bill Robinson (born Luther Robinson; May 25th, 1878 – November 25th, 1949).

Known as a Broadway legend, Bojangles started his career as a vaudeville performer and later made the transition to Broadway and Hollywood films.

The hugely successful musical revue Blackbirds (1928) featured his famous ‘stair dance.’ Blackbirds was a revue starring African-American performers to showcase an all-black cast, intended for white audiences. Blackbirds ran for a remarkable 518 performances, making it (for many years to come) the longest-running all-black show in Broadway history.

Watch one recording of Bojangles’ ‘stair dance’ here: Bill “Bojangles” Robinson Stair Dance, 1932 – YouTube

After his initial breakthrough, he became most well-known for pioneering a new form of tap; shifting from a flat-footed style to a light, swinging style that focused on elegant footwork. Bojangles became one of the best-loved and highest-paid performers of his day.

In 1989, a joint congressional resolution established National Tap Dance Day on May 25th and signed this into US American Law by President George H. W. Bush. As May 25th is the day Bojangles was born, National Tap Dance Day truly demonstrates and pays tribute to just how influential his life as a black performer was and still is.

A great article to read more upon Bojangles as an influential Tap dancer and important figure for Black history is: Bill ‘Bojangles’ Robinson – Tap Dance UK

As well as: Mayor of Harlem: Bill ‘Bojangles’ Robinson Tap Dance | Dance Dispatches from the Dance Dispatches blog!

Thank you so much for reading!

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