Bill Bojangles Robinson

Topics: Tap dance, Dance, Clogging Pages: 2 (649 words) Published: April 2, 2013
Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, who claimed he could run backward faster than most men could go forward, was the most famous of all African American tap dancers in the twentieth century. Dancing upright and swinging, his light and exacting footwork brought tap "up on its toes" from an earlier flat-footed shuffling style, and developed the art of tap dancing to a delicate perfection." ~~TAP DANCE HALL OF FAME Bill Robinson was known as a pioneer of tap dancing. Robinson, the greatest tap dancer of his generation, was successful despite the obstacle of racism during his life time, and paved the way for African American performers in prestigious venues, and Hollywood film. Robinson changed the course of tapping forever, simply by listening to the music in his soul. Many people knew him as Mr. Bojangles, a generous man, who would dance and smile. "Mr. Bojangles", or Luther Robinson was born on May 25th, 1878 in Richmond Virginia. When he was very young, he lost both of his parents in a tragic accident. As a result, he and his younger brother were later sent to live with his grandmother. She was a former slave and a strong Baptist, and had no interest in bringing up two boys. At the age of five, Robinson began dancing for a living, appearing as a "hoofer" or busker on the streets and in saloons. He soon dropped out of school to pursue dancing as a career. His grandmother, however, forbade dancing in her home, which was drove Bill to run away. He became known as “Bojangles” for his cheerful demeanor while dancing . He got his first professional job in 1892, performing as a member of the pickaninny chorus for Mayme Remington with The South Before the War. Although he was finding work, segregation was a part of Robinson’s life. In the vaudeville setting, Robinson was faced with the “two color rule” meaning that black solo acts were not allowed. So, in 1902, he teamed with George W. Cooper, creating a white black duo. They did not, however, wear the stereotypical blackface...
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