CLICK HERE FOR HOME PAGE

AUGUST 12TH 2003
TUESDAY

Greetings-Gates.jpg
headline-pic-of-the-week.jpg

Gregory Oliver Hines, dancer and actor
born February 14 1946; died August 9 2003

headline-quote-of-the-week.jpg

"I don't remember not dancing.
When I realised I was alive and I could walk and talk,
I could dance."

~ Gregory Hines, 2001 ~

I am still reeling from the news of Gregory Hines''s death this past Saturday. A personal friend not only of mine but the entire world of dance, Gregory Hines was only 57 years old... I had fully expected him to live to at least 99. Over the years I have come to know so many of the old-timers of tap, and I have to come to grips with their inevitable passings on. Of the thirty dancers I interviewed for my book, "TAP! The Greatest Tap Dance Stars And Their Stories 1900-1955", sixteen have already passed away. But, Gregory? Who could have ever been prepared for this!

I first got to know Gregory in 1987, at the Los Angeles Tap Festival. I took a Master Class from him (along with hundreds of others!), and saw close up this man's undeniable charisma. As they said in the old days, "He had 'IT'." Over the years I got a glimpse of a man who was "immensely likeable, [and] wore celebrity casually". I remember always be taken aback how down to earth he was. I was always so excited to be around him, I would literally have to calm myself down before saying hello to him. He always greeted me with a big bear hug and a smile just like the one in these pictures.

hinesBIG.jpg

Gregory readily agreed to write the forward to my book; the hard part was pinning him down to do it because of his hectic schedule. He called me up one day and said, "Rusty, I just don't have time to write this thing! But I know exactly what I want to say, so why don't we meet at a restaurant and just put a tape recorder on the table and tape my intro." This is exactly what we did. I have reprinted his forward below. What I remember about this night, is that I was so excited that I was going to be with Gregory Hines I actually had a couple of stiff drinks before he arrived in order to slow myself down (I always felt that I went into hyper-drive around him -- as did most people who met him!). For those of you who know me, you know I rarely take a drink, so you can imagine me with two. I was very "happy".

Anyway, the interview was great. We had a lovely visit. He was as charming and kind as he was to everyone he met. I ran home, transcribed the tape, faxed it to his hotel, he okayed it, and it's been in the book for over ten years.

Gregory was a star in the old sense of the word. This charisma I have tried to describe is something few stars can ever hope to have. It's a calmness, but an excitement at the same time. The only other person I ever met who had the same feeling about him was Fred Astaire. Quiet men, both, they had an energy flying at you that felt like it was going to slam you against a wall.

Gregory was always a friend in deed... when I broke my neck in 2000, he didn't take long in calling me personally to see how I was doing.

I saw him perform on stage many times, and whether he was on a Broadway stage in front of thousands, or in an intimate nite-club in front of scores, he had the same charismatic energy, a sort of twinkle in his eye that was utterly contagious. He was a consummate entertainer and had you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end.

I would like to say what a terrible loss this is for the entire tap dance world. He was such an innovator, and who knows what he still had to offer, how he would have shaped the present and future of tap.

To all who knew him and loved him, my deepest condolences.

Here are some obituaries, if you would like to read further:
http://film.guardian.co.uk/news/story/0,12589,1016260,00.html
http://www.guardian.co.uk/obituaries/story/0,3604,1016626,00.html
http://www.nytimes.com/2003/08/11/obituaries/11HINE.html

GREGORY HINES' FORWARD TO
"TAP! THE GREATEST TAP DANCE STARS AND THEIR STORIES
1900-1955

by Rusty E. Frank

copyright 1990

"You know when I was thinking about how I wanted to begin the forward, I tried to remember the earliest moment of my life where I either began to understand rhythm or had it explained to me or felt it -- that first recognition of what rhythm is. And I remember that in 1957, my brother and I, we were called The Hines Kids, and we were going to perform at an AGVA show, American Guild of Variety Artists. And there were a lot of people going down there. I forget exactly where it was, but I know we had to take an overnight train which was so exciting to me. And among the other artists who were on the show was Bunny Briggs. Bunny Briggs knew us and we knew him. He had seen us at the Apollo, and we had gone to see him many times at the Apollo. I just admired him, he was such an individualistic tap dancer -- and remains that. Bunny stood apart from the tap dancers I saw in the way he dressed, in the way he danced, in the way he moved, his mannerisms.

We were on the train, and we ate dinner and then it was time for us to go to bed. My brother and I got in our bunks, and Bunny came in our room in our berth. And he sat down and he began to talk to us about great tap dancers and great acts like Pops and Louis, The Chocolateers, Buck and Bubbles, and Bill Robinson, who he knew when he was a kid, when Bunny was a kid. And he started talking about The Nicholas Brothers, and The Berry Brothers, and The Step Brothers, and about the kinds of tap dancers they were, and their approach to rhythm. And over the course of the next, maybe two, three hours, he talked about rhythm and he talked about the application of it, and he would stand up and demonstrate steps to us. And it's so vivid in my mind. It's still very vivid in my mind.

After that I would go see tap dancers, and I began to understand what they were doing. I didn't need anyone to explain it to me anymore, I wasn't missing anything, I understood. All of the sudden I began to understand the beginning, the middle, and the end of pieces that tap dancers were doing. I began to understand to the point that I could start to steal steps! And I would hear certain combinations, and I would just keep singin' it over and over in my head 'til I got some place I could do it. For me, this was an important breakthrough.

I think that I was, it was a very fortunate time for me to be born and to see what I saw. Because my heros were the ones that I saw on the screen and on the T.V. and live. I'd see Gene Kelly. I'd see Bunny Briggs live. I'd see Gene Nelson on the T.V. I'd see Baby Lawrence at the Apollo. I'd get to meet those guys, All these great dancers - I began to understand what they were doing. And it had a profound effect on me as a dancer. I felt I was beginning to understand expression.

I remember once I read where Mohamed Ali like at the height of his career he would pshyc these other fighters out, because he would say to them, "You know, you're not just fightin' me, when you fight me you're fightin' Joe Louis, Sugar Ray Robinson, Jack Johnson, and the great champions that came before me." Sometimes that's how I feel - I feel like when I tap dance for people they're not just seeing me, they're seeing me, and they're seeing Bunny Briggs, Harold and Fayard Nicholas, Gene Kelly, Sandman Sims, Baby Lawrence, Steve Condos - and, of course, Henry LeTang, my teacher.

This book is a formidable accomplishment. One of the things this book will do is bring tap dancers together in a way that no book has done before, because each experience is really the same experience - everybody can feel it! Suddenly they say, "I'm gonna do that! I want to be a tap dancer!" Something happens, they see somebody, they have an experience, or they take lessons, and they all of sudden decide, "That's it. That's my thing. I'm gonna be a tap dancer."

Gregory Hines
February 5, 1990
Venice, California



LINDY BY THE SEA CLASSES
August 2003
DAY LOCATION CLASSES
SUNDAYS
August
3, 10, 17, 24
REBEKAH LODGE
406 E. Grand Ave.
El Segundo
(corner of Arena)
Level 1 2:00pm
Level 2 3:00pm
Level 3 4:00pm
MONDAYS
August
4, 11, 18, 25
MASONIC LODGE
520 Main Street
El Segundo
(enter alley off of Mariposa to lower parking lot -- entrance at the huge wall mural)
Featured Class   7:30pm
"More Balboa"
Level 4 8:30pm
TUESDAYS
August
5, 12, 19, 26
REBEKAH LODGE
406 E. Grand Ave.
El Segundo
(corner of Arena)
Level 1 7:30pm
Level 2 8:30pm
MAP and CALENDAR


headline-rhythm-club.jpg
headline-ssrc-logo.jpg

DATE GUEST ARTIST ADMISSION
August 13 bands-Campus-Five.jpg
dollars-12.jpg
August 20 bands-Esquires.jpg
dollars-12.jpg
August 27 bands-bone.jpg
dollars-12.jpg

Dance Lesson and DJ on the first Wednesday of each month from 7:30-8:00
8:00-11:30pm -- Dance! Dance! Dance!
(check our calendar)

Full details, click HERE
Directions, click HERE

dj-nathan-robert.jpg

Nathan E. 8:00-8:30pm
"Professor" Robert Vangor between band sets
... and the Professor's "Rhythm Club Quiz Contest"
Prizes! (of course)


happy-birthday-CLEAR.jpg

This Week's Celebrations


* Mike Phelan
* Cheryll Lynn (we miss you!)
* Alice Infelise

headline-added-attractions.jpg

LAUGHLIN LINDY DANCE CAMP
AUGUST 14-17TH
THIS WEEKEND!

dancefun_button.gif

Well, it's finally here. This weekend, twenty five Lindy By The Sea gang will join hundreds for a wonderful swing dance camp. It's not too late to join is in the fun! Email: john@dancefun.com, call 310-530-0500, or check out their website HERE. Tell them, "Rusty sent me".

LaughlinVangorRusty.jpg

Caught! The Professor and Rusty swing out at the pool!


NATHLIE AND YUVAL WORKSHOP A SENSATION!

Ten classes, a hundred water bottles, lots of sweat, and loads of sore muscles and feet later, about a hundred local swing dancers had a great time this past weekend with world champion Lindy Hoppers Nathalie and Yuval. From your very own teachers (Rusty, Ron, and Gio), to all the students, everyone gleaned new insight to their own dancing prowess! Whether it be through rhythmic ideas, slides, cool moves, dips, or even some fancy aerials, everyone had a great time! We can't wait to have them back.

Special thanks to Nate and Jeremy for helping register everyone! You guys were great!

See below for photos and movies from the weekend.

headline-scrapbook.jpg
(click on photo for scrapbooks)
rusty-nat-yuval.jpg

camphly.jpg

ssf-elk.jpg

Quicktime-quickies.jpg
Veloz1.jpg
Click HERE
Jean Veloz dances
with Max (from France)
Camp Hollywood
NatYuv1.jpg
Click HERE
Desirae gets a lift!
Nathalie & Yuval
Workshop
NatYuv2.jpg
Click HERE
Rusty & Ron try a drop
Nathalie & Yuval
Workshop
NatYuv3.jpg
Click HERE
Class1
Nathalie & Yuval
Workshop
NatYuv4.jpg
Click HERE
Nathalie & Yuval
Slow Lindy
Workshop
NatYuv5.jpg
Click HERE
Nathalie & Yuval
Fast Lindy
Workshop
Download the latest free Quicktime Player HERE


headline-rusty-privates.jpg
If any of you would like to have a private swing dance lesson,
give Rusty a call at 310.606.5606.

headline-link-of-the-week.jpg
dancefunlogo.jpg

DANCE FUN! Since it's this weekend, we thought we would highlight the Laughlin Lindy Camp and the organization that supplies us with all the fun -- Dance Fun. Check them out, and start making your plans for their upcoming events.



swingcerely2a.jpg

Swing Shift
www.swingshiftontap.com

* Wondering what the heck a "gate"is? This was a phrase popularized by 1940's comedian, Jerry Colonna, who would holler it out every time he was introduced on the Bob Hope radio program. It was a friendly salutation to a swing cat (dancer or swing music enthusiast).

Members of the Swing Shift Rhythm Club at
the Manhattan Beach Arts Festival


HAVE YOU JOINED THE SWING SHIFT RHYTHM CLUB?

For more information about the Swing Shift Rhythm Club and what it's all about,
check out our Frequently Asked Questions Page.



If you would like to be removed from our mailing list, send a blank email to lbs-unsubscribe@lindyhopping.com