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Photo, Copyright Mike Strong
By Lewis Segal, Times Staff Writer - "Tap dance pioneer Leonard Reed,
a versatile, influential performer, producer and teacher, died of congestive
heart failure Monday at a hospital in Covina. He was 97. ..."
The Associated Press
obituary was picked up by several locations including the ones listed
here: "COVINA -- Leonard Reed, a tap dance pioneer who co-created
the famed Shim Sham Shimmy dance step and winner of the lifetime achievement
award from the American Music Awards, has died. He was 97. He died Monday
of congestive heart failure at a hospital in Covina. ..." (the following
three links use this article)
Demille (dot) Com
New York Times
(Rusty is the author of "Tap!" with a chapter on Leonard and
she is the producer/teacher on the video "Leonard Reed's Shim Sham
Shimmy" - a very nice page.
"LEONARD REED'S life seems to have been packed with more achievements
than many of us, put together ..."
Rusty's Website: SwingShift
On Tap - Purchase her book Tap! and video Leonard
Reed's Shim Sham Shimmy
Articles With Other Information
The Ft. Worth Star-Telegram
(This article from May 24, 2003 is quoted by several other articles. It
has a lot of original information and includes the information that former
Ft. Worth Star-Telegram columnist Anne Miller was then working on a book
about Leonard and had been traveling with him at times over the previous
year and a half. Miller also has a video (see below) documentary.)
This article will cost you to purchase from the Star-Telegram. I paid
Quoted From the site:
Tapped for glory. Leonard Reed never meant to
create a dance sensation or break the
PGA color barrier. For 96 years, he's just been taking life as it comes.
by Malcolm Mayhew (Malcolm Mayhew, (817) 390-7713 email@example.com)
"When Leonard Reed and his wife used to head out for summer vacations,
they didn't know exactly where they were going. 'We never planned anything,'"
he says. '"We'd just get in the car, drive down the highway and say,
'Let's turn off here.' We never used a map.' This is how, Reed says, he
has lived his entire life -- all 96 years of it...."
-- This was an article occasioned by Leonard's invitation to Fort Worth's
celebration of the 15th annual National Tap Dance Day. Held at Arts Fifth
Avenue, 1628 Fifth Ave., Fort Worth. (817) 923-9500. Leonard also taught
a master class on tap that Tuesday at Arts Fifth Avenue.
Web page for the 2003 National Tap Dance Day celebration in Dallas - Ft.
Leonard hosted an evening and Anne Miller hosted a session to show her
then new documentary "Doctor of Dance" (after which Leonard
is listed as "Dr. Reed")
Quoted From the site: "...May 25 2003
at Arts Fifth Avenue - . The Tap Treasure Dr. Leonard Reed. will host
an evening under the stars for everyone. The Proclamation has been granted
from the Mayor's office honoring National Tap Dance Day and Dr. Leonard
"May 27th Day of Dance...
6:00 - 7:00pm Ballin' The Jack with Dr. Reed - the sensual hip shakin'
dance that began in Harlem in 1913 - for everyone to enjoy
7:00 - 7:15 A Brief History on National Tap Dance Day & Dr. Reed
7:15 - 7:30 Tap Temperature - Warm up for the Doctor (free intro Tap for
7:30 - 8:30 The Revenge of the Shim Sham - Tap with Dr. Reed
8:30 until Da' Doctors in Da' House . . . A Conversation with Leonard
of Dance Video
(documentary video from Anne Miller - buy her video from this website)
Quoted From the site: "The Doctors of
Dance Available NOW! The original, long version of The Doctors of Dance
video is now available for purchase. ... Nine tap dance legends -- among
the most influential dancers of the 20th century -- were awarded honorary
doctorates in February, 2002, from the Oklahoma City University School
of American Dance and Arts Management. This video captures the ceremony,
the emotion-filled responses of the Doctors, and interviews with each
of the legends: Bunny Briggs, Henry LeTang, Jeni LeGon, Fayard Nicholas,
Leonard Reed, Jimmy Slyde, Prince Spencer, the late James "Buster"
Brown, and the late Cholly Atkins. Also on the video are some of today's
foremost dancers performing tributes to these legendary hoofers."
NOTE: A couple of years ago there was an effort spearheaded by Gwen Strickland
in Kansas City to have UMKC honor Leonard, whose origins are in Kansas
City, with an honorary doctorate. UMKC snubbed the effort. But not Oklahoma.
(requires purchase) Metropolis / Snapshots from the Center of the Universe;
A Great Day in Hollywood; Spotlighting L.A.'s African American Showstoppers:[HOME
MICHAEL T. JARVIS. Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles, Calif.: Dec 14, 2003.
pg. I.10, Section: Los Angeles Times Magazine; Part I; Lat Magazine Desk,
ISSN/ISBN: 04583035, Text Word Count 661
St. Louis Tap Festival
Mention in this page from USC listing the tap stars at the St. Louis Tap
Quoting the page: "Zapped Taps(tm)/Alfred
Desio at the St. Louis Tap Festival Alfred Desio joins an all-star faculty
to teach at the 8th Annual St. Louis Tap Festival, with a program featuring
Savion Glover, Leonard Reed, Henry
Letang, Jimmy Slyde, Paul and Arlene Kennedy, Cholly Atkins, Fred Kelly,
The Silver Belles, Dianne Walker, Van Porter, Sam Weber, Acia Gray, Yvette
Glover, Jo Rowan, Lane Alexander, Jan Feager, Alfred Desio, Pascal Hulin,
Six Feet of Rhythm, The Danny Holgate Band, Austin Tap Company, St. Louis
Hoofers, Creative Expressions, Ten Foot Five, The Kennedy Tap Company,
North Carolina Youth Tap Ensemble with special appearances by Prince Spencer,
Maceo Anderson, Al Robinson, and Mickey Carroll. Produced by the Robert
L. Reed Tap Heritage Institute, Inc...."
Louis Tap Festival
You can find a number of pictures of Leonard here and a number of links
to information with Leonard. (Note for news orgs: Robert is not related
to Leonard) RobertReed@tap-heritage.org <RobertReed@tap-heritage.org>
Robert L. Reed, 634 N. Grand, Ste. 1145, St. Louis, MO 63103, Phone: (314)
531-TAPS(8277), Fax: (314) 531-8278
Professional dance company - performance troup. Quoting
the Website: "Rhapsody In Taps, a Los Angeles based touring
company, features seven tap dancers, five jazz musicians and guest artists.
The modern dance background of Artistic Director/Choreographer, Linda
Sohl-Donnell, is reflected in Rhapsody In Taps' diverse repertoire, which
pays tribute to the rich heritage of tap as well as exploring innovative
choreographic directions for the concert stage." - This is a one
word mention on their starting web page, including Leonard in a list of
acclaimed tap masters as guest in concert with them.
Reed at Maxwell's at the Argyle
Pictures of Leonard at various times, including his 97th birthday, at
Maxwell's at the Argyle
Leonard was MC at Apollo in the 50's, put in on national TV. Leonard also
played here before it was the Apollo, when it was still Hurtig & Seamon's
New Theater (a burlesque house). Located: Harlem, Manhattan, 253 West
125th Street, near Frederick Douglass Blvd. Phone: (212) 749-5838