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In 1927, two song and dance men, Leonard Reed and Willie Bryant, took four popular steps of the 1920's, strung them together and created the now legendary tap dance "The Shim Sham Shimmy." In February 1994, at age 87, Leonard created the Shim Sham II. To his utter joy, he has lived to see his dance become the official "National Anthem" of tap. If you've been tap dancing for years or are just putting on your first pair of tap shoes, you'll be able to learn the Shim Sham Shimmy. In the Introduction, you will see a demonstration of the dance by a group of talented and ageless (7-75!) tappers and hear an introduction by Leonard Reed himself. In the lesson, tap dancer and preservationist Rusty Frank breaks down the Shim Sham Shimmy, the Freeze Chorus and the Shim Sham II, using the same accessible methods she's used in hundreds of tap classes. Now it's up to you, put the tape in your VCR and start tapping.
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Rusty Frank -- As a tap dancer, and the author of the book "TAP! The Greatest Tap Dance Stars and Their Stories 1900-1955," I have always had a great love and interest of the history of tap and especially those individuals who brought it all to life. The first interview I did for my book was with Leonard Reed, himself. I found him to be utterly amazing. He started in show business in 1922 as a Charleston dancer, began tap dancing in the mid 1920's, and then switched to producing and directing shows in the 1930s. He is the only living producer of the famous Cotton Club shows, and, believe it or not, continues to be active in show business to this day! At 93 (as of January 7, 2000), he is vibrant, full of an astounding wealth of information from his years in the business, and a genuine joy for anyone interested in the past of America's cultural history. It was really at a friend's urging (insistent nudging!) that I get together with Leonard Reed and record his version of the Shim Sham. It was my pleasure. So I gathered 60 of my nearest and dearest tap friends and fans for cast and crew, and the result is a delight for all. Not only did I "recruit" some wonderful young children from Alred Desio's classes, but also got two show business legends themselves to participate, tap dancer and legomania dancer Glenn Turnbull, and tap dancer and choreographer Miriam Nelson. Enjoy.
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