About Henry LeTang

Legendary Tap Teacher and Choreographer

Henry LeTang

Biography

Born in Harlem, USA, Henry was the second son of Clarence, born in Dominica, and his wife Marie, who emigrated from St. Croix. The couple owned and operated a radio and phonograph repair shop. All their children were musically inclined; in addition to his interest in dance, Henry played the violin.

After a number of years performing and being mentored by the likes of Buddy Bradley and John Bubbles, Henry opened his first studio at the age of seventeen – a single room with a piano. Over the decades he taught and/or worked with a multitude of entertainment personalities, including Lena Horne, Betty Hutton, Billie Holiday, Eleanor Powell, Lola Falana, Peter Gennaro, Leslie Uggams, Joey Heatherton, Chita Rivera, Ben Vereen, Debbie Allen, Hinton Battle, Savion Glover, and the Hines Brothers, Maurice and Gregory.

Henry created dance routines for the Broadway musicals “My Dear Public” and “Dream with Music” in the mid-1940s, but received his first full-fledged choreographer’s credit with the 1952 Sissle and Blake revue “Shuffle Along.” Twenty-six years later, he would receive Tony and Drama Desk Award nominations for his work on “Eubie!”, a song-and-dance tribute to Mr. Blake. Additional theatre credits include “Sophisticated Ladies” (1981), earning Henry a second Tony nomination, and “Black and Blue” (1989), which finally won him the prize. His work in film included Francis Ford Coppola’s the “Cotton Club” (1984), “Tap” (1989), and “Bojangles” (2001). On the smaller screen Henry choreographed The Garry Moore Show for seven years, staged the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon on numerous occasions, and created dance routines for George Balanchine and Milton Berle.

In addition to numerous lifetime achievement awards, Dr. LeTang was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Performing Arts in American Dance degree from Oklahoma City University in 2002.

After 91 years Dr. LeTang leaves a legacy of over 5 generations of tap dancers, and an unparalleled body of work committed to the education and presentation of the art of tap dance.