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A Mile in Hines’ Shoes: A Tribute to Gregory


Gregory HinesIt’s not easy to keep quiet when you put nine inconceivably gifted tap dancers onstage with unbelievably intricate footwork and radical tricks like tap dancing on rollerblades. Yes, it goes there. 

A reserved-looking crowd at the Annenberg Center  can get quite animated during a performance like the October 2009 world premiere showing of “Thank You Gregory, A Tribute to the Legends of Tap.” The program, which kicked off Dance Celebration’s 28th season last night, will have you shaking your head in wonderment, screaming out in adoration and dabbing your damp eyes out of bitter-sweet joy. 

Dancers with the most extensive of backgrounds come together to rhythmically stomp their feet and make beautiful noise in honor of the late Gregory Hines, who physically left our presence in 2003. There’s so much to be said about the too cool singer-actor-dancer extraordinaire who brought a unique flare and inspiration to the world of tap. Hines is known as the “bridge” between the old school and Generation X of tap dancers and a tribute like this one fits that description to the tee. 

Jason SamuelsBut honoring the late Hines is just a fraction of the intention and objective of the tribute. “Thank You Gregory” takes the audience on a journey through time (from vaudeville to the ever present pop epoch) with video presentations and brilliant, unforgettable choreography. The accomplished young performers reverently emulate and pay homage to the likes of the sparkling Eleanor Powell, a dashing Fred Astaire, and a buoyant Bill “Bojangles” Robinson among many more. 

Though, just when you think the ‘youngins’ have made their mark and took firm hold of the spotlight, Gregory Hines’ older brother Maurice steps on stage and grabs everyone’s hearts with terrifically moving family stories amid side-splitting jokes to offset what could otherwise be a strictly emotional segment. 

With only six more shows to go, it’s imperative that you treat yourself to one heck of a show. You’ll want to see “Thank You Gregory” a dozen times but it’ll only take one to tickle your “sole.”


Thank You Gregory, A Tribute to the Legends of Tap 

Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Pennsylvania

3680 Walnut Street


Wednesday, October 7 at 2 pm & 7:30 pm 

Thursday, October 8 at 7:30 pm 

Friday, October 9 at 8 pm 

Saturday, October 10 at 2 pm & 8 pm. 

Ticket prices are $38 - $58 (evening) and $34 - $54 (matinee), and may be purchased by calling the Annenberg Center Box Office at 215-898-3900 or by visiting www.AnnenbergCenter.org

Dance Celebration subscriptions are on sale now and include a savings of up to 34% off regular single ticket prices.

Photo Credits: 
Gregory Shoe Image: Rose Eichenbaum
Maurice Hines/Maurice Hines Brothers -- Courtesy of the American Tap Dance Foundation

Jason Samuels Smith photo credit: Eduardo Patino