Ginger Rogers and JimTaylor
Dancing the Swing Waltz
(Photo adapted for book - Rhythm In Their Feet
from original Centerfold -
People Magazine -1976)
Professional Dancer, Choreographer, Teacher,
Tap Dance Columnist and Tap Dance Historian
JIM TAYLOR, is a veteran of over 55 years in the professional dance business. While training with the local dance studios in Albuquerque, New Mexico, at age 14, Jim had the privilege of working for legendary Busby Berkelely. Berkeley had formed a touring company of professionals who supplied the costumes and sets and he did the direction and choreograpy for the musical "Irene." His company toured the college circuit and used local talent as the cast. Jim was assigned the duty of boys dance captain, so had the opportunity of working directly with Mr. Berkeley. That was his first taste of working in the professional dance world! Having been featured in numerous local Civic Light Productions, he moved to Hollywood to pursue a career in show business. After honing his skills in studios in the Hollywood area, he got his first job in stock and has worked as a dancer/choreographer in approximately 40 professional musicals onstage, numerous TV shows, including the Johnny Carson Show, Ed Sullivan Show, Flip Wilson Show, the “Elvis” Comeback Special, Command Performance, People's Choice Awards, Cinderella, Carousel. and as a contract dancer on the Hollywood Palace, just to mention a few.
Jim had the privilege to perform original choreography and/or dance for Joe Leyton, Eugene Loring, Edward Villella, Alan Johnson, Claude Thompson, Danny Daniels, Fayard Nicholas, Jack Cole, Michael Kidd, Gower Champion, Jerome Robbins, Onna White, Hermes Pan, Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Busby Berkeley and many more.
Jim has choreographed in Tokyo, Sydney, Honolulu, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, New York City at Radio City Music Hall and at London's Royal Shakespeare Company. His television choreography credits include The Ed Sullivan Show, "The Celebration of Tiny Tim & Miss Vicki's Wedding", The Tonight Show, "A Soft Shoe" by Connie Stevens & Louis Nye", "A Polonaise" for Days of our Lives, the 1st Annual Science Fiction Awards "Superman Pas De Deux" and "Mabel King Production Number", PBS "Interview and Performance with Jim Taylor" and PBS "Performance of the Rhythm Rascals." After choreographing over twenty five professional musicals in the southern California area and Las Vegas, including two years at The English Music Hall in Santa Monica, Jim had the honor of honing his craft, working for eight years as associate choreographer to Academy Award winning choreographer Onna White (Oliver, Music Man, Mame). He worked with her on the pilot of TV's "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers", a City Center workshop of "Going Hollywood". the original Pre-Broadway production of "The Three Musketeers", Gorgio of Beverly Hills "Salute To Fashion Designers", the "Mame" number with Lucille Ball and did the tap choreography for "Tap Your Troubles Away", featuring Barbara Eden, the 50th anniversary production and touring company of "The Wizard Of Oz" at Radio City Music Hall and on to London’s Royal Shakespeare Company as associate choreographer and tap choreographer for "Poppy", an award winning musical running for over a year at London's famous West End. He was also the artistic director, choreographer and soloist for ten years in his tap company, the Rhythm Rascals. Jim had the privilege of being the first choreographer to put tap dancing on ice, along with legendary skater Robin Cousins, who directed the 2000 Millennium Production of Holiday On Ice. He has been honored with a Hollywood Dramalog Critic’s Award for “Outstanding Achievement in Theatre” and was presented a Lifetime Achievement Award in “Concert of Love 2002” and honored by Rhapsody In Taps in 2008.
Jim's teaching credentials include teaching as Associate Professor of Dance at U.S.C., on staff at Tremaine Dance Center, Performing Arts Center and the DuPree Academy in the Los Angeles area and taught tap for major dance conventions, such as the Tremaine Experience, Paula Abdul’s Company Dance, D.M.A., D.E.A., P.D.T.A., Dance In Action and Totally Tap. He was honored to work for several years as the chosen tap dance instructor for the West Coast Bob Fosse Scholarship Program.
Jim continued teaching master classes and coaching and choreographing for actors, professional dancers and dance academies. Jim taught master classes at the annual Maui Tap Experience in November 2003, 2005 and 2010, more than 7 years for the Rhapsody In Taps Tap Day Workshops, assisted Fayard Nicholas at the L.A. TAP FEST and was Co-Producer at the First, Second & Third Annual National Tap Dance Day Celebrations at Thousand Oaks, on the outskirts of Los Angeles. Jim devoted himself to preserving and recreating original film choreography such as the “Moses Supposes” from “Singin In The Rain”, as a tribute to the late Donald O’Connor and Gene Kelly, “Begin The Beguine” honoring Fred Astaire and Eleanor Powell, “Bouncin’ The Blues” honoring his favorite partner, Ginger Rogers with Fred Astaire, and “Lucky Numbers” and “The Nicholas Brothers Shim Sham”, in memory of his dear friend and mentor Fayard Nicholas.
Jim studied with such legends as jazz dance masters Luigi, Joe Tremaine and Claude Thompson, ballet masters Michael Panaieff, Sally Whalen and Natalie Claire and tap masters, Steve Condos, Fayard Nicholas, Hermes Pan, Louis Dupron and Eleanor Powell. His formal rhythm tap dance training included studying with Lynn Dally of the Jazz Tap Ensemble and Linda Sohl Ellison, artistic director of Rhapsody in Taps.
Jim was a Tap Dance Columnist covering Los Angeles for the I.T.A. magazine, “ON TAP” and was the Hollywood Representative/journalist for the International Tap Association for twelve years. He had previously been a tap columnist for Dance and Fitness & Show Biz Magazines for four years. Some of his writings have been preserved in the Library of Congress. He is currently a tap dance historian and is archiving tap dance clips from films to preserve these works and to inform and entertain fellow tap dancers of all ages with these gems of history. His “all tap dancing” site can be found online at www.FootnotesOnTap.com the new Internet Database of American Tap Dancers! Thanks to a grant from Career Transitions For Dancers and his knowledge of the computer, Jim is able to continue to stay connected to the worldwide Tap Community.
He was also featured as the rear end of a tap dancing cow for a national TV milk commercial and a tap dancing gorilla for the opening of L.A.’s famous Studio One Disco Club in the early 70’s!(Anything to be able to hoof!) Jim appeared in nightclubs around the globe. His motion picture credits include dancing in Mame, Hello Dolly, Darling Lili, The Great Bank Robbery, Torn Curtain, Star, Blazing Saddles and the movie “Tap”, with a host of legendary tap dancers. He was a featured dancer with Debbie Reynolds, Sid Ceaser & Imogene Coca in nightclubs and on stage, Julie Andrews in motion pictures, Connie Stevens on television and in nightclubs, Steve Condos, Nanette Fabray, Bobbie Morris, Cyril Richard and Milton Berle at the Los Angeles Civic Light Opera, Betty Grable in the touring company of "Hello Dolly", plus his most memorable experience, performing live in a four-year world comeback tour as partner to the legendary Ginger Rogers.