HENRY LETANG
1915 - 2007
(With Fayad Nicholas)
Born in the Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan, LeTang 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, LeTang played the violin. At the age of seventeen, he opened his first studio, one small room with a piano. Over the ensuing 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.

LeTang devised dance routines for the Broadway musicals My Dear Public and Dream with Music in the mid-1940s, but his first credit as a full-fledged choreographer was the 1952 revue "Shuffle Along" with Eubie Blake. Twenty-six years later, he would receive Tony and Drama Desk Award nominations for his work on "Eubie"!, a song-and-dance tribute to the musician. Additional credits include Sophisticated Ladies (1981), which earned him a second Tony nomination, and Black and Blue (1989), which finally won him the prize.

LeTang's screen credits include Francis Ford Coppola's The Cotton Club (1984) and Tap (1989). For television he choreographed The Garry Moore Show for seven years, staged the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon numerous times, and created dance routines for George Balanchine and Milton Berle. His last project was the Showtime bio-film Bojangles in 2001.

The Oklahoma City University Ann Lacy School of American Dance and Arts Managementhttp://www.okcu.edu/dance_amgt, headed by Dean John Bedford and dance department chairman Jo Rowan, presented LeTang with a Living Treasure in American Dance Award in 1995 and with an Honorary Doctor of Performing Arts in American Dance degree in 2002. In the years prior to his death, he resided in Las Vegas, Nevada, teaching master classes from his home studio and travelling several times a year to hold classes in New York City.

LeTang died of natural causes in Las Vegas, Nevada at the age of 91. He left behind  grandchildren  Jon jr, Vistoria, Yoland Chris, Jason, Jovanni and Anthony.

Here''s a list of just some of Henry's accomplishments -

1979 Drama Critics Award for Eubie!

1981 32nd Outer Critics Circle Awards: Best Choreography for Sophisticated Ladies

1989 Tony Award: Best Choreographer winner along with Cholly Atkins, Frankie Manning,
and Fayard Nicholas for Black and Blue

1991 Drama-Logue Award: Director for Stardust

1995 Flo-Bert Award for the advancement of the art of tap through teaching and choreography

2002 American Choreography Awards: Educator Award winner

2003 American Choreography Award

A Living Treasure in American Dance Award, Ann Lacy School of American Dance and Arts Management and the Robert L. Reed Tap Heritage Institute, Oklahoma City University


"We do it cuz we love it...just do it!"
by Henry LeTang
LINKS TO MORE INFO
Bill 'Bojangles' Robinson summed up Henry's choreographic talent saying
"that young man's staging is really copacetic."