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Sat, 06.19.1915

Henry LeTang, Choreographer born

Henry LeTang

*Henry LeTang was born on this date in 1915. He was a Black dancer and choreographer.

Born in Harlem, NYC he was the son of Clarence & Marie LeTang and began his dancing career at age seven.  Having fully polished his own technique by age seventeen, he opened his studio in 1937. His first big star student was Betty Hutton.  Letang's unique style transformed and emphasized the importance of choreography for nightclub performers, thereby establishing him as one of the country's foremost motion stylists.  Another beautiful hopeful came to him for direction and made it big, her name was Lena Horne.

From Sep 9, 1943, until Oct 16, 1943, LeTang was an Assistant Choreographer on My Dear Public. From May 18, 1944, until Jun 10, 1944, he directed Tap Routines on Dream With Music. From May 8, 1952, until May 10, 1952, LeTang choreographed Shuffle Along. He also choreographed the movies Tap and the Cotton Club.  His Broadway credits include Sophisticated Ladies, which earned him a Tony nomination and the Outer Critic Circle Award for outstanding tap choreography on this show and also Eubie. Letang won a Tony in 1989 for the Broadway musical Black and Blue.

Other students and proteges include Gregory Hines, Debbie Allen, Maurice Hines, Bette Midler, Milton Berle, Lee Marvin, Harry Belafonte, Joey Heatherton, Chita Rivera, Lola Falana, George Kirby, Nancy Wilson, Sugar Ray Robinson, and Billie Holiday.  His work was represented on Broadway by Bubbling Brown Sugar, Guys and Dolls, and My One and Only, and Tap Dance Kid.   Bill "Bojangles" Robinson summed up his choreographing talent saying, "That young man's staging is really copacetic."

LeTang collaborated with Cholly Atkins, Frankie Manning, and Fayard Nicholas.  Dr. Henry LeTang died on April 26th, 2007.

Sharon LeTang

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