Founder and artistic director of Dorrance Dance. 2015 MacArthur Fellow, and recipient of the Alpert Award, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award, Princess Grace Award, and a Bessie Award.
Dancer, musician, choreographer, founding member of Dorrance Dance, and nine-year cast member with STOMP. Received a Bessie Award for sound design and composition. Co-founded the Institute for the Rhythmic Arts.
Star of stage, screen and television, performing solo and with his brother since the age of 10.
An American actor, dancer, singer, theatre director, producer, and choreographer. Over the course of his career, he has won ten Tony Awards and the National Medal of Arts.
Charles Gardner and Patti Eylar
Long-time supporters and philanthropists of Chicago’s dance and theater companies, including CHRP, the Joffrey, Chicago Shakes, Steppenwolf, and the Auditorium Theatre. An ardent volunteer, Patti received the 2011 Ruth Page Award.
The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
Supports creative people, effective institutions, and influential networks building a more just, verdant, and peaceful world.
Has served as the 55th mayor of the city of Chicago since 2011. Prior to becoming Mayor, Emanuel served as the White House Chief of Staff to President Barack Obama and served three terms in the U.S. House of Representatives representing Chicago’s 5th District.
Susan and Ted Oppenheimer
Life-long philanthropists, educators, and activists, dedicating their time and resources to the betterment of Chicago’s educational system and performing arts, among other areas.
Donna LaPietra and
Donna La Pietra is Vice President and Executive Producer for Kurtis Productions and has won several Emmy Awards for her work. Bill Kurtis is an acclaimed documentary host and producer, network and major market news anchor, and multimedia production company president.
An American dancer, director and choreographer, primarily for the stage. Nominated four times for Tony Awards, three times for Drama Desk Awards, and four times for Outer Critics Circle Awards for choreography.
Artistic Director, choreographer, teacher, dance fanatic. Founding member of Especially Tap Chicago and founder and artistic director of The Cartier Collective.
Director of Mayfair Academy of Fine Arts, founded in 1957 with the goal of developing dance as a cultural and physical asset for the children of the community.
Creative Director of Tap at the Sammy School of the Theatre, recognized as both a skillful artist and one Chicago’s most sought after tap instructors.
Owner and director of Talent Forum, started in 1988, home of Footprints Tap Ensemble.
Considered a pioneer in the resurgence of tap dancing. Her thirty-year career spans Broadway, television, film, and international dance concerts.
Award-winning, internationally acclaimed performing artist, master teacher and choreographer. The first tap dancer to receive a “Bessie” award, in recognition of outstanding creative achievement.
Founder and director of the highly acclaimed North Carolina Youth Tap Ensemble (NCYTE), founded in 1982, and director of the N.C. Rhythm Tap Festival.
Presenting cutting-edge dance, theater, and music from Chicago and around the world, pushing the boundaries of performance for over 20 years
Co-founder & director of CHRP,leader in institutionalization of American tap dance, and director of Emmy-nominated JUBA! Masters of Tap and Percussive Dance.
Co-founder of Jam Productions, largest independent promotion company in the US, and Jam Theatricals.
President of Live Marketing!
Classically trained pianist, accompanist and partner of Leon Collins. Creator of the “Joan Hill Tap-a-scat-a-matic Bebop System of Tap Notation”.
Director & President of Sammy Dyer School of the Theatre
Former member of internationally-known duo “Stump and Stumpy” with James Cross. Awarded “Living Treasure in American Dance Award” in 1996.
Chicago-native dancer & singer. Featured on The Ed Sullivan Show, The Tonight Show, & The Merv Griffin Show, and in films The Cotton Club Tap.
1927-2008. Rhythm tapper legend. Won National Heritage Fellowship, Guggenheim Fellowship, & Dance Magazine award. Featured in revue “Black & Blue”, & films Tap & The Cotton Club.
Blue Cross Blue Shield
Broadway veteran, choreographer & founder of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and the Lou Conte Dance Studio.
Tap dancer known for regular performances on The Lawrence Welk Show. First African-American regular on variety TV program.
1914 –2006- Award-winning eldest brother of the Nicholas Brothers, began dancing at the Cotton Club and became a Broadway and film star.
Ernest “Brownie” Brown
1916-2009. Legendary vaudeville tap dancer, part of Cook & Brown duo and the Copasetics. Member of the Tap Dance Hall of Fame.
Chicago native & one of first African American women tap soloists. Member of Hoofer’s Club & Tap Dance Hall of Fame. Performed with Bojangles Robinson, Fats Waller, and other greats.
Founder of the Sammy Dyer School of the Theatre, noted tap choreographer and educator.
Tap choreographer & founder of Mayfair Academy of Fine Arts in South Chicago. A pioneer in dance education and devoted to educating across the color barrier
Jimmy Payne, Sr.
1917-2000. Tap & Afro-Carribean dance performer & teacher. Students included Bob Fosse, Lena Horne, & Gregory Hines.
Member of The Saints, volunteers for the performing arts, along with her husband, Neil Handelman. Organized “Munchie Patrol” backstage for artists at performances for 14 years.
President and Owner of Leo’s Dancewear, Inc.
1946-2003. Award-winning American actor, singer, dancer and choreographer, seen in films such as The Cotton Club, White Nights, Tap, and in musicals such as Eubie! and Jelly’s Last Jam.
1905-2007. American writer, critic and lecturer on dance, & once a dance critic for the Chicago Times. Known for her contributions to the Newberry Library.
Executive producer of cultural & entertainment programming at WTTW Chicago. Driving force behind many of WTTW’s most innovative arts programming initiatives.
The Honorable Mr. & Mrs. Richard M. Daley
54th Mayor of Chicago. National reputation for innovative programs to address education, public safety, and neighborhood development.
American tap dancer, choreographer & teacher. Featured in 1940’s Broadway musicals, winner of a Tony Award & Astaire Award for choreography, & composer of the Tap Dance Concerto.
American dancer and vaudeville performer, who later became noted as house choreographer for various artists on the Motown label.
Born 1973. American actor, tap dancer and choreographer. Star of The Tap Dance Kid and Bring in ‘da Noise, Bring in ‘da Funk on Broadway, and Spike Lee’s film Bamboozled
Dr. Prince Spencer
Member of Four Step Brothers, appearing in over 40 films, & toured Europe representing American dance. Awarded life achievement for breaking color barrier in 1985.
Award-winning American actor/clown/producer who is credited for contributions to the renaissance of clowning in the 1970’s.
Award-winning hoofer who popularized Mambo and Cha-Cha, directed pioneering television shows, and was one of America’s leading dance teachers.
Lloyd Storey & Frank Colvard
American tap dancers. Formed the Detroit Sultans tap ensemble.
Co-creator and director of dance percussion act Stomp, percussionist and TV music writer.