Coles in a studio shot for My One and Only. He was known for wearing fine tailored suits, giving him an air of sophistication. Photo by Kenn Duncan, courtesy of Dance Magazine archives

Charles "Honi" Coles was an American rhythm tap dancer known for his speed and sophisticated style. He was a founding member of the Copasetics, as well as one half of the popular vaudeville duo "Coles & Atkins," whose song-and-dance routines epitomized the vaudeville class act—routines that countered blackface stereotypes. Coles' later collaborative work with tapper Brenda Bufalino helped revive tap dance in the 1970s and led to the founding of the American Tap Dance Foundation in New York City.

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Buster Brown, foreground

Today marks the centennial of the birth of Dr. James “Buster” Brown, one of tap’s most celebrated performers and teachers. A long-time member of the Copasetics, Brown influenced many of today’s dancers through his teaching and at his famous Sunday night tap jams at NYC’s Swing 46.

This weekend, many of Brown’s followers, including Dianne Walker, Jason Samuels Smith and Max Pollak, will celebrate Brown with New York master classes, jams and discussions, all open to the public. Michelle Dorrance will even appear on Sunday in what is sure to be an emotional culminating performance at Swing 46.

Complete event details here

Photo courtesy of the American Tap Dance Foundation


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