Hoofer Awards


The annual Hoofer Award recognizes prominent tap artists as leaders in the community

for their unique contribution to the form and for inspiring future generations.

2016 - Ted Levy, tap dancer and Broadway performer and choreographer, was born Ted Lewis Levy ion April 25, 1960, in Chicago, Illinois. His mother was a chorus dancer at the famed black-owned Club DeLisa..  He was trained at an early age by Shirley Hall Bass and Finis Henderson II, master tap dancer and former manager of Sammy Davis Jr.  Henderson encouraged Ted to pursue a professional career in the performing arts, which began at The Victory Gardens Theater in Chicago. Levy was "discovered" by Dianne Walker and members of the Copasetics when they performed in the 1985 Chicago production Shoot Me While I'm Happy. He made his Broadway debut in the musical Black and Blue (1989), in which he was a featured dancer in "Butter and Egg Man," choreographed by Fayard Nicholas. The musical megahit won a number of Tony Awards, including one for its four choreographers-- Cholly Atkins, Henry LeTang, Frankie Manning, and Nicholas.


On television, Levy was awarded an Emmy for his television debut performance in the PBS special Precious Memories, and in 1992 made his film debut in Spike Lee’s Malcolm X.  That same year saw the production of Ted Levy and Friends, which included Gregory Hines (who directed), Savion Glover, and Jimmy Slyde, among others. He then collaborated with George C. Wolfe and Gregory Hines on the choreography for the Broadway production of Jelly's Last Jam, for which he received a Tony nomination, Drama Desk Award nomination, and Outer Critics Circle Award.


Influenced by Hines, Levy made his directorial debut in 1994 as director of Savion Glover's Dancing Under the Stars at the New York Shakespeare Festival's Delacorte Theater. As a versatile theater artist skilled in acting, sing, and tap dancing, Levy directed the workshop production of Bring in ‘da Noise, Bring in ‘da Funk. When that show, directed by George C. Wolfe, became a smash hit, with a planned move to Broadway in 1996, Levy was charged with recruiting and training young dancers in Savion Glover's hard-hitting rhythm-tap style. In February 1997, eight male students were enrolled in the first three-month course in which Levy taught them the rhythm-tapping styles of such masters as Lon Chaney, Chuck Green, and Jimmy Slyde, who had described the tradition as "the art of sound."


Ted appeared in the movie Bojangles with Gregory Hines, and returned to Broadway as Papa Jack in Susan Stroman & Harry Connick Jr.’s Thou Shalt Not.  Ted portrayed the role of The Mikado in The Ford Theater’s production of The Hot Mikado, for which he won a Helen Hayes Award. Ted’s most recent accomplishments include appearing in Fly, the story of the Tuskegee Airmen; Sammy, the Leslie Bricusse musical about the life of Sammy Davis Jr.; and a 2011 Joseph Jefferson nomination for Best Supporting Actor in a musical. In 2015 Ted was a leading figure in the film documentary Tap World, directed by Dean Hargrove. He continues to be a mentor to this new generation of tap dance artists.

American Tap Dance Foundation

American Tap Dance Center

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