International Tap Dance Hall of Fame

 

The International Tap Dance Hall of Fame is the only tap dance hall of fame exclusively focused on tap dancers. It features founding and innovative 20th and 21st century professional tap dancers.With a collection of photographs, biographies, and videos, the Hall of Fame is becoming a colorful and diverse retrospective of America's seminal tap dance personalities.

 

2008 - Two-Man Comedy Tap Team - Stump & Stumpy The most swinging two-man comedy team to play the Apollo was Stump and Stumpy (James “Stump” Cross and Eddie “Stumpy” Hartman, later Harold “Stumpy” Cromer). When they first played the Apollo in 1938, they capitalized on their contrasting heights and personalities, combining comic banter, scat singing, and a swinging style of tap. “Here’s a very fine team,” the Master of Ceremonies, Willie Bryant,  would announce from the Apollo stage, “a little different, because one’s about down here and one’s about up here, but you put them together and you really got something.” They opened with a swinging up-tempo song. “If your rhythm’s all too romping, and you like it nice and jumping, how ’do-you-do, I’m Stump,” sang Cross, and “I’m Stumpy,” sang Cromer, “and we’ve got rhythm for sale.” They  followed with a swing dance in tandem, and a series of solo specialties in which one out-did the other in close-to-the-floor, heel-dropping steps. And ended with a lindy-hop tap dance in which the taller Stump, bopping in place, partnered the smaller Stumpy, doing all the hard-working turns and air moves. Stump and Stumpy appeared in leading theaters and night clubs with Duke Ellington, Frank Sinatra, Billie Holiday and Count Basie. They toured with singers Nat “King” Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn, and the Ink Spots, and with Stan Kenton, and Sophie Tucker. But time and time again, they returned to the Apollo Theatre’s most discerning audiences. Tap dancer Bunny Briggs remembered performing at the Apollo on a bad day, on the same bill as the renowned team of Stump and Stumpy:  “I opened the show and when I finished, no applause. Other acts went on-- no applause. Here comes Stump and Stumpy to close the show. They were the best. And they bombed! We’re all in the dressing room, and hearing nothing from the audience. Then they came off the stage and Big Stump (James Cross) said, ‘Lord knows I tried!’”

 

Constance Valis Hill