Leon Collins

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Leon Collins (February 7, 1922 - April 16, 1985) was a famous American tap dancer.

Collins was born in Chicago, Illinois. He began tap dancing at an early age, and later worked professionally with various groups, with partners and later big bands (Jimmie Lunceford) until the 1960s when tap dancing began to fade.

During this interim, he restored cars, and in the 70's tap dance began to experience a revival. At the urging of people like Tina Pratt and Stanley Brown, he came out of retirement and began to teach. In 1976, he opened a studio with Boston's First Lady of Jazz, Mae Arnette. The studio, Star Steps Studio, was located in the Roxbury Section of Boston, MA. In 1982, the studio moved to Brookline and a new partnership was formed. Leon and three of his students, Clara Brosnaham "CB" Hetherington, Dianne Walker and Pamela Raff opened the Leon Collins Dance Studio Inc. During this time, Leon formed a company with his students and Joan Hill (pianist). Leon Collins & Co. performed mainly in the New England area from 1982 until his untimely death in 1985. He had a few bit parts in the movies and is known for his exceptional tap dancing and teaching. He was best known for his work with jazz and bebop and in his latter years his work with classical music, in particular, his rendition of "Flight of the Bumblebee".

A documentary produced by David Wadsworth, Songs Unwritten, was filmed about Collins and released shortly after his death. He died of lung cancer in Boston 1985.

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