Jack Wiggins

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Jack Wiggins was an African-American entertainer of the early twentieth century, now remembered primarily for his elegant style in tap dancing. Wiggins worked as a performer at the Hoofers Club on "Swing Street" in Harlem, New York, where he inspired Laurence Donald "Baby Laurence" Jackson (later a member of the Tap Dance Hall of Fame).[1] Wiggins also influenced Fayard and Harold Nicholas of the famous Nicholas Brothers tap duo.[2] Wiggins was recognized as a master soloist in the "Class Act" style of tap dancing.[3] A signature dance of Wiggins' was the "tango twist."[4]

In a 1993 interview with The Los Angeles Times, Nipsey Russell remarked that he had been inspired to become a performer around the age of 10 while watching Wiggins on stage. "He came out immaculately attired in a well-dressed street suit and he tap-danced," Russell said. "As he danced, he told little jokes in between. He was so clean in his language and was lacking in any drawl, he just inspired me. I wanted to do that."[5]


  1. ^ "'Baby Laurence' Jackson," American Tap Dance Foundation, Tap Dance Hall of Fame, [1]
  2. ^ "Fayard Nicholas." by Terry Monaghan, The Guardian, January 27, 2006, [2]
  3. ^ "Tap Dance in America: A Very Short History" by Constance Valis Hill
  4. ^ "Pete Nugent," Street Swing Dance History Archives
  5. ^ "Rhyming Funnyman Nipsey Russell Dies," by Joe Holley, October 4, 2005, The Washington Post, [3]