Jazz Speaker Series: Cheryl Willis on Tappin' at the Apollo
In the 1920s and 1930s, Edwina “Salt” Evelyn and Jewel “Pepper” Welch learned to tap dance on street corners in New York and Philadelphia. By the 1940s, they were Black show business headliners, playing Harlem’s Apollo Theater with the likes of Count Basie, Fats Waller and Earl “Fatha” Hines. Their exuberant tap style, usually performed by men, earned them the respect of their male peers and the acclaim of audiences. Based on extensive interviews with Salt and Pepper, this book chronicles for the first time the lives and careers of two overlooked female performers who succeeded despite the racism, sexism and homophobia of the Big Band era.
Cheryl M. Willis’s doctoral work in dance focused on African American studies and children’s dance. Selected as National Dance Educator of the Year in 2000, she has toured the U.S. and Canada presenting workshops on creative dance, and has published extensively on tap dance and creative movement. She lives in Vancouver, Washington.
Reception opens at 6 pm, program begins at 6:30 pm.
The Jazz Speaker Series at the American Jazz Museum brings top scholars and authors to speak on the history of the music.