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Eddie Rector and Grace

Stage Name

Birth Name

Eddie (Eddy) Rector

Eddie Rector

"The Boy In Grey"  

    Fancy dresser Eddie Rector is known as one of the all time great Tap dancers. His first appearance on stage was with the Mayme Remington's Production as a Pickaninny (at age fifteen no less) in which he played a girl, complete with a wig with curls and had to dance with another boy. After this stint he got a job as a chorus boy in the 1913 show called; "the DarkTown Follies" and played the part of 'Red Cap Sam.' From there he became involved with the T.O.B.A. Circuit With his partner Toots Davis. Later, he and his wife Grace started their own act together in Vaudeville. They became a real Class Act. Rector introduced what became known as Stage dancing.

Rector was so good at many of the dances that he unknowingly helped pioneer a few as well as his innovations in dance steps such as the Slap Step and his use of the upper body. Some of his best dances were the Charleston, Sand Dance, Soft-Shoe, Tap, Buck and Wing, Cakewalk and many others. Rector was originally a soft shoe performer "he developed his own style of elegance and grace" which he mixed with a fluid and more integrated motion than the previous stereotypical 'Darky' vaudeville acts that were dominating the Stages in the past.

    One of his great specialties was the " Waltz Clog," done to the tune called "Bambalina" which Rector is said to have performed it with an unequaled, great style and grace. His contribution to Tap dance was his use of arm movements while traveling around the floor which was much different than the taper's before him. By 1921 ( Shuffle Along,) many Black tap dancers would incorporate his style of tapping. When it came to the Soft-Shoe and Sand Dance, Rector had no competition. He is said to have been the greatest soloist of all time who could and at times did dance better drunk than sober.

    Billed as "The Boy in Grey," because one of his costumes was a Pearl Grey Top Hat, Tails, and a cape, even the spats were pearl grey. In 1931, Rector was dancing at the Cotton Club in New York to Cab Calloway's music for a live radio show called "LIVE from the Cotton Club." from RCA and also played the Trumpet at Sebastian's Cotton Club in Los Angeles.

    Rector was institutionalized sometime in 1933 for a number of years and the reason has been a mystery that no one knows for sure why. One of the rumors is his drinking lead to a nervous breakdown as he couldn't handle the stress anymore. However after his recovery he teamed up again with his good friend and partner Ralph Cooper during the late 1940's. Unfortunately they were at the tale end of the Class Act routines on Stage and were not well received by this newer audience. Cooper became a disc-Jockey and Rector became a night watchman as with many other dancers who started as children in those times, was uneducated and couldn't read or write. Eddy died not knowing how important he was to dance and what he created.


Birth Place

Birth Date

Spouse

Offspring

Orange, New Jersey 12/25/1890s-1962 Grace Rector n/a
     

Dance Types

Dance Partners

Music Titles

Bambalina, the Grace Rector Bambalina (Waltz-Clog)
Buck and Wing Danced with the 'Ink Spots' Charleston Hound (1926 w/ Fats Waller)   
Cakewalk Henry Rector (Eddie's Brother) Parade of the Wooden Soldiers (drill) 
Charleston Ralph Cooper Saint Louis Blues
Clog Toots Davis Wildflower (Solo Waltz-Clog)   
Sand Dance        
Soft Shoe      
Stair Dance      
Tap Dance      
Waltz Clog      

Night Clubs

Theaters

Stage

Connie's Inn (NY) Apollo Theatre [NY] 1913 - Darktown Follies of 1913
Cotton Club (NY) Kiel Auditorium (1/28/1945) [St. Louis] Cotton Club Revue
Sebastian's Cotton Club (Los Angeles) Palace Theatre [NY] 1922 - Liza
      Regal (1/19/1945) [Chicago] 1924 - Dixie to Broadway
    Tomlinson Hall (1/5/1945) [Indianapolis] 1928 - Blackbirds of 1928
          1929 - Messin' Around (Director)
        1930 - Hot Rhythm
        1931 - Live From the Cotton Club
        1931 - Rhapsody in Black
        1932 - Yeah Man!
        1952 - Shuffle Along (Soft-Shoe)

Films

Television

Publications

n/a n/a $) Jazz Dance (Marshall Stearns)

NOTE:

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