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Stage Name

Birth Name

Maxie McCree

Maxie McCree

 

    Singer and Dancer Maxie McCree and his cousin Willie Covan started dancing at a very young age with Cozy Smith and her Pickaninnie's on the George Webster circuit in the Dakotas. Maxie was so young he wasn't allowed to appear on stage but was learning his craft. Archie Ware (of later6 Crackerjacks fame) remembers "I tried to teach him the Back-Pitch (back flip) and he could hardly do it." From there he became a "Pick" in Chicago area and became a top attraction on the T.O.B.A. vaudeville circuit as West and McCree. Maxie would eventually be a pioneer in a new form of dance acrobatics by combining his own natural grace with Tap dances, Russian dances and Acrobatics together which was an early start of what is known as

The Class Act. John Bubbles says "he could do anything."

    Maxie came to New York in 1920 and started performing in the Follies and Fancies of 1920. Instead of the manager displaying McCree's photo in front of the theatre, he displayed his contract which was for the unheard of sum at the time, $500 with his partner "George." in 1922 he was signed for George White's Scandals which made him one of the few African-American performers to star in an all white production.

    Maxie's claim to fame was a form of what was known at the time as Kazotsky's ( See Russian dance,) that he called "Knee-Drops." These Knee drops were done long before Maxie started doing them h owever it was the way in which he did them that made the difference. Maxie used these knee drops as an accent to punctuate the music in his act. He was able to do them with being jerky, didn't use his hands to rise off the floor and no clumsy leaps or hops to get up either, they were completely smooth and clean which was unheard of at the time. Maxie was drowned in 1922 in Winona, Minnesota, some say he was in love with a girl in the Scandals show and was drowned by her lover. White had to close the show down temporarily due to Maxie's role in the show being a major part.

Birth Place

Birth Date

Spouse

Siblings

n/a d.1922 ?? None
           

Dance Types

Dance Partners

Music Titles

Buck and Wing George Ten Baby Fingers and Ten Baby Toes
Legomania Willie Covan      
Russian Dance West      
Tap      

Night Clubs

Theaters

Stage

n/a   Bijou Theatre (North Dakota) w/Cozy Cozy Smith Pickaninnie's
  Lafayette Theatre (1920) 1920 - Follies and Fancies
  Town Hall (1921) 1921 - Put and Take
        1922 - George White Scandals
        Whitman Sister's Productions (a Pick)
         

Films

Television

Publications

n/a n/a $1964 - Jazz Dance (Marshall Stearns)
     
     
     

NOTE:

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