Sonny Watson's Homepage
Ballrooms | Burlesque | Contests | Dances | Dancers | Marathons | Movies | Posters | Sheet Music | Troupes | Refresh
Music Lists: Contemporary WCS| Trad'l WCS| C/W Swing| Big Band| Disco| Gospel| Holiday| Hustle| Late Night| Latin| Latin WCS| Mash-Ups| NC2S| Techno
You Are here: Search Streetswing Site Site Search --->

Picture of the Four Step Brothers

Stage Name

Birth Name

Four Step Brothers

See Below

    In 1925 Maceo Anderson, Al Williams and Red Walker formed a trio and created the original "Step Brothers" which would later become a young Tap dance Quartet ... headed by Al Williams, they would be called the Three Step brothers, later becoming known as the Four Step Brothers in 1927 when Sherman Robertson joined the group. They would be dubbed "The Eight Feet of Rhythm" and traveled with Duke Ellington.

   Maceo started with the Four step Brothers while working as a Newsboy while frequenting the Hoofer Club to hone his craft practicing to the simple 8 bar tune called "the Buck Dancers Lament." Prince Spencer

Who joined the act later could do Raymond Winfield's (of Tip, Tap and Toe) slides as good as he and even took the slides to a higher degree than Winfield. Freddie James joined in 1939 and became the star of the act for four years until he became ill in 1943 with Flash McDonald taking his place and Prince Spencer replacing Sylvester Johnson in 1941.

    King Rastus Brown helped the original Step Brothers with their steps. They sang, danced, worked on new innovations in Tap and Acrobatics and added comedy into their routines as well. They incorporated Snake Hips, Camel Walks, 5 tap Wings, Slides, Afro-Cuban Movement, Rhythm Tap, The Strut, straight Acrobatics and more. They would try not to change their routines too much except for making them better and even employed new dancers and their specialties as part of their routines.

    They became known for their  "Challenge Dance routines" which used no music and each one would solo and would try to out do the other while the other dancers would stand back and clap their hands to make a beat. They incorporated Jazz, Tap and Acrobatics into their routine. The Four Step Brothers would become one of the longest lasting acrobatic tap trio's in history, spanning for more than 40 years in the business and were still going strong in the late 1960s.

    The Dance Masters Of America awarded them the Life Achievement award in 1960 and later in 1985 they received the life Achievement award for helping break the color barrier and received their own star on the "Hollywood Walk of Fame" on 7/14/1988 ( Star #1873.)


Birth Place

Birth Date


Al Williams (1925) n/a   ??   ??
Flash McDonald n/a   ??   ??
Freddie James n/a   ??   ??
Maceo Anderson (1925) Charleston, So. Carolina 9/3/1899 - 7/4/2001   ??  
Prince Spencer n/a   ??     ??  
Red Gordon n/a   ??     ??  
Red Walker (1925) n/a   ??     ??  
Rufus "Flash" McDonald n/a   ??     ??  
Sherman Robinson (1927) n/a   ??     ??  
Sylvester Johnson n/a   ??     ??  

Dance Types

Dance Partners

Music Titles

Acrobatic Tap Buck & Bubbles 1928 - Mystery Song (Ellington)
Jazz Red Walker (1925) The Buck Dancers Lament
Tap Sherman Robertson (1927)  

Night Clubs



1925-1929 - Cotton Club (NY) n/a Ida May Chadwick Show
Hoofers Club - NY   Moon over Alabama
Copa City Club - FL.   Orpheum Circuit
Chez Paree - Chicago   Chitlin' Circuit
Cafe De Paree- London   Radio City Music Hall
Lido Club - Paris    




1933 - Claude Hopkins and His Orchestra Ed Sullivan $1964 - Jazz Dance (Marshall Stearns)
1937 - Barbershop Blues (Vitaphone) Perry Como 7/14/1988 - LA Times     
$ 1949 - Here Come the Girls Texas Star Theater
$ 1964 - The Patsy  
Johnny Comes Marching Home  


Site Map| Disclaimer| Privacy Policy

©1999-2013 (Sonny Watson's dancer History Archives - biography/photos bio. who was page).