Sonny Watson's Homepage
Ballrooms | Blog| Burlesque | Contests | Dances | Dancers | Dance History | Marathons | Movies | Music | Posters Store | Sheet Music | Troupes || Refresh Page
Dancers: INDEX
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 --->

Tap Dancer Clayton Peg Leg BAtes History and Bio

Stage Name

Birth Name

'Peg Leg' Bates Clayton P. Bates

         Bates was a very talented, one legged tap dancer in his time. Bates would dance for nickels and dimes when he would dance on the streets at the very young age of 5. Bates lost his leg in an accident when it was mangled in the conveyor belt of a cotton separator at a mill where he was working, his leg was amputated on the table in his mother's kitchen when he was just twelve years old. He started to dance again using two broomsticks under his arm until his uncle, Whitt Stewart, made his 'peg leg'.

    His signature dance step, known as the 'Imitation American Jet Plane,' in which he would jump five feet in the air and land on his peg leg, with his good leg sticking straight out behind him ( Like a giant Pigeon Wing.) He toured with many road shows and performed in plays and many Night Clubs both here (USA) and abroad.

| More Photos |

    Peg Leg Bates and his wife transformed their 60 acre farm and founded his 'Peg Leg Bates country club' in the Catskils of New York in 1951. Peg-leg made his final TV appearance on the Ed Sullivan show in a Challenge dance against Little Buck.

More to Come!

Birth Place

Birth Date



Fountain Inn, SC 10/11/1907-12/6/1998 Alice Melodye Bates-Holden

Dance Types

Dance Partners

Music Titles

Tap  Bill Robinson   Peg Leg Bates

Night Clubs



Cotton Club (NY) Adams, (1942, Newark, NJ) 1947 - Ken Murray's Blackouts
Peg Leg Bates Country Club Apollo Theater 1951 - The Biggest Show of 1951
Savoy Ballroom (NY) Colonial (Ohio, 1942)  
      Earle, (1942, Phil., PA)  
      Fox (1942, Brooklyn)  
    Greenville Black Liberty (1927)  
    Hackney Theatre (6/22/1936) London

Other One Legged dancers

    Lafayette Theater (NY) Crip Heard (Clip)
    Oriental Theater (1920S) Evan Ruggiero (Clip)
    Palace Theatre, (various Ohio locations 1941 & 42) Peg Leg Jr. (Small's Paradise) (Clip)
    Rialto (1943, Joiliet, IL) Valentine
    RKO (1942, Boston)  
    Stanley (1942, Pittsburgh)  
    Temple (1942, Rochester, NY)  

Video Clips (pop-up)


Video Clips (pop-up)



Video Clip not available at this time Broadway Highlights (1930s)
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
Ed Sullivan Show (with Little Buck) 5/1955 - Ebony Magazine
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
The Dancing Man: Peg Leg Bates     $ Knockin' On Wood   
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
Peg Leg Bates     The Dancin Man (Dave Davidson)
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
Peg Leg Bates Interview 1      
Video Clip not available at this time Fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain, Le [DVD]      


            Greenville Cultural Museum
          African American History

  • NOTE: