Video: Four Step Brothers, Paved The Way By “Tap Dancing” Down Color Barriers

Written by Jae Jones

Dancing is another form of expressive art that African-American people have always enjoyed using to express their emotions. One of the greatest tap dance group known is the . The group’s members were Maceo Anderson, Al Williams, Red Walker and Sherman Robertson. They were often called “The Eight Feet of Rhythm. The group stayed hanging around the Cotton Club in Harlem for their big break. They pestered Duke Ellington until he put them on at the end of his act, from then on they traveled with Duke Ellington. The only reason the group would change their dance steps was to make them better. The group was known for their dance moves such as the: 5 Tap Wings, Slides, Snake Hips, and many more.


Many times the Brothers would go on stage and perform complicated dance routine without music. They appeared in 1957 on the ABC variety program “The Guy Mitchell Show.” They were one of the longest lasting dance groups that survived well into the 1960s. The Brothers were the first act to perform at Radio City Music Hall in New York, and the first at the Chez Paree Club in Chicago. They toured around the world 4 times and appeared in Hollywood features such as: “It Ain’t Hay” (1943),  “Greenwich Village” (1944), “That’s My Gal” (1947), and several others. The Dance Masters of America awarded the group with the Life Achievement award in 1960, and again in 1985 for helping to break the color barrier. In 1988, they received their own “Star” on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

[brid video=”16358″ player=”3261″ title=”The Ed Sullivan Show ‘ Four Step Brothers’ (Tap Dancers) (1954)”]



Video by: YouTube

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About the author

Jae Jones

Jae Jones has been writing professionally for over 10 years. She holds a degree in Business Administration, and enjoys writing on various topics.

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