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Veteran tap dance star pays visit to Hackney Empire

PUBLISHED: 08:00 03 May 2014

Tap-dancing legend Steve Clark with members of the Hackney Youth Forum

Tap-dancing legend Steve Clark with members of the Hackney Youth Forum

Archant

A veteran American tap dance star paid a visit to the Hackney Empire on Wednesday.

Steve Clark, 89, the surviving half of the legendary Clark Brothers, visited the Hackney Empire as part of the Living Legends project which pays contribution of black variety performers in the UK.

Mr Clark, who originates from Philadelphia, took up tap-dancing with his twin Jimmy and performed up and down the country.

Following advice from celebrated singer Frank Sinatra, they decided to come to the UK after the war and never went back.

Mr Clark, a cousin of legendary entertainer Sammy Davis Jnr, captivated the young audience dispensing words of wisdom and regaling them with memorable career highlights, including introducing a young Elvis Presley to the audience at a famous Las Vegas hotel.

The audience, who were made up of Hackney Youth Forum, watched vintage footage of the Clark Brothers performing their famous routine at Harlem’s famous Apollo Theatre.

Mr Clark rounded off the event with an impromptu piano performance.

He said: “My main objective is to leave a legacy for the next generation. Nobody stopped to think this story should be told about black artists coming to England. For me it is all about the profession regardless of who you are, but more importantly leaving something kids can relate to.

“Tap was our lives and it also introduced us to a life which we could never imagine, especially coming from very humble beginnings in Philadelphia.”


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