October 24, 1997 - Issue: Vol. 143, No. 145 — Daily Edition105th Congress (1997 - 1998) - 1st Session
TRIBUTE TO LLOYD STOREY; Congressional Record Vol. 143, No. 145
(Extensions of Remarks - October 24, 1997)
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[Extensions of Remarks] [Page E2092] From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov] TRIBUTE TO LLOYD STOREY ______ HON. JOHN CONYERS, JR. of michigan in the house of representatives Friday, October 24, 1997 Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to Lloyd Storey, a man whose contributions to the uniquely American art form known as tap dancing earned him the title of Detroit's Ambassador of Tap. Mr. Storey died September 21 at home in Detroit. He was 74. Mr. Storey was artistic director of the Tap Repertory Ensemble and a faculty member at Detroit's Center for Creative Studies. Born in Detroit, he grew up in New York where he spent countless hours watching tap dancers in vaudeville shows. He quickly picked up tap's intricate rhythms, fused them with his own gliding energy, and developed a style that seemed effortless in its execution. When he was 14 years old, he began dancing in New York's Apollo Theatre as a member of the famed Apollo Chorus Boys. Although his career was interrupted by World War II where he served as a member of the U.S. Navy shore patrol, Ninth Naval District, he quickly fell into step upon his return home. One of Mr. Storey's most notable accomplishments was his membership in New York's exclusive Hoofer's Club. Throughout his life, Lloyd Storey introduced the joy and the beauty of tap dancing to appreciative audiences around the globe. A social worker by training, he knew the cultural and historical significance of this indigenous dance form, and he dedicated his life to teaching others of its value. Indeed, he was a major contributor to the rebirth of tap in our country. It was because of cultrual legends such as Mr. Storey that I intoduced legislation to designate May 25 as National Tap Dance Day. The companion bill was introduced by U.S. Senator Alfonse D'Amato. May 25 was selected as National Tap Dance Day because it is the anniversary of the birth of Bill ``Bojangles'' Robinson who made outstanding contributions to this art form on both stage and film. On November 7, 1989, President George Bush signed the bill into law. The language in the House Joint Resolution 131 says that tap dancing reflects ``the fusion of African and European cultures into an exemplification of the American spirit, that should be, through documentation, and archival and performance support, transmitted to succeeding generations.`` House Joint Resolution 131 continues: ``it is in the best interest of the people of our Nation to preserve, promote and celebrate this uniquely American art form'' because of tap dancing's historic and continuing influence on other American art forms. I am proud to say, Mr. Speaker, that Lloyd Storey was able to testify before the U.S. Congress on this bill. His role in gaining national recognition for tap dancing was noted by his family in the remarks in his obituary. Our society lost a true culture bearer with the death of Lloyd Storey. Over the years, he performed with Fletcher Henderson at Chicago's Regal Theatre, with Count Basie and Andy Kirk at the Apollo, and with Gregory Hines at Detroit's Fisher Theatre and Orchestra Hall. I only have time to skim the list of the gifted performers with whom he appeared. He displayed his talent with the likes of Louis Armstrong, Cab Calloway, Duke Ellington, Redd Foxx, Peg Leg Bates and Tony Bennett. In Detroit, a city that proudly claims Lloyd Storey as its own, this legendary performer was living proof that greatness attracts greatness. His performances with such luminaries as Dr. Theodore Harris Jr., J.C. Heard, Marcus Belgrave, and Dr. Beans Bowles lifted audiences from their chairs in a swell of pure joy. In the early 1950's Mr. Storey and Fletcher ``T Bone'' Hollingsworth founded an ensemble know as the Sultans. Whenever he was asked to name the person who had the greatest impact on this career, Mr. Storey did not hesitate. He named his great friend and mentor Bill ``Bojangles'' Robinson. Not only did Mr. Storey dance with Bojangles' famed troupe, he learned from him the importance of passing his craft to the next generation of tappers. Mr. Sotry taught at the advanced level and provided lectures and demonstrations both at home and abroad. In the 1980's Lloyd Storey taught tap in Europe and Japan as part of a cultural exchange program. In addition to his dance career, Mr. Storey earned a bachelor of arts degree and a master of social work degree from Wayne State University. He was a program director for the Neighborhood Service Organization in Detroit until his retirement in 1989. Mr. Storey's last professional performances were in 1995 with the European tour of the Tony-Award-winning Broadway production of ``Black and Blue.'' He was taken ill while performing on stage in Zurich, Switzerland. Lloyd Storey was far more than a gifted dancer and dedicated community activist. He was a man whose elegance on the dance floor was a reflection of his innate grace and style. He was a loving husband and father and a trusted friend whose buoyant spirit and lively sense of humor rivaled the movement of his feet. Survivors include his wife, Joyce; five children and four grandchildren. Mr. Speaker, our Nation and our world are richer because a gentleman named Lloyd Storey was gracious enough to share his love of tap dancing with us. ____________________