TRIBUTE TO LLOYD STOREY; Congressional Record Vol. 143, No. 145
(Extensions of Remarks - October 24, 1997)

Text available as:

Formatting necessary for an accurate reading of this text may be shown by tags (e.g., <DELETED> or <BOLD>) or may be missing from this TXT display. For complete and accurate display of this text, see the PDF.

[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page E2092]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []

                        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 
  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.