Bates, Clayton

October 11, 1907–December 6, 1998

Tap Dance Hall of Fame

On Broadway in the 1930s, he reinvented such popular tap steps as the Shim Sham Shimmy, Susie-Q, and Truckin' by enhancing them with the rhythmic combination of his deep-toned left-leg peg and the high-pitched metallic right-foot tap. As one of the black tap dancers able to cross the color barrier, Bates joined performers on the white vaudeville circuit of Keith & Lowe and performed on the same bill as Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, Fred Astaire, and Gene Kelly.

Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Title Bates, Clayton
  • Coverage October 11, 1907–December 6, 1998
  • Author
  • Keywords Tap dancer, cottonseed-oil mill, stepped into the open auger conveyer, amputation, TOBA (Theatre Owners Booking Association),
  • Website Name South Carolina Encyclopedia
  • Publisher University of South Carolina, Institute for Southern Studies
  • URL
  • Access Date April 13, 2021
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update September 14, 2016
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