Top 14 Most Famous Tap Dancers of All Time (Male & Female)

Most Famous Tap Dancers

Dive into the world of tap dancing and learn about the iconic performers who have shaped the art form.

Tap dancing combine music  that has always been popular due to its distinctive energy, vitality, and creativity.

This list highlights the most famous tap dancers throughout history to inspire those who love this timeless art form.

Famous female tap dancers

Discover the incredible talent of the top famous female tap dancers in history. This list showcases their extraordinary skills and contributions to the art of tap dancing.

1. Chloe Arnold

Chloe Arnold

A talented tap dancer, Chloe Arnold, was born on August 5, 1980. She is also known for her roles as an actress, director, choreographer, and producer. Chloe Arnold was nominated for an Emmy in the past for her work.

She is most recognized for her dancing career, as she was invited to participate in Season 11 of the popular FOX show “So You Think You Can Dance.”

At a young age, Chloe began her career in Washington, performing at Dance Place and The Kennedy Center in the movie “All-Star Tap Revue.”

When she was 16 years old, Debbie Allen invited her to participate in the film “Brothers of the Knight.”

Chloe has continued to work with Allen for over a decade since then. In addition, Chloe has directed numerous fitness, music, and “I Love Tap” videos for various artists.

2. Ann Miller

Ann Miller

Ann Miller, a well-known tap dancer, was born in America on April 12, 1923.

She started her career as an actress in movies like “You Can’t Take It with You” and “Room Service.” Later, she played the lead role in the classic musical film “Easter Parade.”

Miller was known for her lightning-fast tap dancing skills. Studio publicists claimed she could tap 500 times per minute but could do even better.

Her talent was recognized, and she was invited to be a dance instructor in one episode of “Dances With Tools.”

Sadly, she passed away on January 22, 2004.

3. Vera-Ellen


Vera-Ellen, a famous American tap dancer and actress, was born on February 16, 1921, and passed away on August 30, 1981.

She was known for her exceptional talent in tap dancing and her collaborations with renowned performers such as Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor, Danny Kaye, and Fred Astaire.

She also starred in the lead role in the movie: “On the Town.”

At the young age of 10, she began dancing and quickly became a skilled dancer. By 13, she won the “Major Bowes Amateur Hour” and started her professional career.

Vera-Ellen debuted in 1939 in the musical “Very Warm for May” by Jerome Kern and performed in many Broadway shows, including “Panama Hattie.”

4. Lady Di (Dianne Walker)

Lady Di (Dianne Walker)

Dianne Walker, a talented tap dancer from America, was born on March 8, 1951.

She has dedicated 30 years to her dancing career, performing on Broadway, in films and television, and at global dance concerts.

She serves as the Artistic Director for the TapDancin, Inc. company located in Massachusetts.

Dianne initially trained in Boston with several notable dancers, such as Mildred Kennedy-Bradic, Jimmy “Sir Slyde” Mitchell, Leon Collins, and Jimmy Slyde.

She turned professional in 1979 and became the Director of a dance studio in Massachusetts.

Dianne has received numerous awards throughout her impressive career, including the Tapestry Award, the Living Treasure from American Dance Award, and the Flo-Bert Award on National Tap Dance Day.

5. Eleanor Powell

Eleanor Powell

Eleanor Powell was born on November 21, 1912, in America.

She was a talented tap dancer and actress, best known for her performances in musical films during the 1930s and 1940s.

Powell was a top star at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer during the Hollywood Golden Age and appeared in vaudeville, Broadway, and musical movies to showcase her dancing skills.

She starred in several noteworthy films, including Broadway Melody of 1940, Rosalie, Broadway Melody of 1938, and Born to Dance.

She was widely recognized as one of Hollywood’s most incredible female tap dancers of the studio era.

She passed away on February 11, 1982.

Famous male tap dancers

This  is the top famous male tap dancers who have left a lasting impact on the art form.

1. Savion Glover – The most famous tap dancer in the world

Savion Glover

Savion Glover, a renowned tap dancer, choreographer, and actor, was born in America on November 19, 1973. He attended Newark Arts secondary school and graduated in 1991.

Initially, He adopted the “young and funk” style, which he defined as centered around the bass line and keeping people moving to the beat.

His teacher, Gregory Hines, a celebrated tap dancer, once hailed Savion Glover as the most excellent tap dancer of all time.

Savion Glover has a unique ability to adapt old-school moves to his style, upgrading and transforming them.

Glover’s exceptional talent lies in his ability to learn rapidly. He has been taught by several legendary tappers, including Jimmy Slyde, the Hines brothers, Sammy Davis Jr., LeTang, Howard Sims, and many others.

2. Gregory Hines

Gregory Hines

Gregory Hines, known for his tap dancing, choreography, acting, and singing talents, was born on February 14, 1946, and passed away on August 9, 2003.

He was widely recognized for his impressive work, including memorable performances in Ben on Will & Grace, The Gregory Hines Show, Running Scared, The Cotton Club, and Wolfen.

Hines’ abilities in improvising tap steps, rhythms, and sounds were exceptional. He possessed the skills of a skilled drummer who could create solo beats.

He was also known for his creativity in phrasing tap steps, which depended on the sounds produced. Hines’ favorite outfit was a tight shirt paired with loose-fitting pants.

Beyond his accomplishments, Gregory Hines played a significant role as a member of the Manhattan Tap board of directors and was a member of the foundation of American Tap Dance.

3. Fred Astaire

Fred Astaire

Fred Astaire, a celebrated American tap dancer, was born on May 10, 1899, and passed away on June 22, 1987.

He was not only a dancer but also a singer, choreographer, actor, and television presenter.

He is considered one of the most excellent dancers in film history due to his unique sense of perfectionism, innovation, and rhythm.

One of the most notable things about Astaire was his partnership with Ginger Rogers. Together, they starred in a series of musicals, including Shall We Dance, Swing Time, and Top Hat.

Fred Astaire was renowned for his ability to express both light-hearted adventures and deep emotions through dance.

He was an expert in controlling technique and had an exceptional sense of rhythm. One of his most famous works is “I Want To Be A Dancin’ Man,” released in 1952.

In summary, Fred Astaire was a legendary figure in the world of dance, and his contributions will always be remembered.

4. Howard “Sandman” Sims

Howard Sims

Howard Sims, a renowned black tap dancer, was born on January 24, 1917, and passed away on May 20, 2003.

He began his dancing career in vaudeville and earned the nickname Sandman by performing in a sandbox he created. The sand helped enhance and adjust the sound of his steps.

Thanks to his remarkable contribution to tap dancing, Sandman Sims became a cultural ambassador and represented the United States with his dance performances worldwide.

He starred in the 1989 dance film, performing alongside Sammy Davis Jr., Savion Glover, and Gregory Hines, showcasing his skills and talent.

Additionally, he played a tap-dancing teacher in an episode of The Cosby Show.

5. The Nicholas Brothers

The Nicholas Brothers

Fayard Nicholas (1914 – 2006) and Harold Nicholas(1921 – 2000), known as the Nicholas Brothers, were a renowned tap dancing duo famous for their unique “flash dancing” techniques.

Their exceptional creativity and artistic abilities ranked them as the top tap dancers of their time.

Their talents quickly gained recognition, and they became well-known throughout Philadelphia.

Their debut performance occurred on a radio program called “The Horn and Hardart Kiddie Hour,” where they were discovered by the Lafayette manager while dancing at the Pearl.

The Nicholas Brothers dedicated over 60 years to the tap dance industry, retiring in 1991.

A documentary film was produced to honor their remarkable careers, featuring tributes from those who admired their talents.

6. Bill “Bojangles” Robinson

Bill “Bojangles” Robinson

Bill “Bojangles” Robinson (1878 – 1949) is widely regarded as one of the greatest tap dancers of all time. Born in 1878, his unique style and dancing prowess would define the Golden Age of Tap Dancing.

He was one of Hollywood’s first African-American superstars, performing in dozens of films over four decades.

His signature move, The Stair Dance, quickly became world-renowned for its complexity and grace.

With perfect timing and an immense amount of skill, Bojangles was able to create a powerful display that has never been replicated since.

He left an indelible mark on the art form and the entertainment industry, earning him the title of “the king of tap”.

7. John W. Bubbles

John W. Bubbles

John W. Bubbles, (1902 – 1986) one of the best tap dancers of all time, was known for his smooth and intricate movements.

His mastery of rhythm, timing and grace earned him the nickname “The Father of Rhythm Tap”.

He started out as a song-and-dance team with Ford Lee Washington in vaudeville before going solo and becoming one of the most celebrated performers in Hollywood.

He went on to star in numerous Broadway shows such as Shuffle Along, Runnin’ Wild and Hot Chocolates, while also recording records that showcased his unique style.

While his contribution to the art form may not always be recognized or remembered today, he will always remain an inspiration to all those who love and appreciate tap dancing.

8. Charles “Honi” Coles

Charles Coles

Charles “Honi” Coles, (1911 – 1992), one of the most renowned tap dancers of all time, had a career that spanned six decades and brought joy to his audiences worldwide.

An innovator in tap dancing, Coles is widely recognized for introducing jazz steps and rhythms into his performances, thus creating an entirely new style of tap dance.

He trained with some of the most incredible tap dancers of the era and taught at many notable institutions, such as the American Ballet Theater and Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival.

His signature moves are still used by performers today, proving that his influence on modern-day tap dancing will remain forever.

With a legacy like the honors he earned in various awards, including numerous Tony Award nominations for Choreography, it’s no doubt Charles “Honi” Coles is among one of history’s finest Tap Dancers ever known!

9. Gene Kelly

Gene Kelly

Gene Kelly (1912 – 1996) is a legendary tap dancer who has left an indelible mark on film, stage, and television.

Known for his iconic dance performances in movies like Singin’ in the Rain and An American in Paris, his career spanned five decades.

Gene Kelly’s ability to choreograph and improvise was unmatched, blending jazz, classic ballet, social dancing, acrobatics, comedy, mime, and storytelling into every performance.

His infectious energy drew in audiences who couldn’t help but be captivated by his joyful presence.

His effortless grace on the dance floor transported audiences worldwide, showcasing his passion for music and dance.

Gene Kelly’s legacy as a master of his craft continues to inspire dancers everywhere.


Who is the most famous tap dancer of all time?

The most famous tap dancer of all time is arguably the late Gregory Hines.

Known for his unique style, which blended traditional jazz and modern styles, He was a force to be reckoned with on the dance floor.

He was renowned for his incredible foot speed and masterful improvisation and is often credited with revolutionizing tap dancing in the 20th Century.

Who is the world’s best tap dancer?

The world’s best tap dancer is arguably Savion Glover, who has been praised for his talent and creativity by icons in the entertainment industry such as Mel Brooks, Gregory Hines, Sammy Davis Jr., and many more.

Savion Glover began honing his craft at the tender age of 4 and since then has gone on to be awarded numerous accolades including a Tony Award for Choreography in 1996 for his show Bring In ‘da Noise, Bring In ‘da Funk.

His incredible ability to bring out the beauty of tap dancing through musicality and intricate rhythms has set him apart from other dancers in the field.

Who is the king of tap dancing?

The “King of Tap Dancing” is considered to be Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, an American entertainer and actor who became one of the most famous dancers in the world during the Golden Age of Hollywood.

He developed a unique tap style that combined gracefulness with percussive feet movements.

Bojangles influenced many later famous dancers including Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, and Sammy Davis Jr., and his signature move, the stair dance, continues to be popular today.

His accomplishments also included starring in films such as The Little Colonel (1935) and Stormy Weather (1943), as well as being an iconic black performer during a period when African-Americans were often sidelined by the entertainment industry.

Who was the first famous tap dancer?

The first famous tap dancer was an African American vaudeville performer named Bill “Bojangles” Robinson.

He is credited with popularizing tap dance in the United States and became one of the most prominent male dancers in showbiz during his lifetime.

Who was the fastest female tap dancer?

Jeni Le Gon, an American actress and dancer from San Antonio, Texas, holds the title of the fastest female tap dancer.

She made history by signing a long-term contract with a Hollywood studio in 1935 for her appearance in the musical “One Night of Love,” becoming the first African-American woman to do so.

She also showcased her remarkable dancing abilities in movies such as “Broadway Melody of 1944,” “Dancing Pirate,” and “Strike Me Pink.”

Is Tom Holland a tap dancer?

No, Tom Holland is not a tap dancer. He is an English actor and dancer who gained massive popularity after portraying the role of Spider-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe films.

Is tap dance still popular?

Yes. Tap dance is still popular today, with many people around the world enjoying the art form.

Tap dancing has been around for centuries and continues to be seen in musicals, movies, and on the stage.

It has become a popular way to express yourself through movement, rhythm, and music, all while having fun!

Tap performances can range from simple solos to complex ensemble pieces, and are often accompanied by energetic percussion or live music.

Who is the famous tap dancer in the UK?

The UK has produced some incredibly talented tap dancers over the years. One of the most famous is Jason Samuel Smith, a British tap dancer widely regarded as one of the best in the world.

He was trained by two of the greatest masters in British Tap Dance: Bobby Miller and Jimmy Slyde.

Who invented tap dancing?

Tap dancing, also known as rhythm tapping, was thought to have been invented by an African-American man named William Henry Lane in the 1840s.

He had learned the art of “juba” dancing while performing in a traveling show in his home state of Rhode Island.

He eventually developed his unique style which he called “jigging”, and this dance form is what later became known as tap dancing.

As the popularity of this dance spread among African American communities, some experts suggest that its beginnings may date back even further.

The popularity of tap grew further after vaudeville acts incorporated it into their performances in the late 19th century.

Today, tap remains one of the most popular forms of theatrical dance worldwide.


These are the Most Famous Tap Dancers in history, known for their impressive performances and long-lasting contributions to the industry.

Their names will undoubtedly be remembered for generations to come.

Do you think any other dancers deserve to be included on this list? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

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