Shirley Temple—the child movie star of the 1930s, who, essentially, made dimples and golden ringlets a thing—passed away Monday night at the age of 85. This is big news considering the huge (and super cute!) contribution she made to the dance world.
When you were just a wee tapper, did you do your first routine to the tune, "Baby Take a Bow"? If you did, you have Shirley Temple to thank. At 6 years old, she starred in the film, Stand Up and Cheer (1934), and performed "Baby Take a Bow" alongside adult tap dancer James Dunn. Take a look (and wait til you get to about 1:15...she makes the most darling face ever!):
Awwwwwww. Did your heart melt? Mine did.
A year later she made more cinematic history by performing next to Bill "Bojangles" Robinson in the film The Littlest Colonel (1935). It was the first time that a film featured an interracial dancing duo, and it was so successful that they starred in three more movies together. Here's the super famous stair dance from The Littlest Colonel, when Robinson persuades little Shirley to head upstairs to bed:
Here's another great dancing moment from their third film together, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (1938):
You can't have a round-up of Shirley Temple moments without this ditty from her 1935 film Curly Top:
Or this number, "On the Good Ship Lollipop" from Bright Eyes (1934):
And did you know that to celebrate her 10th birthday, a restaurant in Hollywood created the first Shirley Temple, the nonalcoholic drink with lemon-lime soda, grenadine and a maraschino cherry? She drank the first one that night, washing down a slice of a 25-layer cake.
Let's all have a Shirley Temple today in her honor.
Ahh Memorial Day Weekend is just three weeks away. We can almost smell the budding flowers, the fresh-cut grass, the charcoal grill...It's the first real taste of summer freedom.
But what could make this three-day weekend even better? Um, National Tap Dance Day, of course!
Bill "Bojangles" Robinson teaches Shirley Temple the stair dance in The Little Colonel (1935)
The holiday falls on May 25 each year, in honor of tap legend Bill "Bojangles" Robinson's birthday. President George H.W. Bush signed NTDD into law back in 1989, making this year its 25th anniversary...so naturally, it has to be extra special.
While there will be celebrations throughout the US, the American Tap Dance Foundation (ATDF) is setting up shop in NYC with Tap Attack, an outdoor event (free to the public) featuring tap students from ages 5 to 75. Things to look forward to: free lessons in how to do the Shim Sham, appearances by big-time names in the tap world (Chloé Arnold and Jason Samuels Smith, to name a couple), and performances by the talented young hoofers of ATDF's own Tap City Youth Ensemble. (Click here for more info on all the tap-tastic events scheduled.)
So if you're in or around NYC, mark your calendars for this Memorial Day Weekend, and be sure to make your way over to Pier 45 of the Hudson River Park on Sunday afternoon. In the meantime, here's a video of Bill "Bojangles" Robinson hoofin' it up with Shirley Temple in The Little Colonel: