Gregory Hines was honored by USPS this week for his tap-dancing artistry as well as his career as an actor and singer.
During the Jan. 28 dedication ceremony for the new Gregory Hines stamp in New York City, he was hailed for elevating tap dancing into an art form.
“Gregory Hines was an extraordinary artist in every sense of the word,” said Acting Chief Postal Inspector Gary Barksdale, who led the ceremony. “This Forever stamp pays tribute to his life and career as an actor, singer and most importantly, as a performer whose unique style of tap dancing injected new artistry and excitement into a traditional American form.”
Joining Barksdale to unveil the stamp were Maurice Hines, actor, dancer, choreographer and Hines’ brother; Daria Hines, actress, costume designer and Hines’ daughter; actor, dancer and choreographer Savion Glover; Tony Waag, the American Tap Dance Foundation’s artistic director; Chloe and Maud Arnold, dancers and co-founders of the DC Tap Festival; and Jason Samuels Smith, an award-winning jazz tap dancer and humanitarian.
The stamp, the 42nd entry in the Black Heritage series, emphasizes the versatility of Hines (1946-2003), who danced, acted and sang on Broadway, television and in movies.
The stamp is available at Post Offices and usps.com.
Hines’ style, which he called “improvography,” gave tap the physical and emotional freedoms that called to new generations of dancers.
Hines was nominated for Tony Awards in the 1970s for his performances in three Broadway musicals and won a Tony Award in 1992 for his starring role in “Jelly’s Last Jam.”
He also appeared in films such as “The Cotton Club” and “White Nights”; hosted an Emmy-winning PBS show about tap dancing; and recorded a No. 1 R&B duet with Luther Vandross.
In his remarks, Glover, who won a Tony Award in 1996 for choreography, discussed Hines’ role in exposing new audiences to tap.
“I don’t exist without this man,” Glover said, pointing to an image of the stamp. “These young people that you see, they aren’t born without this. We are not here today without this.”