The Cook & Brown Tap Experience
May 27-29, 2006

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This past workshop in the Tradition In Tap - Series
was dedicated to the work of 'Tap Giants':
living legend Mr. Ernest 'Brownie' Brown
and the late great Mr. Charles 'Cookie' Cook

The Cook & Brown Tap Experience The Cook & Brown Tap Experience
Photo credit: Circuit Productions ©





Pictures Taken in Classes
The Workshop's Poster
Participants Showcase - Program
Resources
Workshop Faculty
Workshop Description





This Exciting Tap Workshop Included:

  • Original Choreography created by the 'Masters'.
  • Honorary Master Classes by leading tap artists.
  • Participants Showcase.
  • Tradition In Tap - Award Presentation.
  • Tap History Talks.
  • Video Clips.
  • Tap Technique.
  • Special Program for Young Tappers.





  • Charles 'Cookie' Cook
    Charles 'Cookie' Cook
    Photo credit: Circuit Productions ©
    Ernest 'Brownie' Brown
    Ernest 'Brownie' Brown
    Photo credit: Reggio 'The Hoofer' McLaughlin ©





    About:

    Ernest Brown and Charles Cook were both born in 1917. By age five, Cookie was working with Sarah Venable in an act called Mammy and Her Picks. The 'Picks', who could really sing and dance, often opened for a show's headline act. When one of the team left the show, Venable hired Ernest 'Brownie' Brown on Cookie's recommendation. The two youngsters later performed in the act Garbage and His Two Cans (they were the cans).

    In 1930, Cook & Brown formed a team that blended tumbling and acrobatics with dancing and comedy. They performed first at the College Inn in Chicago. Cook, who became known for his Russian floor dancing, was the tall, grouchy foil to the smaller, more spirited Brown. Their frantic, knock-about style - developed through study of circus tumblers and vaudeville comedians - was unmatched.

    Arriving in Harlem in the early 1930's, the team was an immediate success, appearing in the Cotton Club revue, Get Lucky, and becoming regulars at the Apollo Theatre. During their over 45 year partnership they headlined at the New York Roxy, Radio City Music Hall, London's Palladium, the Latin Casino in Paris and more. Both performed the 'specialty dance', Too Darn Hot in the 1948 production of Cole Porter's 'Kiss Me Kate'.

    Cook & Brown were among the founding members of the original Copasetics, an elite tap company that was formed in memory of Bill 'Bojangles' Robinson. They appeared with Dick Cavett on national television, with Maurice & Gregory Hines in the film The Cotton Club, as well as in three documentaries: Brenda Bufalino's Great Feats of Feet, Susan Goldbetter's Cookie's Scrapbook and Jane Goldberg's By Word of Foot.

    Charles Cook died in August 1991 but not before sharing an incredible tap legacy with hundreds of tap enthusiasts, young and old. He taught regularly at Clark Center in NYC and was a guest at Yale, Howard, the Smithsonian, Lincoln Center, and the tap festivals of the 1970's and '80's. For nearly 15 years he worked steadily with dance partner, Jane Goldberg. In the last decade of his life he collaborated with his former student, Susan Goldbetter by then his producer and manager, on a series of projects including the award winning video Essentials of Tap Technique and the slide montage, Cookie's Harlem - which upon his passing became the impetus for Goldbetter's multi-media Jazz exhibit: Cookie's Harlem, A Tap Dancer's World.

    Ernest Brown (90) received the Hoofers Awards from the St. Louis and the NYC Tap Festivals, the Flo-Bert Award from the NY Committee to Celebrate National Tap Dance Day, and the Living Treasure Award from the Oklahoma City University. He is active in performing, teaching and lecturing with his current partner Reggio 'The Hoofer' McLaughlin, and recently appeared on the tap documentary 'JUBA - Masters of Tap'.






    At the 13th St. Louis Tap Festival
    Photo credit: Melba Huber ©
    At the 13th St. Louis Tap Festival
    L to R: Ulrike Dinger, Prof. Robert L. Reed, Robert Reed III, Rosie Radiator, Melba Huber
    Prof. Jo Rowan, Ernest 'Brownie' Brown, Reggio 'The Hoofer' McLaughlin,
    Avi Miller, Ofer Ben & the Rad-Tap Dancers


    At the 13th St. Louis Tap FestivalAt the 13th St. Louis Tap Festival
    Photo credit: Melba Huber ©
    At the 13th St. Louis Tap Festival
    L: Brownie & Reggio teach a class.
    R: Dr. Jimmy Slyde, Prof. Robert L. Reed, Ernest 'Brownie' Brown,
    Reggio 'The Hoofer' McLaughlin, & Jason Samuels-Smith





    Resources:
    More about Cook & Brown can be found at:



    Ernest 'Brownie' Brown with his current dance partner - Reggio 'The Hoofer' McLaughlin
    Photo credit: Reggio 'The Hoofer' McLaughlin ©
    Ernest 'Brownie' Brown with his current
    dance partner - Reggio 'The Hoofer' McLaughlin





    Workshop Faculty:
    Click on a name for extended bio and pictures


    The Prof. LaVaughn Robinson Tap Experience
  • Ofer Ben
  • Ernest 'Brownie' Brown
  • Kathleen Cirioli
  • Prof. Mickey Davidson
  • David 'Tula' Gilmore
  • Jane Goldberg
  • Prof. Susan Goldbetter
  • Melba Huber
  • Reggio 'The Hoofer' McLaughlin
  • Avi Miller
  • Shelley Oliver
  • Tina Pratt
  • Prof. Robert L. Reed
  • Germaine Salsberg
  • Prof. Hank Smith






  • Workshop Description:
    An intensive weekend of the exciting Cook & Brown Tap Experience,
    Included:

    Tap Courses:
    With:
    Ernest 'Brownie' Brown, Prof. Mickey Davidson,
    Reggio 'The Hoofer' McLaughlin, Shelley Oliver & Tina Pratt
    • Choreography #1: Old Man Time - The Cane Dance
      Ernest 'Brownie' Brown, assisted by his dance partner Reggio 'The Hoofer' McLaughlin, taught an original routine named Old Man Time. This routine is performed with canes (therefore nicknamed 'The Cane Dance') and is a part of the 'Cook & Brown' repertory.


    • Choreography #2: Brownie's Trademark - The Jazz Dance
      Ernest 'Brownie' Brown, assisted by his dance partner Reggio 'The Hoofer' McLaughlin, taught an original routine named The Jazz Dance. This routine was choreographed by Brownie and enhances his own style of swing, turns, stomps, and bounces.

    • Choreography #3: Breezin' Along with the Breeze
      Prof. Mickey Davidson taught an original routine. This slow 'soft shoe' was choreographed by Charles 'Cookie' Cook.

    • Choreography #4: Wave
      Tina Pratt taught an original routine, choreographed by Charles 'Cookie' Cook, based on Antonio Carlos Jobim's tune by the same name.

    • Choreography #5: Bambalina
      Shelley Oliver taught this original routine, a fast 'Time Step' sequence choreographed by Charles 'Cookie' Cook. based on George Gershwin's tune by the same name.


    Honorary Tap Master Classes:
    With:
    Jane Goldberg & Prof. Robert L. Reed
      Two leading tap artists taught reflections on Charles 'Cookie' Cook & Ernest 'Brownie' Brown's legacy through their personal work. Each drew on Cook & Brown's influence and contribution to his / her own career.


    Tradition In Tap - Award Presentation:
    With:
    Sali Ann Kriegsman & Germaine Salsberg
      Sali Ann Kriegsman presented Mr. Ernest 'Brownie' Brown and the Charles 'Cookie' Cook Collection (organized by Circuit Productions / Prof. Susan Goldbetter, producer); and Germaine Salsberg presented Sali Ann Kriegsman with the Tradition In Tap Awards, for: "Outstanding Achievements & Significant Contribution To The Tradition And Art Of Tap Dance".


    Tap History Talks:
    With:
    Melba Huber
      Melba Huber is one of a few tap historians who write about the history of tap and the many artists who play / played important roles in it's development & growth. She led the emotional 'Tap History Talks' while interviewing Ernest 'Brownie' Brown, while adding her own personal input.


    Video Presentation:
    With:
    Prof. Hank Smith & Prof. Susan Goldbetter
      Hank Smith is a well known tap dancer and collector of video & movie clips. He has an extensive library of material starting from the early days of tap dance. Hank, along with Prof. Susan Goldbetter, presented some clips of Cook & Brown from their private collections.


    Tap Exercises:
    With:
    Germaine Salsberg, Kathleen Cirioli, Avi Miller & Ofer Ben
      Warm-up for each day with Germaine Salsberg, Kathleen Cirioli, Avi Miller & Ofer Ben who led morning tap drills - each with his/her own unique teaching style.


    Participants Showcase:
    With:
    Germaine Salsberg
      A happy event concluded the first day of classes in this exciting Cook & Brown Tap Experience. Germaine Salsberg emceed an informal Participants Showcase at the Peter Nortan Symphony - Leonard Nimoy Thalia Theater, in the presence of the 'Master Himself', Ernest 'Brownie' Brown.






    Glasgow Empire Theater - Playbill - 1936Glasgow Empire Theater - Playbill - 1936
    Photo credit: Circuit Productions ©
    Glasgow Empire Theater - Playbill - 1936






    Duke EllingtonElla FitzgeraldLouis Armstrong
    Photo credit: Circuit Productions ©
    Autographed pictures from "Cookie's Scrapbook":
    Duke Ellington; Ella Fitzgerald; Louis Armstrong





    Charles 'Cookie' Cook & Tap Producer Prof. Susan Goldbetter
    Photo credit: Circuit Productions ©
    Charles 'Cookie' Cook & Tap Producer Prof. Susan Goldbetter


    Charles 'Cookie' Cook & Prof. Mickey DavidsonCharles 'Cookie' Cook & Tina Pratt
    Photo credit: George Ligon ©                                 Photo credit: Raymond Ross ©
    L: Charles 'Cookie' Cook & Prof. Mickey Davidson
    R: Charles 'Cookie' Cook & Tina Pratt


    Charles 'Cookie' Cook & Jane GoldbergCharles 'Cookie' Cook & Jane Goldberg
    Photo credit: Pamela Duffy 1983 ©
    Charles 'Cookie' Cook & Jane Goldberg





    Cookie performs with drummer, Louis Belson - 1988, Boston - The Great Tap Reunion
    Photo credit: Circuit Productions ©
    Cookie performs with drummer, Louis Belson
    1988, Boston - The Great Tap Reunion
    produced by Jeremy Alliger - Dance Umbrella.





    Brownie & Reggio teach Master Classes at Katleen Cirioli's Academy in New JerseyBrownie & Reggio teach Master Classes at Katleen Cirioli's Academy in New Jersey
    Photo credit: Kathleen Cirioli ©
    Brownie & Reggio teach Master Classes
    at Katleen Cirioli's Academy in New Jersey





    Mammy and her Picks - Cook & Brown as children
    Photo credit: Circuit Productions ©
    Mammy and her Picks - Cook & Brown as children