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date: 20 August 2019

Draper, Paullocked

  • Claude Conyers


(b Florence, Italy, Oct 25, 1909; d Woodstock, NY, Sept 20, 1996). American tap dancer and teacher of Italian birth. Born abroad but reared in America, he grew up in a home filled with classical music. While working as an instructor in ballroom dancing at an Arthur Murray studio, he learned a bit about tap dancing, and he decided to make dance his career. Most tap dancers at the time favored a heavy, percussive sound; Draper developed his own style, employing the lightest of taps. To broaden his range of movement, he began to study ballet in the early 1930s while continuing to perform in New York supper clubs. In 1941 he teamed up with Larry Adler, the harmonica virtuoso, and they became a world-famous duo, performing together until 1949. In the first half of their act, Adler would play pieces by Bach, Mozart, and Debussy; Draper would dance to the music of Handel, Vivaldi, and Scarlatti; the second half was devoted to jazz, Broadway show tunes, and American folk songs. Draper also appeared in two movies: ...

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