Gregory Hines

Standing in line at the Post Office just got a little more exciting.

Last week, the United States Postal Service announced that they will be releasing a stamp commemorating the late tap dancer Gregory Hines. His stamp, which will be available for purchase at local post offices and online beginning January 28, is the 42nd stamp in the Black Heritage collection. Other honorees in this collection include Harriet Tubman, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and Malcolm X.

Gregory Hines USPS stamp

Born in New York City in 1946, Hines began dancing at the young age of two, transitioning to a semi-professional dancer only three years later. Dancing alongside his brother Maurice in an act called "The Hines Kids," the duo performed throughout the city in Nightclubs, learning from veteran acts like The Nicholas Brothers. As a dancer, he appeared in films like White Knights alongside Mikhail Baryshnikov (remember that turning sequence?) and Tap. He also was on Broadway, and won a Tony Award for Jelly's Last Jam in 1992. Hines even had his own TV show, the Gregory Hines Show in 1997 on CBS, and co-hosted the Tony Awards in both 1995 and 2002. Hines passed away of liver cancer in 2003. 

This isn't the first time that USPS has paid tribute to some famous figures in our field, however. Back in 2012, the federal agency celebrated National Dance Day by releasing four stamps honoring four of the most influential choreographers in history: Isadora Duncan, José Limón, Katherine Dunham and Bob Fosse. The stamps were available between July 28 and August 31st of that year. Nigel Lythgoe, co-creator of So You Think You Can Dance and the founder of National Dance Day hoped "these stamps serve not only to educate people about the art of dance and its history, but also to motivate them to dance themselves.” 

Let's hope that this latest release inspires people to watch a few of his films, learn more about this influential dancer's career and maybe even pick up a pair of tap shoes themselves!

About the author

Anne Luben has performed works by notable choreographers such as Donald McKayle, Bill T. Jones, Jiri Kylian, Idan Cohen, Alex Ketley, and Summer Lee Rhatigan, among others.