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Young Hoofers®
Artistic Director: Traci Mann

The Young Hoofers were created through sweat, ambition, and soul. The "Young Hoofers" were founded by Traci Mann, a woman who studied under great dance masters, such as Buster Brown and Chuck Green. Mrs. Mann, who was raised on a Navajo reservation in New Mexico, came to New York in 1988 with only $800 and a one way bus ticket. She had hopes of becoming a ballet dancer, but when she attended a tap jam, she fell in love with it. At that point Traci Mann quit ballet dancing to learn tap. She soon went on to tap with the greatest tap dancers, like Liza Minelli and Gregory Hines.

Ms. Mann was introduced to the restoration theater in 1994 by, her good friend and colleague, Megan Haungs. She asked Traci if she wanted to teach tap at the theater Mrs. Haung's mother owned. Since she needed a part time job, she agreed to teach a tap class for young boys and girls.

Soon Ms. Mann felt that she had to give up the whole class because of an arduous commute. However, six months later the mothers of her students called informing her that the boys were really serious about dancing, and Traci soon returned to the boys. The boys became more disciplined, stronger and worked together as a team, and because of their hared work and dedication Ms. Mann took them around to different schools in Bed-Stuy and Queens to perform.

The boys became more focused as young tappers, and earned the name "The Young Hoofers." An appropriate title because when they tap, they stomp with great force, as if they had hooves for feet. The Young Hoofers now have as many as ten members and they range in age from six to twenty years old. The way these young hoofers tap, they're sure to stomp their way to success.

Reproduced with permission from HarlemLive; Author: Damian Gaillard

 

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