Students Tap Tribute to Bojangles

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The Public School 51 Elias Howe students Thorin Watts, 8, and Coleman Williams, 7, have been practicing their tap dancing moves since January. They will be taking them to the stage alongside roughly 100 other second and third graders in honor of the tap dance legend Bill "Bojangles" Robinson on Friday.

Both students say they are nervous but are looking forward to the performance.

"My favorite move is the dig spank toe heel," Thorin said.

Toni Noblett taught the young students the tap dance routines through the program Spotlight on Fitness, which provides physical education and arts instruction to pre-kindergarten through fourth-grade students at P.S. 51.

"Sometimes kids are not very articulate and tap gives them a very safe voice," Ms. Noblett said. "They don't have to talk. They don't have to worry about choosing words. They can just speak from their spirit."

The program also provides gently used tap shoes to the students. Thorin says he and his classmates will keep dancing long after their performance.

"We want to keep dancing until we grow up," he said.

Friday is National Tap Dance Day and would have been Mr. Robinson's 134th birthday.