JIMMY PAYNE, JR.

Jimmy Payne Jr. began his tap dance lessons at Jimmy Payne School of Dance located in Chicago. His teacher and father was legendary dance master Jimmy Payne, who taught tap and Afro-Caribbean dance to thousands of dance enthusiasts and professionals for over seventy years. Jimmy Payne Jr. continues the tradition by performing and teaching in Chicago and abroad. 

 

Jimmy has performed at the Chicago Blues Festival, the Chicago Jazz Festival, Dance Chicago, and with Chicago Human Rhythm Project. He also has performed with legendary saxophonist Von Freeman at the Chicago Cultural Center, with jazz great Orbert Davis at the Arts Club in Chicago, and with Bradley Williams 21st Century Jazz Review, whom he accompanied on a trip to India for a series of concerts. 







DURING THE CDF YEAR

Jimmy Payne’s Rhythm Of Life is a live performance and documentary that 

chronicles the life of dance legend, Jimmy Payne, who taught, choreographed, and performed Afro-Caribbean and tap dance to thousands of students for over 70 years.

 

Born in 1905 in the Panama Canal Zone to a Cuban mother and Barbadian father, Jimmy Payne would become one of the most sought out dance teachers and performers of his generation.  After emigrating from Cuba to the United States in 1922, he began formal dance training at The Billy Pierce School Of Dance in New York under the direction of Buddy Bradley.  After opening a dance school on Broadway in New York, Jimmy Payne began to attract many stars of stage and screen including: June Allison, Lena Horne, and The Blackburn Twins. He was also instrumental in bringing African dance to the stage in New York on Broadway. 

 

Critics have described Jimmy as "a tap classicist with a composers mind," (Chicago Sun Times) "the real deal," (Maui Times) and the Chicago Tribune referred to him as "smoking virtuosity." Jimmy has also won an award with Black Theater Alliance for best performance in concert. He currently teaches at Columbia College Chicago, Chicago Multi-Cultural Dance Center, and Stone  Academy. 

 

Jimmy's style of tap is rooted in intricate rhythms and movement. This style of tap is commonly referred to as rhythm tap and was taught by Jimmy Payne Sr.  Jimmy Payne Sr. was taught by Broadway legend Buddy Bradley in the mid 1920's.

 

 

 

 

In 1946 Jimmy Payne brought his talents to Chicago where he introduced Chicago to Calypso via  The Blue Angel Night Club where he performed and choreographed Calypso Carnival, a review that ran for over two years. This cast included Nichelle Nichols of Star Trek, singer/ songwriter Irving Burgie, who wrote Day-O, and writer/actress Camille Yarborough.  In 1947 Jimmy Payne opened a dance studio in Chicago and began teaching AfroCaribbean and tap dance to both dance enthusiast and professionals. He taught and performed into his early nineties and shared his gift with thousands of students and audiences alike.  He passed in the year 2000 at the age of 95. His legacy continues through his many students including his son and daughter Sara Payne and Jimmy Payne Jr.  Choreographed by Jimmy Payne Jr. and documented by Sara Payne and Jimmy Payne Jr. with support from Chicago Dance Makers Forum.  Jimmy Payne’s Rhythm Of Life is the story of an American trailblazer in the field of dance.  Jimmy Payne’s Rhythm of Life is a show that you don't want to miss!