Actor and dancer Maurice Hines has been gracing stages since the age of five, and continues to thrill audiences nearly seven decades later. Alongside his brother, the late Gregory Hines, the Tony Award-nominated performer continues to honor the past while influencing the present.
Born December 13, 1943, Hines and his younger sibling began their tap dance training in their native New York under the instruction of legendary choreographer Henry LeTang. As their popularity and talent grew, their father, also named Maurice, joined his sons onstage as a trio act. They took their show on the road and around the globe, which catapulted the Hines Brothers into international fame.
Hines made his official debut on the coveted Broadway stage in 1954 but truly began to find his “footing” in the late ’70’s. His work as a performer in the 1986 Broadway play, Uptown…It’s Hot earned him a Tony Award nod for Best Actor in a Musical. Hines also crafted and directed the 2006 Broadway play, Hot Feet.
Dance has been an integral part of Hines’ career and he continues to examine its role in our lives in his latest production, Tappin’ Thru Life. The play honors his brother and also pays respect to stars of old such as Lena Horne, Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald, among others. In an interview, Hines says he was inspired to create Tappin’ Thru Life after an article on tap dancing and the arts neglected to mention his brother’s role in revitalizing the art.
The Hines brothers were estranged for many years because of a dispute they largely kept out of the public eye. But shortly before Gregory’s death in 2003, the brothers made peace with one another.
Hines has said that the world of dance and theater is inherently racist and has taken steps to combat it. He’s also passed the torch to younger dancers such as the Washington, D.C. based sibling duo The Manzari Brothers.
(Photo: YouTube ScreenShot via The Washington Post)