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Before he hung out with Shirley Temple both onscreen and off, Bill Robinson could be found in numerous theater productions. He is known for re-igniting the tap craze during the 20th century, and bringing the genre from popular to the elite art level. He often challenged competitors in tap competitions, almost always coming out as the victor. He was also the choreographer of the now infamous stair dance found in the movie The Little Colonel. He inspired and coached Shirley Temple, one of Hollywood’s littlest tap dancers, and she revealed in her autobiography how Bill was like an uncle to her, mentoring her both in dance and in life.

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