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27 – Rusty Frank Interview: “Tap! The Greatest Tap Dance Stars and their Stories, 1900-1955”

Andy interviews Rusty Frank, author of “Tap! The Greatest Tap Dance Stars And Their Stories, 1900 to 1955.” Rusty interviewed over 30 tap dance legends for this book, including Shirley Temple, Ruby Keeler, Fayard Nicholas of the Nicholas Brothers, Gene Nelson, Donald O’Connor, Ann Miller, Fred Astaire’s choreographer Hermes Pan, and many, many others. It’s a deep dive into pop culture of the first half of the 20th Century, and a close-up view into a cherished American dance form that swept the globe and is still popular worldwide.

In addition to being a writer, dance historian and preservationist, Rusty is an accomplished professional dancer and choreographer, specializing in tap and the Lindy Hop. She teaches dance online and at her school Lindy By the Sea. She produces dance shows, and she has a dance club called Rusty’s Rhythm Club in Los Angeles.

Check out everything Rusty is doing at, and consider buying her book “Tap! The Greatest Tap Dance Stars And Their Stories, 1900 to 1955,” which has a foreward by Gregory Hines. Even if you’re not interested in tap dancing you’ll be fascinated and enlightened by the stories inside. See below for more information about the people that Rusty talks about in this episode.

Above: Rusty Frank (center-left) teaching tap dance at UC Santa Cruz; with tap students including Tom Lehrer (right), 1976.

Above: Rusty Frank and Andy Moore in El Segundo, California, 2021.

Mentioned In This Episode:
Rusty Frank
Tom Lehrer
Mary Holmes
Charles Selberg
Cindy Catlin
Jon Zerby
Katie Zerby
Louis DaPron
Miriam Nelson
Gerald Nachman
Shirley Temple
Fayard Nicholas
The Nicholas Brothers
Leonard Reed
Willie Bryant
Frances Nealy
Gene Nelson
Toy and Wing
Bill “Bojangles” Robinson
DaCapo Press
Peg Leg Bates
Wayne Doba
Rodney Price
Six Feet – A Tap Trio
Stepping Out
The Lindy Hop
Patti Meagher
Walter Freeman
Babes In Arms
Dames At Sea
42nd Street
Mack and Mabel
Sneak Preview
Stepping Out
Simon Selmon
Lindy By The Sea
Jean Veloz
Fred Astaire
Glenn Miller Orchestra
Herb Miller Orchestra
Pete Menefee
Groucho Marx
Harpo Marx


  1. Peter Hart on 04/23/2022 at 6:12 AM

    Another great episode. Rusty has had an amazing life. Incredible story. Thanks Andy.

    • Andy on 04/23/2022 at 7:31 PM

      Thanks Pete!

  2. Pamela Uschuk on 04/27/2022 at 7:25 PM

    Hooray for open spaces and open minds. You are a wonderful interviewer, Andy. Fascinating.
    What a list of students she’s had. And, friends. Thank you for the rich hour. Rusty’s an amazing woman, and she is someone who believes in fun and accomplishment. “Tap dancers. Four is enough, clattering away, practicing their taps…”

    • Andy Moore on 05/16/2022 at 11:16 PM

      Thanks Pamela!

  3. Roxanne on 04/28/2022 at 5:36 PM

    Really enjoyed listening to this conversation.

    • Andy Moore on 05/16/2022 at 11:17 PM

      Thanks Roxanne!

  4. Penelope on 05/12/2022 at 5:10 AM

    Great interview with a fascinating subject. Thanks!

  5. Fenton Johnson on 05/14/2022 at 11:36 PM

    I learned as much from absorbing Rusty’s energy as I did about tap–and I learned a lot about tap! What a great spiriti, what a great interview.

    • Andy Moore on 05/17/2022 at 9:29 PM

      Thanks Fenton!

  6. julia on 09/29/2023 at 8:23 PM

    very fab.

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