On July, 29, 2004, The HistoryMakers was proud to present An Evening With Jeni LeGon in partnership with the Illinois Humanities Council at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, Illinois. This event featured a screening of dancer Jeni LeGon’s biographical film, Living in a Great Big Way, followed by a moderated discussion with Dr. LeGon by Fox News anchor Robin Robinson. LeGon, a preeminent African American tap dancer and the first African American to sign a long-term contract in Hollywood, delighted the standing room only audience with tales of Bill Bojangles, Hollywood and growing up in Chicago. This program also served as the kick-off event for the Chicago Human Rhythm Project’s Rhythm Asia series at the Museum of Contemporary Art.
Born in Chicago, Illinois, Jeni LeGon auditioned at the age of thirteen for the Count Basie Chorus Line. Rather than dance in dresses as most chorus girls did, LeGon always wore pants, allowing her to demonstrate her considerable talents as a tap dancer. With a combination of skill, attitude and style, LeGon became a featured dancer, and one of the first African Americans to secure a long-term contract in Hollywood, where she danced with such notables as Bill Bojangles, the Nicholas Brothers and Fats Waller, including a now-famous sequence with Bojangles in 1935's Hooray for Love. LeGon later went on to perform on Broadway and throughout Europe, and in 1969, she moved to Canada where she opened her own dance studio.
Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago
220 East Chicago Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611