One of the great masters of jazz tap dance has passed away. James Godbolt, aka Jimmy Slyde, died late yesterday, leaving a legacy of astounding artistry and commitment to an American dance tradition.
If you haven’t seen Jimmy’s work, do yourself a favor and watch a brief clip on his MCC profile page. His dancing is out of this world.
Jimmy’s many honors include a National Heritage Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and an honorary doctorate from Oklahoma City University. From the MCC, he received a 2006 Traditional Arts Fellowship, and through our Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program, received support for his ongoing work mentoring Edward Mendes III (aka Rocky Mendes) in jazz tap dance.
Jimmy’s work is featured in Keepers of Tradition, an exhibit of folk art traditions in Massachusetts (May 18, 2008 – Feb. 8, 2009) at Lexington’s National Heritage Museum.
“Everything has roots,” Jimmy once told Maggie Holtzberg, Folk Arts & Heritage Program Manager at the MCC. “Ain’t nothing new, babe.”
Image: James Godbolt Dr. Jimmy Slyde (sitting) and Edward Mendes III, aka Rocky Mendes (2007). Photo by Tom Pich.
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