Biographical/historical: Jerry Ames (1930-2011) was an American tap dancer, choreographer, and teacher. He was born in Queens, New York as Jerome Abrams, but legally changed his name to Ames when he began performing professionally. Ames started tap dancing at the age of four under the tutelage of Jack Hayes at a local dance school. At thirteen, he began his professional training with Jack Stanley and later with Paul Draper. He made his Broadway debut in Are You With It? in 1945. He went on to appear in Panama Nettie and Anything Goes, and regularly performed in concerts, on cruise ships, and in nightclubs. Ames became known for his expertise in Irish gig-and-tap, as well as blending tap with waltzes, ballet, and traditionally African American dance forms.
In 1969, he was one of the stars in the review show Tap Happening. This production evolved into The Hoofers, a long-running show credited with revitalizing American interest in tap. In 1976, he formed his own company, the Jerry Ames Tap Dance Company. He also began work on the Book of Tap: Recovering America's Long Lost Dance, which he co-wrote with Jim Siegelman and published in 1977. In 1980, Ames was featured in the documentary Tapdancin'. Ames closed his dance company in the early 1980s. While he still occasionally performed solo, he began to focus more on teaching. He taught master classes in the United States, Europe, and Russia, and frequently judged dance competitions. Ames won a FLO-BERT award in 2006 which honors outstanding figures in the world of tap, and was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Dance Library of Israel.
He died in New York in 2011.