PhillyFolk Artists

Germaine Ingram

African American Step Dancer

Germaine Ingram came under the spell of jazz and tap dance in the early 1980s when she began intensive study with internationally acclaimed tap artist and teacher LaVaughn Robinson. She has pursued tap’s call through performance, choreography, teaching, oral history, video-making and stage production.

In 1985, Ms. Ingram began performing with her mentor, Robinson, and as a soloist. She has performed and taught workshops throughout the United States, Europe and the Caribbean. She has shared bills with tap greats spanning at least three generations, including Honi Coles, Jimmy Slyde, Buster Brown, the Nicholas Brothers, Gregory Hines, Dianne Walker, Brenda Bufalino, Savion Glover and Bakari Wilder. She appeared with Robinson in the Emmy Award-winning public television production “Gregory Hines’ Tap Dance in America.”

Her choreographic credits include commissions for Manhattan Tap and Washington D.C.-based Tappers With Attitude, and works for musical theater. Her commission for Tappers With Attitude was performed at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in July 2000. In 1998, she contributed choreography to the Joyce Theater presentation, “Excursion Fare,” an evening-length collaboration between Heather Cornell of Manhattan Tap and world music ensemble Keith Terry of Crosspulse. Over the past several years she has collaborated and performed with renowned jazz composers and instrumentalists Odean Pope (saxophone), Dave Burrell (piano) and Tyrone Brown (bass), working with these musicians and others in Folklore Project artist residency performances, and elsewhere, including at Dance Boom, and the Merriam Theater.

In the early 1990s, Ms. Ingram began working with the Folklore Project on an oral history project documenting the lives and artistic styles of veteran African American tap dancers in Philadelphia. That endeavor resulted in her co-producing “Stepping in Time,” a stage production featuring tap dancers, singers, comics and other artists whose careers date back to the 1920-40s. Another product of the oral history project is “Plenty of Good Women Dancers,” a PFP video documentary on African American women tap dancers, for which she was co-director. She has also contributed to PFP’s Works in Progress, writing such essays as “Lessons On the Way to the President’s House” for the Spring 2011 issue. Additionally, Ms. Ingram was a 2010 Pew Fellow, receiving the Rhythmning & Improvsing History and Parallet Destinies grants, as well as a recipient of the 2008 Transformation Award and 2012 Arts & Change Award from the Leeway Foundation.

Ms. Ingram earned a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania and did postgraduate studies at Harvard University as a Fellow in Law and Humanities. She has been a law professor, a litigation attorney, a civil rights lawyer, the head of a governmental law department, and was Chief of Staff of the 209,000-student School District of Philadelphia. She currently works as an education consultant.