I started dancing when I was five, after [Houston dance teacher] Emmamae Horn visited my school and asked my parents if I could enroll in her dance class. It must have run in the family, though, because my parents were great dancers too. When I was about nine, I remember watching them dance at a wedding party in Houston at the Shamrock Hotel. Everyone around them cleared the floor. They were fantastic, but I was crucially embarrassed. I danced all through high school and later at Lon Morris junior college, in Jacksonville, and the University of Texas at Austin. After I graduated from UT, I went to the University of Houston and started work on my master’s degree. I was reluctant about going to New York, and if it hadn’t been for Phillip Oesterman, I probably would have stayed in school. I always loved being in school. But Phillip said, “Tune, enough of this. You do not need a master’s degree to dance in a Broadway show.” So I was off, and I really did get a job the first day I was in New York. Tommy Tune, who was born in Wichita Falls and grew up in Houston, has won nine Tony awards for acting, directing, and choreography. His new book, Footnotes: A Memoir (Simon and Schuster, $24), is in stores, along with his latest CD, Slow Dancin’ (RCA Victor).
From the December 1997 Issue Subscribe
Arts & Entertainment