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Subject: Jackie Raven, Dancer and Promoter of Tap

August 19 (they waited long enough to tell about it!)
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Date Posted: September 22, 2002 12:45:48 EDT

Jackie Raven, a performer and promoter of tap dancing, died on Aug. 19 at her home in Setauket on Long Island. She was 51 and lost her fight with breast cancer, said her husband, trombonist Ray Anderson.

Ms. Raven began dancing fairly late in life as a student in Japanese studies at Barnard College. On a trip to Japan she had what she called a cosmic vision of becoming a tap dancer.

Back in New York, she studied with Jane Goldberg and Cookie Cook. "Tap is like a disease in a way," she said in a 1987 interview with The New York Times. "It gets you. And then that's it."

Ms. Raven, who had a master's degree in linguistics from the State University of New York at Brockport, was a primary force in the tap dance revivals of the 1970's and 80's in New York.

She promoted Albert Gibson of the Three Chocateers and performed in his Gibson Girls chorus line. She also promoted George Hillman, who performed in the Broadway musical "Black and Blue," and Ralph Brown, who had been a headline dancer with the Dizzy Gillespie Big Band.

Ms. Raven was a charter member of Brenda Bufalino's American Tap Dance Orchestra. In 1981 Ms. Raven founded the N.Y.C. Tapworks trio with Neil Applebaum, a dance-trained wrestler with a master's degree in child development. The trio was completed by Clara Hetherington, a hospital neuropsychophysiology technician.

The three performed a varied repertory of traditional tap steps, Latin and jump-rope numbers, as well as dances choreographed by Bill Irwin, Leon Collins and Ms. Bufalino.

In addition to her husband, Ms. Raven is survived by a son, Raven Anderson, and a daughter, Anabel Anderson, both of Setauket, and a sister, Deborah Libaire of Bellport, N.Y.

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