The Kennedy Center

Evan Ruggiero



Biography

Evan Ruggiero began dancing at the age of 5 at his hometown studio and by age 10 he was accepted into the famed New Jersey Tap Ensemble, under the direction of Ms. Deborah Mitchell. He soon graced the stages of Lincoln Center, The Shomberg Museum of Harlem, and The New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, among others. Upon entering his sophomore year at Montclair State University while pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre, Evan was suddenly diagnosed with Osteosarcoma, a rare bone cancer of the right leg. Enduring nine surgeries in a six-month period in an effort to save the leg, the cancer returned more aggressively than the original diagnosis. He was faced with the ultimate decision of amputation in order to stop the cancer and save his life, as well as undergoing chemotherapy for 16 months. In spite of the physical setback, Evan held close to the dream of dancing and learned of the famed Clayton "Peg Leg" Bates, a legendary African American entertainer who taught himself to tap dance after losing a leg in a cotton gin accident at the age of 12 and then went on to perform twice for the King and Queen of England and became a regular on The Ed Sullivan Show appearing a record 58 times. Inspired by his story, Evan aspired to pass on his legacy. Within 18 months after the amputation, and only 2 days after receiving his "peg leg", Evan was tapping again. Theatre/Film/Television/Dance credits include: St. Louis Tap Festival, LA Tap Festival, Princeton Symphony Orchestra Soloist, American Idol, The Ellen Show, Telemundo's Un Nuevo Dia, NYC workshop PANIC! The Musical, Tap World (Film), Quelli Che il Calcio in Milan, Italy (RAI), Paint the Universe (Transcendence Theatre Company), and in Man of la Mancha (Pittsburgh CLO). Evan also has his own one man show called The One-Legged Song and Dance Man he regularly performs at 54 Below, NYC. Current as of July 2015

Watch Past Performances

Video 7/30/2016: Target Family Night: National Dance Day – Evan Ruggiero

The Kennedy Center and Dizzy Feet Foundation, in conjunction with Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, present a free celebration of National Dance Day featuring interactive dance routines and lessons, free outdoor performances and live music. Activities begin on the North Plaza at 1 p.m. and continue into the night with Dancing Under the Stars.

Evan Ruggiero