DANCE LEGEND From the Savoy Ballroom and the Palladium Ballroom era, Sonny Allen is one of the remaining interpreters of the Savoy style of Swing alongside Frankie Manning and Norma Miller. A consummate dancer and performer that exudes smoothness, pizzazz and suave, Sonny is a gracious gentleman who when observed, has the utmost respect for the women that he dances and performs with, and is always willing to share his knowledge of dance. Sonny was raised in Manhattan, with the support of his parents was a main factor in helping him find his direction in dance and showbussiness by having him start his dance training at the age of 8 years old when he studied tap and acrobatics first at Ruth Williams and then at Henry Le tang dance studio’s. Sonny attributes his smooth style of dancing to his childhood lessons with Buster Brown and Pee Wee Williams.
Sonny would also eventually serve his country and go into the service. Upon his return, he decided that he wanted to visit the Savoy ( which was a hot club for the trendy and evolving swing dancers ) to do some dancing . It is because of a particular woman by the name of Sugar Sullivan that Sonny was motivated to get serious about dancing. He asked her to dance and she said , “No, you can’t dance”. In those days in order to dance at the Savoy,
you had to belong to a click that danced. In order to get into a click you had to show that you were a great dancer. That’s when he made up his mind that he was going to learn and excel at swing dancing .
Sonny was taken by particular dancers that he would observe:
One was Sugar’s husband George Sullivan, Nick Nickelson and George Lloyd. They had a smooth style of dancing that tweaked his interest. Sonny hard work paid off when that same year he won the Harvest Moon Ball at Madison Square Garden in 1958. tied in to his win was an appearance on the Ed Sullivan T V Show.