One Dance UK

Will Gaines' Funeral and Wake

After a 70-year career as a hoofer (tap dancer) Will Gaines passed away aged 86 at his UK home in Leigh-On-Sea on Wednesday 7 May 2014. Will leaves no direct relatives in the UK so close friends and supporters are raising funds towards his funeral arrangements.

history Campaign has now closed

It ran from 2:14 PM, 12 June 2014 to 5:26 PM, 11 July 2014

Registered Charity in England and Wales (801552)

Amount raised





  • Arts/Culture/HeritageArts/Culture/Heritage
  • Sports/RecreationSports/Recreation




Master bebop hoofer Will Gaines was a larger-than-life character whose intricate, improvised rhythms of the feet, captivated and entertained many audiences. As a hoofer, Will was a musician as well as a dancer. Born Royce Edward Gaines on 6th April 1928, Will's jazz tap career began in Detroit where he grew up. He's tap skills opened up opportunities so that he worked in the US through the 1940s and 50s. A booking in the 1960s brought him to the UK where he decided to make his home.


In the absence of family in the UK, Dance UK is helping to raise awareness of the need to raise funds for Will Gaines' funeral arrangements and give friends and fans of Will, and the art form he represented, the opportunity to contribute towards ensuring he has a fitting send off.