Cholly Atkins (Cholly Atkins)

Cholly Atkins

Choreographer and Dancer. He was an American dancer and vaudeville performer, he later became noted for creating the system of “Vocal Choreography” and the distinctive moves for many of the great Motown stage acts: the Temptations, Marvin Gaye, Gladys Night and the Pips, the Supremes and many more. Born Charles Sylvan Atkinson. He won a Charleston dance contest in 1923 and continued dancing from then on. After serving in the United States Army, he teamed up with Charles “Honey” Coles appearing on Broadway in “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” (1949 to 1952). In the 1950’s he began teaching dance steps to many vocal groups such as Frankie Lymon and The Teenagers, Shirelles, Moonglows and the Cadillacs.  Working as a freelance choreographer in 1962 for the Motown musical group the Miracles, he was hired by Berry Gordy in 1964 to work as a Motown choreographer.  He was affectionately known to everyone as “Pops”.  He worked with Motown artists well into the 1980’s.  In 1988 he choreographed the Broadway musical “Black and Blue” for which he was given a Tony Award.  He died several weeks after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in March 2003. (bio by: Babe)


  • April, 30, 1913
  • USA


  • April, 04, 2003
  • USA


  • Cremated

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