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Gregory Hines: An Aquarian Worth Remembering


As the Sun passes through the zodiac in Aquarius it’s enjoyable to wish all those born under this sign a very ‘Happy Birthday’, but it’s also worthwhile to find some noteworthy Aquarian to pay homage to.  I’ve chosen Mr. Gregory Oliver Hines, born on Valentine’s Day, 1946, and he truly was a sweetheart of a man.  Who can forget his memorable performances in films like Tap, White Nights, Running Scared, and Waiting to Exhale?

Actually, it was renting the film ‘White Nights’ that triggered a search for more old Gregory Hines films.  My husband liked watching him dance with Mikhail Baryshnikov so much that I actually went and bought the DVD as a gift for him.  The beauty of it, for both of us, was seeing two men dancing with such masculine power and grace in unison running, leaping, and twirling through space; Baryshnikov with the trained taunt style of a classic ballet dancer, and Hines with the looser, more spontaneously fluid style of an improvisational tap dancer.  Truly electrifying.

Friendly grace and charm are words descriptive of Mr. Hines.  A lot of Aquarian men are capable of displaying those qualities.  I have a neighbor friend who certainly fits the bill, those he’s a lawyer, not a dancer.  When you study Gregory Hines’s chart you see how fully he manifested such seemingly effortless graceful charm in spades via his Sun/Mercury/Venus in Aquarius trine Jupiter/Chiron in Libra.  I’ll return to that aspect a bit later.

Reading what I could find on-line about this remarkable man left me wishing more information was available.  I see there is a biography about him entitled Gregory Hines: Entertainer.  Most articles simply state the facts of his life—what he did, and when.  That’s somewhat interesting if you correlate dates and accomplishments with progressions and transits going on at those key times, but how do you find out more about his character and what made him tick?

The best information I gathered was through the ‘special feature’ section of that wonderful display of dance magic, ‘Tap’.  A lot of interviews with key people were recorded, including his first teacher, Henry LeTang, and his manager/producer, Fran Saperstein.  These interviews, mind you, were conducted after Mr. Hines’s death in 2003.  Tap came out in1989 when he was 43 years old, so all the people talking in the DVD interview were doing so in a reflective manner.  Mr. LeTang had taught Gregory starting when he was only 5 years of age because his mother decided to get her boys involved with dance as an antidote to ghetto life.  She was a wise and powerful mother as evidenced in Mr. Hines’s Moon conjoining Pluto in Leo sextile both Uranus in Gemini and Neptune in Libra.  Good job, Mom!  Here was a mother who saw her children’s potential and gave them a whopping boost to actualize it by finding the right teacher.  Mr. LeTang took it from there.  He must have been a marvelous mentor.  In the interview he is sitting with another old timer reminiscing.  There’s not a mean bone in that man’s body.  He reflects with genuine affection on all the men who danced in Harlem and gives them all credit.  This Aquarian camaraderie and friendship was passed on to Gregory by these African-American men who loved to street dance, just as generations to follow would in new forms such as break-dancing and rap.

The film ‘Tap’ was really a way of paying homage to all of these men who existed in a definite sub-culture in America back in the ‘30s to ‘50s without rancor or anger for their plight as black men in a white man’s world.  They challenged each other and danced.  The competition that existed was friendly.  It was not cut-throat.  You have to admire this early Aquarian spirit and Fran Saperstein, as the producer of ‘Tap’ made sure it got in the film, as I’m sure Mr. Hines and the director, Nick Castle, did as well.

I was particularly touched by everything she said regarding the man she championed through-out his entire career in show business.  I tried to find some photograph of her on-line.  Zilch.  Here is this remarkable white woman who struck up an alliance with Mr. Hines when he was only a teen-ager and managed his career until his death.  That’s another trait that shows up in Gregory Hines chart with Sun in Aquarius and Moon in Leo:  LOYALTY.  He engendered loyalty in others because he probably gave it in spades.  So Fran Saperstein supported him in his career by finding him good roles, and then she went on to produce some of the major films which featured his dancing skills.  She loved all those old guys who brought so much life and joy out of Harlem with their amazing talents.  She had the business savvy to get a few of them out there and in the bigger spot lights.  What would Gregory have done without her?  Of course he had the talent, but she must have worked diligently to see that he got greater recognition.  Again, we see that Moon/Pluto female working from ‘behind the scenes’ in his life.  I’m purposely showing you that Moon/Pluto isn’t always a negative in one’s life.  This woman was fairly hidden from view, and if it wasn’t for that one interview, who would remember her?

This then proves another point about Aquarius.  Team-work.  At their best Aquarians are team players and learn to work well with others.  Mr. Hines was well admired and respected by those who worked with him.  They willingly must have supported him in achieving the limelight that he did, and he, in turn gave others a boost, like Savion Glover.

Looking further at his birth map a few other configurations stand out.  He was born with six planets in the element of AIR, plus Chiron.  Tap dancing was certainly an apt athletic form for someone with all three air signs in motion.  His skill was said to far surpass the line-dancing king, (find his name) due to his endless innovative abilities.  Looking at the order of his Sun-Mercury-Venus in Aquarius you see how Mercury in Aquarius is highlighted.  John Sandbach and Ronn Ballard in their brilliant book Planets in Containment state that here lies a facility for being mentally conscious of many things at once.  It is the quintessential ability to communicate artfully.  They say, “A centered and balanced mind communicates with grace and ease.”

Couple that combination with the Moon/Pluto in Leo, and you have a true renaissance man who brought the culture of tap dancing to a new level of public recognition.  This combination of Air/Fire with Pluto in the mix truly created the visionary artist that he was with both a gentle demeanor and great inner strength combined into one romantic, chivalrous man.  Tom Selleck, another Aquarian popular actor, also had Moon in Leo.

His personal life with women remained fairly private unless the book fleshes this out more.  We know that only his closest friends even knew he had liver cancer before his untimely death.  Moon/Pluto people are often fiercely protective of both their space and their emotional life.  A powerful matriarchal line is probably also in evidence here.

I also find interesting his preponderance of retrograde planets.  Even though he showed early talent, he didn’t excel in his field, especially in the film industry, until his 35th year.  Many retrogrades in the birth map show a degree of introversion and slow release through time before their qualities are revealed in the outer world.  So, even though he showed early talent and excelled in music and some dance from childhood on, as evidenced by his Sun/Mercury/Venus in Aquarius, the hard work and persistence of his Mars/Saturn (both Retrograde in Cancer) squaring all of his planets in Libra (also retrograde) shows the delay in achievement that sustained him from his Saturn Return on until his death at 57 years.

In fact, he expressed in an interview with the Associated Press in 2001 that there was a brief time in his mid-20s when he actually didn’t want to dance.  Now we astrologers know that typically the mid-20s are experimental years prior to the 1st Saturn Return at 29 years.  During that time period for Gregory, Saturn was transiting through Taurus, an earth sign.  Here’s his statement:  “I felt that I didn’t want to be in show business anymore.  I felt that I wanted to be a farmer.  I was milking cows and shoveling terrible stuff and working all day.  By the end of the day, all I wanted was my tap shoes—I thought, ‘what am I doing?  I better get back where I belong on the stage where we work at night and can sleep late!”

His particular combination of energies, especially the Mars/Saturn square Neptune in Libra is often characteristic of skilled dancers.  These people can also excel in athletics, and tap dancing was athletic.  This is the mark of someone who is charismatic and embodies the fantasies and dreams of the collective.  There are so many levels to this theme here.  On the surface he was a smooth, sexy, maverick man who could woo and charm his way across the silver screen.  On a deeper level he was bridging centuries of prejudice and helping to heal the darker wounds of racial injustice that his race had borne.  He rode on the shoulders of men like Bojangles, Paul Robeson, Sidney Poitier, Harry Belafonte and Sammy Davis Jr. who paid heavy prices through creating inroads into the entertainment industry by swallowing their pride and eating a lot of crow. Think about it; a superbly gifted man like Bojangles was relegated ‘darky servant roles’ once he got to Hollywood, dancing with a little girl, Shirley Temple, but never allowed to play a starring role in classy topcoat and tails which is where he truly would have excelled.  It took years and years of long hard work; the hard work that shows in the legacy of Saturn in Mr. Hines’s chart for the talented black man to finally BELONG (Saturn in Cancer).

Thank goodness people like Fran Saperstein believed enough to fight for those juicier roles for him, which simply weren’t available when he was a young man.

Please note his Retrograde Chiron in Libra.  It shows his remarkable ability to balance opposites and his astute ability to observe others.  He was old for his years, as evidenced in the Chiron square Mars/Saturn and he had an unusual sense of his own purpose in those early years.  Chiron, so intertwined with Jupiter, brought him deeper into connection with other cultures and peoples and allowed him the resources to help an audience of millions through film and television to bridge the reality that we are all connected; we are all one irregardless of gender, race, or class.  Even when he wasn’t dancing, when he was playing serious roles such as the one in Waiting to Exhale, a black woman’s girlie flick, you see a man with a heart who is capable of deep love and tenderness for the plump, lovely hairstylist who has suffered a loss of self-esteem.  He was so healing in that role.

His death chart reveals what I often see in such charts:  Jupiter, representing the long journey, was nearly exactly opposite his Sun/Mercury and sextile his own Jupiter/Chiron in Libra.  There was a Yod configuration from Moon/Chiron in Capricorn and Mars in Pisces to his Pluto in Leo near his Moon.  It was time to go.  Time to dance amongst the stars from whence he’d come.


February 7, 2012  2 Comments
Categories: Astrology, Interesting People | Tags: , ,


1 Regina { 02.19.12 at 3:58 pm }

What a wonderful article on Gregory Hines, Genevieve. As always, I love reading about the people you choose to write about that reflects the current sun sign. I’ll want to rent these movies now!
With love, Regina

2 Dominic Cooper Interview { 04.01.12 at 2:33 pm }

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