Born in New York City, Hines began his career at the age of five, studying tap dance at the Henry LeTang Dance Studio in Manhattan. LeTang recognized his talent and began choreographing numbers specifically for him and his younger brother Gregory. He made his Broadway debut in The Girl in Pink Tights in 1954.
Shortly after, the brothers began touring as the opening act for such headliners as Lionel Hampton and Gypsy Rose Lee. Their father joined them and Hines, Hines & Dad performed on a regular basis in New York, Las Vegas, and throughout Europe and on many television shows, including The Pearl Bailey Show, The Hollywood Palace, and The Tonight Show.
Hines decided to pursue a solo career and was cast as Nathan Detroit in the national tour of Guys and Dolls, after which he returned to Broadway in Eubie! (1978). Additional Broadway credits include Bring Back Birdie and Sophisticated Ladies (both in 1981) as a performer, Uptown... It's Hot! (1986) as a performer (earning a Tony Award nomination as Best Actor in a Musical) and choreographer, and Hot Feet (2006), which he conceived, choreographed, and directed.
Hines co-directed and choreographed the national tour of the Louis Armstrong musical bio Satchmo and directed, choreographed, and starred in the national tour of Harlem Suite with successive leading ladies Jennifer Holliday, Stephanie Mills, and Melba Moore. He directed and choreographed Havana Night in Cuba, an all-Latino production of The Red Shoes in the Dominican Republic, and created the revue Broadway Soul Jam to inaugurate an entertainment complex in Holland.
Hines has directed and choreographed music videos, including one for Quincy Jones. He is the first African-American to direct at Radio City Music Hall.
Hines' film debut, Francis Ford Coppola's The Cotton Club, remains his sole big screen credit to date, although he appears in Oops, Ups & Downs: The Murder Mystery of Humpty Dumpty, scheduled for release in 2007. On television, he appeared in Eubie!, Love, Sidney, and Cosby.
Hines played the lead role in Washington, DC's Arena Stage production of the Duke Ellington-inspired musical Sophisticated Ladies at the historic Lincoln Theatre in April and May 2010. The Washington Post review was positive for his role and the show in general.
Hines is currently at work on Yo Alice, an urban hip-hop fantasy he conceived and will direct and choreograph.