They are the "Silver Belles," five women aged 84 to 96. They first met in the 1930's as chorus dancers at the Cotton Club and the Apollo Theater where they worked 15 hour days, rehearsing a new show every week. In their heyday they performed with legendary band leaders like Cab Calloway, Jimmie Lunceford and Duke Ellington. When the big band era ended, and with it the need for show dancers, they all went into other work. In 1985 they put their tap shoes back on, and are still performing regularly. But in one week, Cleo tumbles down the subway stairs and breaks her knee and arm, Marion gets a pacemaker, and Bertye is taken to the hospital. Is this the end of the Silver Belles? Written by
I saw Been Rich All My Life a few days ago. It is a wonderful documentary. Basically it is the story of several amazing African-American women who were dancers in Harlem in the 1930's and 40's. It highlights the women's careers as younger women and catches up with them as they reunite and dance together again as elderly entertainers.
If you are lucky enough to get this film, watch the women's eyes as they speak. There is a shine and collective gleam that sparkles when they recount their adventures as dancers during the golden age of Harlem.
Amazing women, amazing film.
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