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
Rarely do you get to see a documentary where the subjects are actually allowed to tell their own story like this one does. Granted that the filmmaker gets to shape the film in editing but still the women portrayed here are the stars and they are worth every minute. In fact, I wish it had been longer. These women really LIVED!! Not only are their stories fascinating and amazing but the movie makes you wish you could have been in New York in the thirties and forties, running around Harlem, dancing all night long.
It also shows the real personal pain and just plain hurtfulness of segregation, and what a real bitch it is to get old. But also how the sisterhood of these dancers keeps them going and laughing and joking. They are amazing.
I love these women and all they have to say. What a pleasure to spend time with them.
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