“Margot Webb was a headline dancer in the Cotton Club 1933-1939. She danced Waltz, Tango, Bolero with her partner Norton in the dance team of “Norton & Margot”. They performed in London, Paris and Germany before WW II.”
“Bertye Lou Wood in her 1st professional dance job in 1928, poses to the left of dance director Addison Cary.”
Bertye Lou was a Dance Captain at the Apollo Theatre in the 1930s and one of the leaders of the Apollo Theatre Chorus Girls Strike in 1934, that successfully campaigned for better wages and established the AGVA (American Guild for Variety Artists).
Bertye Lou was featured in the 2006 documentary Been Rich All My Life. The documentary follows the lives of the Silver Bells, ladies aged 84-96 who were Harlem showgirls in the heyday of 1930’s clubs.
“The Cotton Club was a joint run by hoods. It was a cabaret where Negro people weren’t allowed, that Negro people couldn’t attend. But they could make a living there.” Lena Horne in a 1963 interview with Herbert Feinstein, reprinted in the August 1963 issue of Ebony.
Adelaide Hall jazz singer and entertainer, was born in Brooklyn, New York. A self-taught tap dancer, Hall began her long and eventful stage career in Broadway musical ‘Shuffle Along’ (1921).
She worked with Duke Ellington recorded one of the first scat vocal in jazz on Ellington’s ‘Creole Love Call’ in 1927. In 1928 she co-starred with Bill ‘Bojangles’ Robinson in Blackbirds of 1928, Broadway’s longest-running black-cast revue. In the show Adelaide introduced the classic song ‘I Can’t Give You Anything But Love’.
In the 1930s Hall headlined at New York’s famous Cotton Club and opened a nightclubs in Paris and London. She remained in London during WW2, between 1939 and 1945 she made over seventy recordings for Decca. After her nightclub was bombed during the London Blitz, Hall spent the remainder of the war broadcasting for the BBC and entertaining troops.
Adelaide’s 1947 performance in“Variety in Sepia” is the earliest surviving BBC television recording.