2 3 Throwback Thursday and Florence Mills | Ballet Webb

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Throwback Thursday and Florence Mills

Throwback Thursday and Florence Mills

By age five, Florence Winfrey Mills (“Baby Florence”) was an accomplished dancer. She specialized in tap and jazz and a type of dance that was  known as “eccentric” dancing. In the photograph above, she is wearing a bracelet that was presented to her by the wife of the British ambassador. When the photographer asked her to remove it for the photograph she is said to have replied, “no bracelet, no picture”.

Born on January 25, 1896 near Washington D.C, she became a dance pioneer who paved the way for other African Americans in dance and theater. She performed throughout her childhood on the road and in vaudeville, but her big break came in 1921 when she was selected for the leading role in the Off -Broadway musical Shuffle Along. The show became a hit, largely due to her talents in dancing, singing and comedy.

Later she was offered a role in the Ziegfeld Follies, but she declined.  Instead she appeared in Blackbirds (1926) singing “I’m a Little Blackbird Looking for a Bluebird”, which became her signature song.

The next year, 1927, Florence Mills became seriously ill while abroad – some accounts say it was tuberculosis - so she returned to the U.S. She died in New York from complications of appendicitis. She was 32 years old. It is said that over 150,000 people attended her funeral.

After her death, Duke Ellington memorialized her in his song “Black Beauty”.

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets:

Secret #62:  
Florence Mills was a beloved dancer who appeared in the first all-black Broadway musical in 1921.

                Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“Talent hits a target no one else can hit. Genius hits a target no one else can see.”
Arthur Schopenhauer

                Help expand the knowledge base!
 Leave a comment about any instructions, ideas, or images that worked best for you!

No comments:

Post a Comment