Because children she acquired moving knowledge away from a Mrs. Thorp inside midtown Manhattan. Doing 1897, just after graduating off Thorp’s moving school, she toured temporarily having Black colored Patti’s Troubadours. A girlfriend invited the lady in order to model to possess a promotion which have Bert Williams and you may George Walker, who’d just obtained a hit inside their vaudeville introduction at the Koster and you can Bial’s Sounds Hallway. She provided to design on the advertisement and next registered new boys to help you moving in the cakewalk finale. Immediately after joining John W. Isham’s Octoroon, an effective critic to the Indianapolis Freeman proclaimed, “I had merely noticed the greatest lady dancer.” Which have Elegance Halliday she formed the fresh new sibling dance operate off Overton and you may Halliday. It did because collection of Honolulu Belles on Williams and Walkers’ The insurance policy Members (1899), and you will following that, Overton started to create due to the fact good soloist with substantial positions. Regarding the audio funny New Sons away from Ham (1900) she carried out and danced “Skip Hannah regarding Savannah” and you may “Best Girls”; plus its next model, “Society” and you will “Sparkling Ruby” and that lead the lady jubilant acclaim. Tom Fletcher recalled their as a singer exactly who did ragtime songs and ballads just as well; so when a performer “whom you’ll perform every little thing, without amount when it try money-and-side, cakewalk, or even some type of grotesque dancing . . . she lent the fresh new overall performance a neat gracefulness of motion unparalleled by anyone” (Fletcher 1954).
James Weldon Johnson authored you to she “had a reduced-pitched sound that have an organic sob so you’re able to they, and that she knew strategies for having telling feeling in the getting more a track” (Johnson 1933)
For the Summer twenty two, 1899, following closing off A happy Coon, the fresh ragtime music described by Ann Charters just like the “good hodge-podge of all things about ‘coon’ line out of dollar-dance and you can ragtime tunes to help you alternatives regarding grand opera,” Overton partnered George Walker; the union perform transform and you will elevate the fresh cakewalk away from a center African-Western men moving towards a black modernist term, a premier art really worth being did just before royalty, to the light top-notch, and on the new concert stage.
You to evening if you are onstage, George Walker, playing the newest part regarding Bud Jenkins, became ill
Williams and you may Walker’s Dahomey (1903) is one of the primary black colored musicals to see the brand new cakewalk’s sales. Inside, Aida (she changed the latest spelling from their title away from Ada so you can Aida, the name of Haitian lwa away from virility) starred Rosetta Lightfoot with a featured solamente, “I wish to Become a genuine Lady,” together with “Cakewalk Finale,” married from the this lady spouse. “New range, the latest elegance, the brand new assured ecstasy of those dancers, whom curved more than backward up to its thoughts nearly touched the floor, a task demanding an amazing number of electricity, the eager prancing, nearly when you look at the slow motion, have-not been equaled in this revel, let-alone exceeded,” had written Carl Van Vechten (Van Vechten 1974). Dahomey is actually taken to London area, where it was shown on a demand efficiency before King Edward VII from the Buckingham Palace. Uk high society then followed the brand new Royal Relatives which have a great gushing passion having cakewalking. The organization gone back to New york with a new type of the newest music entitled Inside Dahomey, and that established during the Grand Opera (1904).
When you look at the Williams and you can Walker’s second tell you, Abyssinia (1906), Overton Walker was one another a dancer additionally the show’s choreographer. She is second checked in the and you can staged brand new sounds quantity to possess Bandanna Home (1908). His symptoms was indeed afterwards identified once the syphilis. For the 1909 the guy left the brand new let you know, and his character is actually rewritten getting Overton Walker, just who donned his flashy gowns and you can done their number, also their big tune, “Bon bon Buddie.” Together husband’s reputation reduced extracting, and confronted with in which the girl future place, she picked never to replenish the girl contract with Williams and you can Walker and you may alternatively entered the latest throw away from Bob Cole and you can J. Rosamonde Johnson’s The newest Yellow Moonlight (1909) in which she was featured in 2 tunes quantity: “Pheobe Brown” and “Pickaninny Months,” moving dollar-and-side to the chorus. She second opened within The fresh new York’s Western Theatre that have a great vaudeville act offering a unique moving, the brand new “Kara valuable hyperlink Kara,” or dance l’Afrique. During the 1910, she entered the newest Wise Set, a black theatrical business, and you will appeared in Their Honor the fresh Hairdresser (1911).