Part 4: Dancing with Flair at the Fair, the 1930s
Alyce, the bastard child of Big Daddy Baker and Caroline Braden, loved to travel by train. She often travelled with her Uncle Sunny, who was a train porter while studying to be a pastor in seminary school.
Her favorite part of the train ride was meeting celebrities who travelled from New York to Los Angeles. On one stormy night she heard some strange “tapping” sounds. As it turned out, a famous dancer, Elly Powers was on her way to Hollywood from New York to film her latest movie. Elly would often practice tap dancing, in her private sleeping car on the train.
Elly took a break from her tap dancing and went to the train’s dining car for a late snack. Alyce noticed her coming from the direction of the tapping sound. Alyce worked up the nerve to approach Ms. Powers to ask for her autograph. To her surprise, Ms. Powers was very down to earth and friendly. During the next few days on the train they would get together often to dance or have coffee in the Dining Car.
Alyce would show Elly some of her favorite Jitterbug dance moves. And Elly would show Alyce her favorite Tap and Hula moves.
They had fun at the Fair and saw some fantastic acts. Alyce was intrigued by a Fortune Teller. The Fortune Teller told Alyce that she was gifted with a great power. The power will activate on her 21st birthday. Alyce thought the Fortune Teller was a scam, but with her birthday coming up the next day, she got a strange feeling. The Fortune Teller also predicted that Alyce will have a great granddaughter (Taymar) that will “Dance Like the Egyptians” in 1993 in Chicago.
Alyce laughed in her face and thought she was a fool for giving the Fortune Teller $1.00 during the Great Depression.
Alyce and Elly noticed that Little Egypt would be performing the “Danse du Ventre” soon at the fair. They were in the front row before the show started. A lot of people thought the dance was scandalous, but Alyce and Elly really enjoyed it.
After the show around 11:58 PM, Alyce felt faint, she had a vision of the future. She saw a young lady who resembled her family belly dancing in Chicago. But everything around the dancer looked strange. The people in the audience had small telephones in their hands. She noticed flashes from the phone, but wondered how could a camera be so tiny? The dancer’s costume looked similar to what Little Egypt wore, but showed more skin and had a lot more beads and jewels. Alyce decided not to tell Uncle Sunny, or he might threaten her with an exorcism.
The dancer seemed to look Alyce straight in the eyes as though she recognized her. At that moment Alyce felt something strange going on in her mouth. Her teeth felt sharp and a bit larger. Alyce looked in a nearby mirror and did not see her reflection.
Elly shrieked with joy and asked, Vampire?
Alyce smiled and replied, yes: “Meet me in St. Louis.”
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Don’t miss Part 5 (Dances of the 1940s) and Part 8 (Dances of the 1970s) coming soon.
What was your favorite dance or dancer from the 1930s?