As part of our classes at Rhythm Studio we strive to be caretakers of this art form and to honour the legacy of those who came before us. Recently in her solo jazz classes one of our instructors Katie mentioned Mabel Lee as a point of inspiration. We wanted to take this moment to share a few clips and a little bit about this amazing dancer. Here is what Katie had to say about Ms Mable Lee.
Mabel Lee in 1946
Mable Lee was dubbed “Queen of the Soundies” because she was featured in countless short films which were played on “Panorams”, think of them as juke boxes but for videos. She is a phenomenal tap dancer, I love her hip movements and styling. Beyond being a dancer she was an all round performer, singer and was bubbling with charisma. She was a a child prodigy who started dancing and singing by the age of 4. By 9 she was performing at local clubs with big bands! By 19 she has moved to New York and joined the chorus at the famed Apollo Theater in Harlem.
Performing at Tap City
I went to a CVFC event with Mable Lee’s son and a few dancers who she trained. They said that, she would give you the coat off her back, she would have nothing but still give you everything.
Another delightful little tidbit I learned about her is that whenever she called you she would leave her full phone number, as if you didn’t already have it.
There are plenty more clips of her out there, feel free to have a look around but the above are two of my favourites!