Here is a true gem indeed - Snake Hips (1929) featuring the FANTASTIC and infamous, Ann Pennington.
About Ann Pennington (from Wikipedia):
Ann Pennington (December 23, 1893–November 4, 1971) was an actress, dancer, and singer who starred on Broadway in the 1910s and 1920s, notably in the Ziegfeld Follies and George White's Scandals.
She became famous for what was, at the time, called a “Shake and Quiver Dancer,” and was noted for her variation of the “Black Bottom”. She was also noted as an accomplished tap dancer. Ray Henderson wrote the extant version of "Black Bottom" for Ann - she had already been performing the popular version of the dance for some time. Some years prior to this, she had also topped the bill on Broadway in her performance of the musically similar "Charleston". Pennington also achieved fame as a star of both silent and sound motion pictures.
She began her career on Broadway as a member of the chorus in The Red Widow (1911) starring Raymond Hitchcock. Her debut in the Ziegfeld Follies was in 1913, where she quickly established herself as one Ziegfeld's top attractions.
With dimpled knees and long dark red hair, the petite, pretty, charming, and often scantly-clad Pennington stood a mere 4' 10" tall and wore only a size 1½ shoe. Because of her diminutive stature, she was referred to as “Penny” by her friends and colleagues. Her nickname for herself was “Tiny”.
During her years in the Ziegfeld Follies she appeared alongside the likes of Bert Williams, Eddie Cantor, Will Rogers, Fanny Brice (who became her closest friend), Marilyn Miller, and W. C. Fields. She switched back and forth between George White's "Scandals" and the Follies more than once, earning a salary of $1000 per week at one point, and continued to moonlight in the early New York film industry. She also frequented Harlem in its jazz heyday. She was until the late 1920s chaperoned at performances by her mother. She was noted for a quick and witty personality, but was said to be shy off stage and easily embarrassed, and in her latter years was loath to discuss her early life.
Ann Pennington could dance, sing and act, but her first love was dancing on stage, and she never became established as a movie actress.
After her years on stage and screen ended, Pennington toured in vaudeville. She retired from performing in the 1940s. She last appeared on stage in a benefit show for the armed forces in 1946. She had a committed work ethic, and worked wherever the opportunity arose, although as she aged and tastes changed, she ended her stage days in shabby theaters with low rank dance companies. Film of her "Snakes Hips" dance at the Worlds Fair 1939 survives, but is more memorable for her enthusiasm than her star quality in her fading years.
Ann Pennington died in New York City on November 4, 1971, aged 77. She had lived alone on welfare in New York hotels overlooking 42nd street for the previous 20 years since the death of her best friend Fanny Brice ("Funny Girl"). She is buried in the Valhalla cemetery in New York. No family were known to have attended her funeral, which was paid for by the Actors Benevolent guild.
A few years before her death, she was asked what had been the greatest reward from her years of stardom, and her reply was "in living, honey".
This clip features such AMAZING dancing by Ann... so truly inspiring and such a joy to watch! Really focus on her solo spotlight at 1:25 seconds in the clip - the fringe of her dress REALLY show off her hip swivels and movement.
I am truly obsessed with this clip at the moment, so it is so exciting for me to share it with all of you!
Here is Snake Hips (1929)