While the a child she acquired dancing tuition out-of an effective Mrs. Thorp into the midtown Manhattan. Up to 1897, shortly after graduating out of Thorp’s dancing college, she toured briefly having Black Patti’s Troubadours. An effective girlfriend invited their particular so you can model to have a marketing with Bert Williams and you can George Walker, who had merely scored a hit within vaudeville introduction on Koster and you can Bial’s Sounds Hall. She offered to model to the post and next registered this new guys to help you moving regarding the cakewalk finale. Immediately after joining John W. Isham’s Octoroon, a good critic on the Indianapolis Freeman declared, “I got simply observed ideal girl dancer.” With Elegance Halliday she designed the fresh new brother moving work away from Overton and you can Halliday. It performed since the collection of Honolulu Belles on Williams and Walkers’ The insurance policy People (1899), and you can following that, Overton began to generate because the a great soloist with additional generous positions. On sounds comedy The brand new Sons away from Ham (1900) she sang and danced “Miss Hannah regarding Savannah” and you may “Leading Woman”; as well as in its 2nd model, “Society” and you will “Sparkling Ruby” hence put their particular jubilant acclaim. James Weldon Johnson composed one to she “had the lowest-pitched voice which have a natural sob to help you it, and that she realized strategies for having advising perception in the getting more a tune” (Johnson 1933). Tom Fletcher recalled their unique because the an artist who performed ragtime songs and you can ballads equally well; and also as a performer “which you will carry out everything, and no amount whether or not it was buck-and-side, cakewalk, or even some type of grotesque dance . . . she borrowed the new results a neat gracefulness of movement unparalleled because of the anyone” (Fletcher 1954).
For the 1910, she entered the latest Smart Place, a black theatrical organization, and you will starred in Their Award the brand new Hairdresser (1911)
Into the June twenty two, 1899, adopting the closing off A lucky Coon, the newest ragtime music described of the Ann Charters since “a hodge-podge of the things regarding ‘coon’ line from dollars-dance and https://internationalwomen.net/fi/blog/ruotsin-treffisivustot/ you may ragtime tunes to selections regarding grand opera,” Overton partnered George Walker; the partnership create change and you may escalate the brand new cakewalk regarding a key African-Western everyone moving towards a black colored modernist term, a leading artwork well worth getting performed prior to royalty, towards light elite, and on the new show stage.
That night when you find yourself onstage, George Walker, playing the latest role out-of Bud Jenkins, turned unwell
Williams and Walker’s Dahomey (1903) are one of the primary black musicals to realize the cakewalk’s transformation. Inside it, Aida (she changed the fresh new spelling off their unique identity regarding Ada so you can Aida, the name of one’s Haitian lwa off fertility) starred Rosetta Lightfoot which have a highlighted solamente, “I would like to Become a real Lady,” and “Cakewalk Finale,” married by the their own husband. “The brand new line, the latest sophistication, the hoping ecstasy ones dancers, exactly who curved more than backward until their thoughts almost moved the floor, a task requiring an incredible number of power, its keen prancing, almost in the slow-motion, have not been equaled in this particular revel, let-alone exceeded,” penned Carl Van Vechten (Van Vechten 1974). Dahomey try brought to London, where it actually was exhibited during the a command overall performance ahead of King Edward VII from the Buckingham Palace. United kingdom high-society then followed this new Regal Family members which have a good gushing love having cakewalking. The organization gone back to New york with a brand new variety of the sounds entitled In Dahomey, and that unwrapped on Grand Opera (1904).
Inside Williams and you will Walker’s next tell you, Abyssinia (1906), Overton Walker was each other a performer as well as the show’s choreographer. She was next checked inside the and you can staged the fresh new tunes wide variety to have Bandanna Homes (1908). Their episodes have been afterwards diagnosed since the syphilis. Into the 1909 the guy leftover brand new let you know, with his part is actually rewritten to own Overton Walker, just who donned his showy dresses and you will performed their numbers, in addition to their biggest tune, “Bon-bon Buddie.” With her husband’s position more sluggish deteriorating, and you will faced with in which their unique coming put, she chosen to not replenish her price having Williams and you can Walker and you can alternatively inserted this new cast regarding Bob Cole and you may J. Rosamonde Johnson’s New Reddish Moon (1909) in which she is checked in two musical quantity: “Pheobe Brown” and you can “Pickaninny Days,” dance dollar-and-wing for the chorus. She next launched during the The brand new York’s Western Theater that have a beneficial vaudeville operate offering a special moving, the new “Kara Kara,” otherwise dance l’Afrique.