This is Billie Mahoney. I first saw her at a tap jam. She had so much love in her eyes for her students that I knew immediately that I had to become one of them. Besides being my tap dance teacher, she has her own tap dance troupe, she’s a drummer in a band and hosts her own TV show. She seems to have more energy and focus than me or my friends.
She’s a living remnant of the vaudeville era that performed in the Barnum & Bailey circus back when the circus was cool.
She also performed with Bob Hope & Gregory Hines, Marylyn Monroe, and to our troops during the Korean war. She was not afraid to cross lines and perform in all black clubs during segregation.
I’ve chosen to get to know her before I interview her because I don’t want to make just a journalistic piece. I want you as an audience to experience something deeper. something magical.
This is a frame from filming that we’ve just begun. She looks at her wall and says quietly to herself “most of these people are dead”. She is an expert on movement who is moving through memory and ageing and making the today the best she can.