Toni Elling at Vancouver International Burlesque Festival, May 2 at 8 pm at the Vogue Theatre, Vancouver.
Miss Toni Elling, hailing from Detroit, Michigan is an iconic figure of modern burlesque. She is hailed as a trailblazer dancing as a mature woman of colour. ”America’s Foremost Sepia Singing Ecdysiast” also wove her musical talents into her performances.
She had a good friendship with jazz great Duke Ellington, and earned the moniker ”The Duke’s Delight” and ”Satin Doll.” Today she is a very well loved and respected legend who continues to perform and teach across the United States. She was honoured as Burlesque Hall of Fame Legend of the Year 2014. More info and tickets: www.vanburlesquefest.com . Source: Helen Yaki.
” Stripper or burlesque dancer, it’s all the same to Detroit’s grand dame of the strip-tease, Toni Elling.
Born Rosita Simms, the 84-year-old hobnobbed with some of the top celebrities of her day, but despite many unsavoury proposals observed a strict code of ethics off the stage.
She was billed as America’s Foremost Sepia Singing Ecdysiast, a black woman in a profession dominated by whites. She counted among her friends bandleader Duke Ellington, fighter Joe Louis and entertainer Sammy Davis Jr.
Ellington told her he composed Satin Doll with her in mind.”
Since 1970, Elling has been living the quiet life away from the glare of stage lights on the same rundown west Detroit street surrounded by burned-out and derelict buildings. Source http://blogs.windsorstar.com/life/burlesque-legend-toni-elling-to-visit-windsor
Windsor Star newspaper by Ted Shaw, Oct 18, 2012.