Henry Belcher (HB) and Major A. Mason III (MM)
HB: Well, I had as buddy and he used to dance up and down the docks down there, for you know, nickel, dimes and pennies and things. And naturally, he taught me the steps he knew. And you, you go to the shows or you go to the movies and you see certain ones doing different kinds of steps and you practice them. That was your teacher.
MM: Did you guys dance on the streets then?
HB: Right, right, we’d have jam sessions on the corners. They had different dances you know, one was called the sham, boogie, the fall off the log, you dance a little, you rap a little, like: ”step back, you apple jack, sham sham sham, now dig it jack.” We had a trio, we was called the Six Sensational Sizzling Shoes, we went to New York in ’39, but the more money my partners made, the worse they got. They got to drinking and fooling around with drugs and what not.
MM: And so you gave it up?
HB: Yeah, I told em all, I said you all go ahead. I’m just gonna get me a job and forget it. Yeah, I got married and settled down and forgot about dancing.
MM: Well I know when I first met you, you were tap dancing again, so how did you get back into tap dancing?
HB: Gregory Heinz came here and said he wanted to know if there were any old-time dancers still around, so they come and got me and said, come on down and do the show with us. So after I went down and did the show, one of the boys, one of the old-timers from Pittsburgh here, I told him, I said, well we might as well get together and form a team here in Pittsburgh, and we did. It’s a wonderful experience. I didn’t make a lot of money, no million dollars, but I had a million dollars worth of experience, and it was a wonderful journey doing that, you know (laughs).