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Photograph of Anna Bailey, Special Collections Department
Photograph of Anna Bailey, Special Collections Department

Anna Bailey

Complete Transcript (.pdf)

Anna Bailey arrived in Las Vegas in 1955 to perform as a dancer for the opening of the Moulin Rouge Hotel and Casino. Six months later the Rouge closed, leaving both Anna and her husband Bob, the house singer and emcee at the Hotel, without work. Nevertheless, Anna and Bob decided to make Las Vegas their home, convinced in the growth potential of the city. Anna, however, was not ready to give up dancing, and went on the road, dancing a starring role in a Larry Steele production, and later as lead dancer in Pearl Bailey's troupe. Tiring of the road after five years, Anna began applying for positions in the Las Vegas clubs. After many auditions, the Flamingo Hotel hired her as the first African American to dance in a "house" chorus line on the Strip. From the beginning, she enjoyed the work. The dancers and management were sincerely friendly, and she was able to live at home with her family in the Bonanza Village section of the Westside. When Anna decided to end her career as a dancer, she became one of the first black women in Nevada to hold a gambling license, owning and operating several small nightclubs. Anna's career spanned from her pre-teen years in New York, to Los Angeles and the stages of Europe. While performing in smaller venues in the South, she and other troupe members had to knock on strangers' doors to find rooms for the night. It is fitting that she ended her career in Las Vegas, the entertainment capital of the world. She is truly a class act.