Marie Bryant put a bun in Betty Grable’s oven 5

Dance · Film

The silken jazz dancer, Marie Bryant (1919-1978), seen here jiving with the great Harold Nicholas, was, for a time, rehearsal assistant to Jack Cole. That’s interesting. Cole’s performance group was all white. It wouldn’t be otherwise. But he clearly relied on Bryant for special tasks. Asked what she did for Jack Cole, Bryant replied,  “I teach Betty Grable to shake her buns.”

I have long wondered what transformed Grable from a schmaltzy-waltzer into the bootie-shaking hottie of “No Talent Joe.” I naturally credited Cole. Now I think differently. Enter Marie Bryant.

Thank you, Wandering & Pondering for posting on Marie Bryant.

5 thoughts on “Marie Bryant put a bun in Betty Grable’s oven

  1. Kirk Silsbee May 21,2013 10:19 pm

    Marie Bryant was to dance and choreography in mid 20th Century America what Benny Carter and Phil Moore were to motion picture soundtracks of the same era–an unseen professional hand that shaped many a dance routine on stage and screen–sometimes credited and sometimes not. Between Chicago and Los Angeles, there wasn’t much that she didn’t do during her career–from featured film spots to singing and dancing in black musicals to show-stopping club work to chorus line supervision to stripping. In the 1950s and ’60s, she was a show business doctor, whipping many a high-profile stage show into shape at the Hollywood supperclubs for headliners.
    Marie Bryant was an Old School master, and it’s a shame that she died before the tap revival could adequately acknowledge her contributions and achievements.

  2. Kevin Spicer Jan 21,2012 4:11 am

    That she can be attached to so many dance and cinema greats of the mid 20th Century is fantastic. She is worthy of a properly researched biography. I suspect more revelations about WHO did WHAT may come to light!

  3. debra Jan 16,2012 3:35 pm

    I need to look into the Loring school. Everything happened there. Thanks for your comments, Larry B and Bob B.

  4. Bob Boross Jan 16,2012 3:01 pm

    I wrote an article on Loring’s “freestyle” dance, utilizing the Loring collection at UC Irvine for research. There I found photos of Marie Bryant teaching class at his Am School of Dance. I always wondered who she was, and felt that she would probably be a fine subject for a research project. The sight of her cool black skin, adorned in gold bracelets, and her beaming smile, teaching a class of inhibited white dancers – such a perfect example of the qualities of the African-American dance tradition being transferred to that more staid white world.

  5. Larry Billman Jan 16,2012 4:14 am

    Thanks for opening the Pandora’s Box of WHO did WHAT. Marie Bryant was invaluable to Jack Cole and everyone she ever worked with. She “lived” what Jack “loved.” I hope your blog encourages readers to check her out on IMDb and elsewhere.

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