Dancer girls at the Mary Bruce Dancing School circa 1938.
Harlem dance legend, Mary Bruce, was an African-American woman who operated her own dance school studio giving dance and music training to thousands of youth, and helped build public awareness of dance and music in the Black community.
For fifty years she taught ballet and tap dance allowing free lessons to those who couldn’t afford lessons.
Katherine Dunham and Nat (King) Cole were students of Miss Bruce in Chicago, where she taught in the 1920’s and 30’s. Her New York students have included Ruby Dee, Martina Arroyo, Marlon Brando, and Josephine Premice.
Credit: Black Dance School