The Berry Brothers were an exotic acrobatic tap dance trio. The trio was composed of Ananias, James, and Warren Berry. The three dancers stayed active in the entertainment business for over three decades.
Ananias and James Berry were both born in New Orleans in 1913 and 1915 respectively. They were already performing in Chicago when their younger brother, Warren was born in 1922.
By 1924, the two older brothers performed in vaudeville in New York at the Cotton Club and in London. The dance duo was later joined by Warren in 1935 and gained much success as trio dancers.
The dance trio endured a face off in 1938 at the Cotton Club with the Nicholas Brothers. The confrontation became legendary, a sort of dance-fight for supremacy. By some accounts the Berry Brothers were more athletic but the Nicholas brothers were better overall performers which the crowd preferred.
When Ananias Berry died of heart failure in 1951 James and Warren continued dancing together for a few more years. James Berry died in 1969 and Warren continued working as a film editor for 15 years.
That’s the Joint!: The Hip-hop Studies Reader By Mark Anthony Neal