In addition to being a performer, he is also an instructor.
Bryant has been a professor at Cal State L.A. for the past six years, teaching jazz tap technique and the history of tap. He also teaches seniors at the university's Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, and young people at the Los Angeles County School for the Arts.
"I have a ball with them," Bryant said. "The torch I carry for this art form is very heavy, but I promised my mentor Bill Robinson that I would carry it."
For his dedication to encourage people of all ages to seek a higher education, the city of Los Angeles named him a Cultural Treasure and the Ambassador of Tap on July 18.
"What can I say, I'm having a hard time keeping both feet on the ground," Bryant said. "I was honored. I was just over the top. I'm enjoying every moment of it."
Many people attended the event, which was held at the Luckman Intimate Theatre on the campus Cal State L.A., and university spokesperson Sean Kearny was one such attendee.
"It was inspiring to see someone like Ardie acknowledged, because it recognized that his contribution extends far beyond just his seven-decade career as an entertainer," Kearny said. "He's essentially gone from tapping to teaching." The city of Los Angeles has declared him the Ambassador of Tap to go out and talk to young people about the arts and to encourage them to continue their education, said his wife Ann Bryant. "I'm passing my knowledge onto the younger generation as it was passed on to me," Ardie Bryant said. "I'm tough with my classes, but I give them the best that I've got and they give me the same in return."
Bryant has performed as a jazz tap percussionist with many jazz legends, including Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie.
"I accept it on behalf of the great dancers before me," Ardie Bryant said. "They took two steps in their lives in order that I could take one."
In May, he performed at the Walt Disney Concert Hall with the Luckman Jazz Orchestra paying homage to Duke Ellington, Bryant said. "He does improvisational tap," Ann Bryant said. "He choreographs as he dances. He will never do the same step twice."