Nicholas Brothers Stormy Weather

The Nicholas Brothers are often referred to as the best tap dancers of all time. The brothers who invented “flash dancing,” which combined acrobatics with tapĀ and ballet, astonishingly never had professional dance training. They taught themselves.

The sons of college-educated musicians, Fayard and Harold Nicholas spent a considerable amount of time around African-American vaudeville acts during their youth. They were fascinated with the acrobatics and tap dancing. They began to mimic these performers for other kids in the neighborhood.

These young boys appeared to have created a new genre of dancing. They took Philadelphia by storm in the late 1920s and then moved on to Harlem. They became stars of the Harlem Renaissance. By 1932, they were in their first film, Harlem’s Cotton Club. That’s when Hollywood took notice of the brothers.

Their performance in Stormy Weather has stood the test of time. Long after this 1943 film was released, the Nicholas Brothers performance is considered to be the best of all time. During the final scene, Fayard and Harold dance while Cab Calloway’s orchestra plays “Jumpin Jive.” Their signature move of leapfrogging down steps, while completing each step with a split caught the attention of anyone who saw it.

Dancing legend Fred Astaire even said this was the best dance ever captured on film. You can see the Nicholas Brothers’ incredible dance moves from Stormy Weather in the video below.

Wow! They appeared to defy gravity.

Gregory Hines said if a biographical movie was filmed about the Nicholas Brothers that their dance moves would have to be done by computer as nobody else could repeat them. Ballet legend Mikhail Baryshnikov said they were the most amazing dancers he had ever seen.

The Nicholas Brothers continued performing into the 1990s. They loved to dance and did so as long as they were able.

Share this if you have never seen anyone dance like quite like the Nicholas Brothers!

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