by Robert Wilkinson
Besides Tom Petty and Jelly Roll Morton, today is also the birthday of one of the greatest dancers ever to hit the silver screen, the amazing Fayard Nicholas. If you want to see a tap dancer considered to be perhaps the greatest in the 20th century, check these out if you want to see some amazing moves!!
Fayard Nicholas (October 20, 1914 – January 24, 2006) was a choreographer, dancer and actor. With his brother Harold, these dynamic dancers used a highly acrobatic technique called flash dancing, as well as a high level of artistry and daring innovations. These guys were considered two of the greatest tap dancers of their times.
From Wikipedia, we read that "by 1940, they were in Hollywood and for several decades alternated between movies, nightclubs, concerts, Broadway, television, and extensive tours of Latin America, Africa, and Europe.
The Nicholas Brothers taught master classes in tap dance as teachers-in-residence at Harvard University and Radcliffe... Among their known students are Debbie Allen, Janet Jackson, and Michael Jackson."
For your enjoyment and amazement, the Nicholas Brothers!
From "Stormy Weather," here are the Nicholas brothers doing "The Jumpin' Jive" with Cab Calloway.
When they were kids, a bit called "Tap Dance."
From 1936 and still young, an excerpt from the all-black musical "The Black Network." Here are Fayard and Harold Nicholas singing and dancing in "Lucky Numbers."
From “the Big Broadcast of 1936,” here are the Nicholas Brothers with Bill “Bojangles” Robinson knocking it out of the park! “Miss Brown to You”
From the finale of the 1940 movie "Down Argentine Way," the Nicholas Brothers doing the title song, "Down Argentine Way."
In one of their more well-known performances from the 1941 movie "Sun Valley Serenade," here are Dorothy Dandridge and the Nicholas Brothers backed by Glenn Miller doing "Chattanooga Choo Choo."
Here’s a 7 minute interview with Fayard Nicholas titled “Mister Nicholas and Mister Astaire”
A great find, definitely worth the watch if you’re into “high flying dancing” and “virtuosity, charm, and athletic grace!” Here’s a 44 minute documentary titled “The Nicholas Brothers Documentary”
We'll close today with a performance from HW Palace in 1964, "My Kind Of Town." Fayard's the one doing the splits at age 50!!
Here’s the Nicholas Brothers Website if you want to know more about these amazing dancers!
Born in segregated America, Fayard and his brother lived to be world acclaimed artists, universally respected for their talent. RIP, gentlemen. You certainly raised the bar for all who followed!
© Copyright 2013 Robert Wilkinson