If superheroes danced, they might use the moves performed by the late Fayard and Harold Nicholas in the 1940s film Stormy Weather. Today, some believe Computer Generated Imagery may be the only way to duplicate their filmed dance sequences.
Many people including, Fred Astaire, Mikhail Baryshnikov, and Gregory Hines were fans. According to Fred Astaire, the dance sequence in Stormy Weather was the finest film sequence he had ever seen.
The Nicholas Brothers were honored by the Kennedy Center in 1991 for their body of work spanning six decades.
What is also so incredible about the dance sequence in Stormy Weather is that it all started with a little boy, Fayard Nicholas, watching famous Black entertainers perform in theatres, imitating their performances and teaching himself then his siblings how to dance.
The color movie clip below featuring Fayard, and his younger brother Harold, seven years his junior, showcases two performers who had no formal training: no film rehearsal, one take.
Starting in infancy, baby Fayard accompanied his parents, college educated musicians to their theatre jobs where he learned a lot about show business in his early youth (youth-ling?). The black and white video clip below underscores his childhood progress and that of his pupil, his younger brother Harold.
Exposing a toddler to a creative environment had jaw dropping results in this case. Both brothers were talented. But Fayard Nicholas in addition to the natural ability of a dancer, exhibited creative ability and teaching skill in the genius range.
In the film, Cab Calloway is the host and singer, crooning “Jumpin Jive” with his orchestra. Calloway, the first African American musician to sell one million records introduces the Nicholas brothers and then humorously bops out of the scene.
Mean feet: the tap-dancing duo who were Fred Astaire’s heroes | Dance | The Guardian
Dancing Joy: The Story of the Nicholas Brothers | by Charlene DeKalb | Fanfare | Medium
The brothers appear at about 4:57 of the official YouTube Video for Janet Jackson’s Alright released in 1989.
The Unbelievable Fact About The Nicholas Brothers’ Stormy Weather Dance Routine (grunge.com)
Nicholas Brothers | Biographies, Movies, & Facts | Britannica
Kennedy Center Honors – 1991 | Winners & Nominees (awardsandwinners.com)
Nicholas Brothers – The Official Licensing Website of Nicholas Brothers (cmgww.com)
Selected Reactions on Youtube
What in the World! First Time Hearing Jumpin Jive – Cab Calloway and the Nicholas Brothers
Rob Squad, Jay and Amber Robinson. Includes hysterical coach comments. Black and white movie clip, 10:44.
Cartier Family: Jumpin Jive – Cab Calloway and the Nicholas Brothers.
Five African American male college students uploaded a YouTube video three days ago. Color movie clip. Very funny reaction. Includes some adult language content, 9:43.
First Time Hearing Jumpin Jive Calloway and the Nicholas Brothers.
Rome Life Reactions, 9:14. Includes large size black and white video.
Twins the New Trend