Nicholas Brothers – Flash! (So You Think You Can Dance?)

In honor of Black History Month, I’ll be featuring films either starring or representing African American themes.

Nicholas Brothers

This repost and film duo for the month is the incomparable Nicholas Brothers. Their energy and dynamic dance routines are legendary and unmatched by any other artist then or now.Ā Born during an era when African American entertainers were restricted in film appearancesĀ and even cut out for southern audiences, the Nicholas Brothers rose above and beyond the sensibilities of the times.

Nicholas Brothers

TheĀ Nicholas BrothersĀ were a famous African American team of dancing brothers, Fayard (1914ā€“2006) andĀ HaroldĀ (1921ā€“2000). Their highly acrobatic technique (“flash dancing“), demonstrated such a high level of artistry and daring innovations that they were considered by many to be the greatestĀ tap dancersĀ of their day.

Growing up with musician parents (mother played piano and father drums) who had their own band, the brothers were surrounded by some of the best Vaudeville acts of the time and became stars of the jazz circuit during the heyday of theĀ Harlem RenaissanceĀ . Fayard and Harold went on to have successful careers performing on stage, film, and television well into the 1990s.

 

Their signature move was to leapfrogĀ down a long, broad flight of stairs, while completing each step with a split. This move was performed to perfection in the finale of the movie,Ā Stormy WeatherĀ .Ā In my humble opinion, the “Jumpin’ Jive” dance number inĀ Stormy WeatherĀ was the greatest movie musical sequence of all time!

Nicholas Brothers - Jump!

Nicholas Brothers – Jump!

Another signature move was to arise from a split without using their hands.Ā Gregory HinesĀ (with brother Maurice – tap dancing brother and father team Hines, Hines and Dad) declared that if the Nicholas Brothers biography were ever filmed, their dance numbers would have to be computer generated because no one now could emulate them.Ā Ballet legendĀ Mikhail BaryshnikovĀ once called them the most amazing dancers he had ever seen in his life.

 

The Nicholas Brothers influenced every dancer that came after. Including Michael Jackson. Here they are together on the Jackson’s TV Show.

Legends of dance that should always be remembered!

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