This may sound like hyperbole, but the following dance routine by the Nicholas Brothers very well might be the greatest dance routine I’ve ever seen. If you’ve never heard of the Nicholas Brothers, then you’re in for a treat!
The Nicholas Brothers were a team of dancing brothers, Fayard and Harold, who performed a highly acrobatic technique known as “flash dancing”. Flash dancing was a form of tap dance (tap was also called jazz dance at the time) that evolved in the 1920s–30s, which combined dance with acrobatics.
The Nicholas Brothers grew up surrounded by vaudeville acts as children. Vaudeville is a theatrical genre of variety entertainment. A typical vaudeville performance is made up of a series of separate, unrelated acts grouped together on a common bill. Types of acts have included popular and classical musicians, singers, dancers, trained animals, and magicians.
The brothers became stars of the jazz circuit during the heyday of the Harlem Renaissance and went on to have successful careers performing on stage, film, and television well into the 1990s.
With a high level of artistry and daring innovations, they were considered by many to be the greatest tap dancers of their day. Their performance in the musical number “Jumpin’ Jive” (with Cab Calloway and his orchestra) featured in the movie Stormy Weather is considered by many to be the most virtuosic dance display of all time.
The clip shows their performance from the 1934 film “Stormy Weather”, in which they perform their famous leapfrog move.
Make sure you watch the entire performance…you won’t be sorry!
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