Friday, December 30, 2011
by Caroline Palmer
From childhood performances alongside Cab Calloway to thrilling scenes in Hollywood musicals, the dancing Nicholas Brothers were always tapped for greatness
The best popular dancers of this century stand out for their signature styles. Fred Astaire brought effortless grace to every step, Cyd Charisse swept elegantly across the stage, and Gene Kelly radiated charm. When it comes to the Nicholas Brothers, a single scene from the 1940 film Down Argentine Way speaks for itself: They enter dressed in spotless eveningwear and start tapping at a clean clip, every part of their bodies engaged in motion. Before you know it, Harold and Fayard Nicholas are turning cartwheels and flips, landing in the splits, and moonwalking before Michael Jackson was ever the Thriller. They always return, then, to a perfect tempo, nary a thread out of place--a flawless marriage of flash and control. Such moments have led other master movers like Mikhail Baryshnikov to say, "They are probably the most amazing dancers I've seen. Those guys are perfect examples of pure genius."