(Listen on BBC4 at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p04d4b02 )
In 1943 two African American brothers from Philadelphia performed a dance routine in the film Stormy Weather, which Fred Astaire would come to refer to as the greatest movie musical sequence he had ever seen. For Fayard and Harold Nicholas – otherwise known as The Nicholas Brothers – this was no small feat in 1940s Hollywood, when racial prejudice was commonplace. Entirely self-taught the brothers had been regular performers at Harlem’s famous Cotton Club – working with the orchestras of Cab Calloway and Duke Ellington – and became known for their highly acrobatic and artistic technique – with one of the brothers later going on to teach Michael Jackson. Dancer and choreographer Stuart Thomas explains why The Nicholas Brothers have been such an inspiration.
First broadcast on Front Row, 19 October 2016.
25 October 2016