Thursday, January 26, 2006


Harold and Fayard NicholasDid you hear that sound? It was the sound of tap shoes mourning the passing of one of the class acts of dance - Fayard Nicholas, of the Nicholas Brothers dance team, died earlier this week. He was 91.

Fayard and his brother Harold - who died in 2000 - brought class, style, and moves to tap dancing that will be copied - but never duplicated - for ages to come.

I first saw the Nicholas brothers in a retrospective piece that 60 Minutes did on them several years back. The Nicholas Brothers with Dorothy Dandridge in 1941These two men were the tap dancers of the 20th century, bar none. Gregory Hines learned from them; Savion Glover learned from them; Sammy Davis, Jr. learned from them; Debbie Allen and even Michael Jackson learned from Harold and Fayard.

What you thought Michael came up with moonwalk? Fayard and Harold were doing that step when Michael's father was a gamete!

The children of show business parents from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Harold and Fayard made it look easy. They performed at the legendary Cotton Club in Harlem, they performed in movies, in the Ziegfeld Follies, and even a Command Performance for the King of England as well as for several U.S. Presidents.

They have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and have been awarded the Kennedy Center Honors, as well as a Tony Award and have made appearances in several films.

Their moves are legendary, even into their sixth decade on stage. Fayard will be missed. He and his brother sprang from an era when stage shows had something that is sadly missing from much popular culture today - style. [ Images courtesy of the Nicholas Brothers Website

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