Acrobatic tapdancers of the 1943 film Stormy Weather
The Nicholas Brothers were a tremendously acrobatic tap dancing team of the mid-20th century. The sons of vaudeville musicians, the brothers began singing and dancing as youngsters. Their act developed into an astonishing mix of tap dancing, flips, splits and other show-stopping moves. They played the Cotton Club alongside luminaries like Duke Ellington and performed on Broadway in the Ziegfeld Follies of 1936 and other shows. In Hollywood they were featured in films like Kid Millions (1934, with Ethel Merman) and Sun Valley Serenade (1941, with Sonja Henie), though as African-Americans they often were given just enough screen time for one showstopping number. Their spectacular staircase dance in the 1943 musical Stormy Weather has become their signature movie moment. In 1991 they were honored at the Kennedy Center for their achievements.
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