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Fred Astaire called the Nicholas Brothers’ performance in 'Stormy Weather' “The greatest dance number ever filmed.”

Star-Studded Gala Honors the Nicholas Brothers, Tap-Dance Pioneers

(From left to right) Nicole Nicholas, Rico Anderson (actor who played 1950s Harold Nicholas), Tegan Summer (producer and director of the tribute), Michele Weaver (actress who played Dorothy Dandridge), Cathie Nicholas

The Nicholas brothers rose to fame and stardom from their humble beginnings in Philadelphia by pioneering and redefining tap dance in the 1930s. On Sunday January 25, 2015 I attended a star-studded gala event that honored and paid tribute to Hollywood’s greatest tap-dance team, Fayard Nicholas and his brother Harold. The event took place at the historic 1,400-seat Alex Theatre in Glendale, California.

Emmy Award winner Stan Taffel hosted the event. In attendance were Nicholas family members and special guests including Nichelle Nichols (“Lieutenant Uhura” in the Star Trek television series); Gloria Hendry (“Rosie Carver” in the Roger Moore James Bond classic Live and Let Die); and band leader and tap dancer Chester Whitmore.

My interest in the Nicholas Brothers peaked when my daughter Michele Weaver was cast to play Dorothy Dandridge, who was married to Harold Nicholas for seven years. Tegan Summer, Prospect House Entertainment CEO, produced and directed the tribute, which thrilled attendees with film clips, live routines, and never-before-seen home movie footage.

Nicole Weaver and Tony Nicholas (son of Fayard Nicholas)

The Nicholas Brothers never had formal dance training, but their incredible talent caught the attention of Hollywood producers, which led to them being cast in many films. Producer Samuel Goldwyn invited the brothers to be a part of Kid Millions, their first Hollywood film. By 1932, they were a featured act at the Cotton Club, working with the orchestras of Cab Calloway, Duke Ellington, and Jimmy Lunceford. Fayard and Harold Nicholas became legends who transcended race and time.

The film Stormy Weather, produced and released by 20th Century Fox in 1943, showcased the Nicholas Brothers as one of the top African-American performers in an era when African-Americans rarely appeared in lead roles in mainstream Hollywood.

Fred Astaire called the Nicholas Brothers’ performance in Stormy Weather “The greatest dance number ever filmed.” After watching the film clip, I definitely have to agree with Fred Astaire. The Nicholas Brothers were, in my opinion, pure genius.

I am so honored I had the chance to meet Fayard Nicholas’ son Tony Nicholas and his two granddaughters Nicole and Cathie Nicholas.

At the end of the tribute, the Nicholas family made an appeal to the audience with the following statement: “Our goal is to keep the legacy of Tap and the dance style of the Nicholas Brothers alive and well. If you share that vision, please stay in touch by email or mail to: The Fayard Nicholas Foundation, 10736 Jefferson Blvd, Suite 373, Culver City, CA 90230 or [email protected].”

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About Nicole Weaver

Nicole Weaver is an award-winning author. Her first trilingual book Marie and Her Friend the Sea Turtle was published in 2009. Her love for languages and other cultures resulted in publishing the award-winning book, My Sister Is My Best Friend which was published in 2011 by Guardian Angel Publishing. My Sister Is My Best Friend has won the following awards: 2012 Creative Child Awards Program consisting of moms and educators has awarded this book the 2012 PREFERRED CHOICE AWARD Kids Picture Storybooks category. 2012 Children's Literary Classics Seal of Approval 2012 Children's Literary Classics Gold Award Readers' Favorite 5 Star Review Her newest book , My Brother Is My Best Friend was also published by Guardian Angel Publishing, January 2014.