Thursday, February 16, 2012
NOW THAT'S DANCING!
The Nicholas Brothers perform what Fred Astaire called "the greatest dance number ever filmed." This performance is from the film, "Stormy Weather," 1943. The film also featured Cab Calloway (shown here briefly), Bill "Bojangles" Robinson and Lena Horne. While allied troops were fighting Hitler's antisemitism and racism abroad, at home America was still deeply segregated. This was an era when black actors and singers rarely appeared in lead roles in Hollywood movies. This movie was one of two major Hollywood musicals produced in 1943 with primarily African-American casts (the other being "Cabin in the Sky") and provided a showcase of talent not normally seen by mainstream (read: White) audiences. Years later, tap-dancing was looked down upon as old-fashioned and Uncle Tom, but the talent of these performers is undeniable and dancers like the Nicholas Brothers influenced later generations of dancers.