Just come across an interview I did last year where I was asked what my favourite dance move was:
“Not sure about favourite move, but my favourite dancers are the Nicholas Brothers. The sad thing is that when you mention them not many people know who they were, yet they should have been more famous than people like Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly. They were, unfortunately, around at a time when the colour of their skin restricted them to bit parts in movies, when they should really have been given the full backing from Hollywood that their incredible talent deserved. Fortunately their immortality is assured via the wonderful routines they put together for spots in films like ‘Orchestra Wives’(1942), ‘Down Argentine Way’ (1940) and their pièce de résistance in the all black musical ‘Stormy Weather’(1943). Almost criminally, the movie parts dried-up and they ended up having to move to Paris in order to get some appreciation.
Also worth a big shout are the Savoy Ballroom’s dance crew ‘Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers’ who can be seen at the peak of the powers in the famous dance sequences from ‘Hellzapoppin’’ and ‘Hot Chocolate’ (both 1941).
These are the unsung heroes of dance, and I urge people to check them out via the clips on YouTube, or better still, the original films.”
Been meaning to pay homage to the Nicholas Brothers, and Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers, ever since I started the blog, so feast your eyes – here are the handful of clips I mentioned:
STORMY WEATHER (ALSO FEATURING CAB CALLOWAY & ORCHESTRA):
ORCHESTRA WIVES (ALSO FEATURING GLENN MILLER & ORCHESTRA):
DOWN ARGENTINE WAY:
HOT CHOCOLATE (ALSO FEATURING DUKE ELLINGTON & ORCHESTERA):
Nicholas Brothers Wikipedia:
Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers Wikipedia: