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Gliding Off the Dance Floor: Fayard Nicholas

Fayard (left) and Harold Nicholas tap-dancing on a bandstand in <i>Stormy Weather</i>.
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Fayard (left) and Harold Nicholas tap-dancing on a bandstand in Stormy Weather.

Fayard Nicholas, half of the famously acrobatic tap-dancing team the Nicholas Brothers, died earlier this week. He was 91.

The Nicholas Brothers -- Fayard and his younger brother, Harold -- performed alongside big-band jazz acts of the 1930s and '40s. For the 1943 film Stormy Weather, they astounded audiences by swooping around the stage during a Cab Calloway number, never breaking a sweat as they hurled themselves through the air in full tuxedoes.

Fayard Nicholas was born in Mobile, Ala., in 1914. During their career together, the brothers performed at Harlem's Cotton Club, sang and danced for Britain's King Edward IV, and toured the world with their jazz and tap performances. Harold Nicholas, who died in 2000, spoke to Fresh Air about his career with his brother.

Copyright 2022 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

Combine an intelligent interviewer with a roster of guests that, according to the Chicago Tribune, would be prized by any talk-show host, and you're bound to get an interesting conversation. Fresh Air interviews, though, are in a category by themselves, distinguished by the unique approach of host and executive producer Terry Gross. "A remarkable blend of empathy and warmth, genuine curiosity and sharp intelligence," says the San Francisco Chronicle.
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