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Gliding Off the Dance Floor: Fayard Nicholas

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Gliding Off the Dance Floor: Fayard Nicholas

Gliding Off the Dance Floor: Fayard Nicholas

Gliding Off the Dance Floor: Fayard Nicholas

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/5173865/5173866" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Fayard (left) and Harold Nicholas tap-dancing on a bandstand in Stormy Weather. Getty Images hide caption

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

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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.