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YouTube Gold: The Nicholas Brothers

Fayard and Harold Nicholas did things that have to be seen to be believed.

Nicholas Brothers In Sun Valley Serenade
Dancers Fayard Nicholas (1914 - 2006) and brother Harold Nicholas (1921 - 2000) dancing in front of a train in the H. Bruce Humberstone musical ‘Sun Valley Serenade’ in 1941.
Photo by Archive Photos/Getty Images

A lot of you who read this probably grew up thinking that tap dancing is something that nerds do in church basements and perhaps, occasionally, at talent shows, to polite applause.

People who think that have never seen the Nicholas Brothers.

When you think of athletes, you don’t think of tap dancers, but we defy you to find the greatest athletes you can think of and see if any of them can do this. Go down the list: Michael Jordan?


Tom Brady?


Sugar Ray Leonard? Probably not.

Simone Biles? She could handle the athleticism but the dancing? Hard to say. She’s probably the one person who would be the most likely to be able to handle what the Nicholas Brothers did in the train station scene. You’d almost have to be a gymnast to do this stuff. But the scene from Stormy Weather?

Genius like that is exceedingly rare. It must have taken phenomenal strength and flexibility to leap into a split the way they did and then to rise up slowly? With no hands?

Really it should be impossible and of course for almost everyone in the world, it is.

Gregory Hines, probably the greatest tap dancer in recent times, talked about the Nicholas Brothers and says he quickly realized that they could never be matched, much less surpassed. There was nothing like them before and there has been nothing close to them since.