75 Years Ago, History’s Best Dance Routine Was Filmed Unrehearsed and on First Take

We were all born knowing how to dance. It’s just an innate instinct we have to start moving when we hear music. In fact, it’s almost unconscious. However, only a few people are actually gifted dancers, and most of them have years of practice or training that make them rise above the rest. As it turns out, one of the best dancing routines in film history was captured more than 75 years ago. Two brothers were dancing on the set of the movie “Stormy Weather,” which starred Bill Robinson and Lena Horne and was released in 1943.

In the movie, two brothers stole the show and performed what dancing and acting great Fred Astaire called “the greatest dancing he had ever seen on film.” The brothers were Harold and Fayard Nicholas. Yes, it’s good dancing. The best dancing. But what makes this routine so extraordinary is that it was filmed without the brothers rehearsing it and it was all done in one take. Yes, you read that right. One take. These guys aren’t just good dancers. They were clearly skilled at acrobatics and gymnastics as well, and their dancing was absolutely sophisticated and elegant, even as they did the splits at the same time.

Stormy Weather Nicholas Brothers dance routine

The movie itself was honored by the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress because it was considered to be “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” I wager that it’s all three of those things. On the official movie poster, the Nicholas brothers were listed right along with Lena Horne, Bill Robinson, and Cab Calloway, although they were down there at the bottom.

Nicholas Brothers Brotherhood in Rhythm

Watch this incredible routine below.