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Vintage Photo: Harold Nicholas

February 17, 2024

Vintage Photo: Harold Nicholas

February 17, 2024
Gabriela Novellino

Harold Nicholas performing onstage at the Cotton Club, 1938.

Tapdancers performing onstage at the Cotton Club. (Photo by George Karger/Getty Images)

Harold Nicholas, born on March 27, 1921, was one half of the legendary tap-dancing duo, the Nicholas Brothers, alongside his brother Fayard. Renowned for their unparalleled athleticism and precision in tap dance, Harold Nicholas showcased an extraordinary talent for rhythm and improvisation. Throughout his career, he left an indelible mark on the world of dance, earning accolades for his dynamic performances on stage and in numerous classic films, including his memorable contributions to the golden era of Hollywood musicals.

The Cotton Club, a historic jazz and entertainment venue in Harlem, New York City, was a renowned hotspot during the Prohibition era, attracting top performers and featuring iconic acts in music and dance. Despite being a celebrated venue for African American talent during the Harlem Renaissance, notably perpetuated racial segregation by allowing only white patrons in the audience, reflecting the discriminatory practices prevalent in the early to mid-20th century United States.

Gabriela Novellino

Gabs started dancing in 1995 at four years old and has never stopped. While spending a year abroad in Leeds, UK in 2012, she discovered the dances of the Jazz Age, fell hopelessly in love, and decided to dedicate her life to this passion. She acts as a dancer, teacher, choreographer, researcher, dj and event organizer primarily in Brazil, Chile, and other South American scenes. She specializes mainly in Lindy Hop, Authentic Jazz, 1920s’ Charleston and Collegiate Shag. During the pandemic, Gabs has reinvented herself in order to bring people together through dance in an online format, by hosting online classes, sharing interesting information on social media and organizing big events, such as América Latina Swings. She is also a huge history geek and loves to dig deeper into the roots of Jazz music and dance. As a guest in the culture, she honors the opportunity to share the legacy and culture of Black American artists who created this art form.

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