Wednesday, January 25, 2006
If you don't know who the man in the photo above is, you should. His name was Fayard Nicholas. He was one half of the Nicholas brothers, arguably the most amazing dancers of the 20th Century. He died yesterday, age 91.
I was lucky enough to know Fayard. He was a regular attendee at a theatre company with which I'm involved. He never missed one of our shows or special events, despite his age, and was always gracious, fun, funny and just had such an incredible life-force around him. It was obvious why he lived so long. Because he wanted to; because he enjoyed life. Although he was in his late 80s and early 90s while I knew him, he never seemed old. In fact, I don't think he was even sick until the stroke late last year, which eventually led to his death.
If you want to be amazed by something in a film that wasn't done with special effects, check out the 1943 film Stormy Weather. The Nicholas brothers perform an acrobatic dance number up and down orchestra risers, and then keep topping themselves with every move as they approach the finale.
That's sort of how Fayard lived his life. Things just kept getting better toward the finale. I was privileged and honored to know him, and I'm going to miss seeing his smiling face and feeling his pure love for the world around the theatre.
I salute you, friend. You were unique.
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