Nicholas Brothers Doc Makes Short but Strong Showing at Tribeca Film Festival

Image via the Tribeca Film Festival

BY TRAV S.D. | It’s opening day at the Tribeca Film Festival (June 8-19) and I want to take the occasion to plug one film they’re showing in particular. 

I don’t usually get excited about modern movie shorts but I think you’ll instantly understand why this one jumped out at me (see what I did there?). The 20-minute documentary Nicholas Brothers: Stormy Weather is a fast-moving and fascinating deconstruction and reconstruction of the life, art and significance of the eponymous black dance team (see my post on them here) directed by Michael Shevloff and Paul Crowder.

It covers a lot of ground, but the hub of the wheel is their most famous dance, in the 1943 Hollywood musical Stormy Weather, and a contemporary danced homage by Les Twins, twin  hip hop dancers and choreographers from France whose very existence gives me a smidgen of hope for the world.

This film is a wonderful melange of commentary by Savion Glover, Moses Boyd, Le Twins, and (archivally) the Nicholas Brothers and the late Gregory Hines, as well as historic dance clips, clips of Les Twins’ new dance, those of other dancers (like Glover), and even some filmed historic re-creations of the boys’ childhood in vaudeville.

Naturally, the discussion isn’t only about art but about race, and as Glover puts it so well, “the magic of a culture, the magic of a people.” That’s a lot but it’s not too much. Like one of the Nicholas Brothers’ own routines it crams something good into every single second. 

I can’t recommend it highly enough. More about the film, including showtimes in the Tribeca Film Festival is here.

Saturday, June 11 at 5:45pm / Village East by Angelika – Theater 2 followed by Q&A /  Screening in the Shorts: Life, Camera, Action! program
Friday, June 17 at 6:00 PM / Cinépolis Chelsea – Theater 6 followed by Q&A / Screening in the
Shorts: Life, Camera, Action! program

Monday, June 13 at 6:00pm / Tribeca At Home (Online Platform)


Laurent Bourgeois and Larry Nicolas Bourgeois (Les Twins) pay homage to the Nicholas Brothers. | Photo via the Tribeca Film Festival

NOTE: This film review, reprinted with permission, was originally published on Travalanche, the online home of observations from longtime Chelsea Community News contributor Trav S.D. Click here to see the original version of  Trav’s review.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Writer and performer Trav S.D. ( has written for the NY Times, the Village Voice, American Theatre, Time Out NY, Reason, the Villager and numerous other publications. He has been in the vanguard of New York’s vaudeville and burlesque scenes since 1995 when he launched his company Mountebanks, which has presented hundreds of top variety acts ranging from Todd Robbins to Dirty Martini to Lady Rizo to the Flying Karamazov Brothers. He has directed his own plays, revues and solo pieces in NYC since 1989 at such venues as Joe’s Pub, La Mama, Dixon Place, Theatre for the New City, the Ohio Theatre and the Brick. In 2014 he produced and directed the smash-hit I’ll Say She Is, the first ever revival of the Marx Brothers hit 1924 Broadway show in the NY International Fringe Festival. He is perhaps best known for his 2005 book No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, recently cited by Bette Midler in People magazine as one of her favorite books. His recent show Horseplay. or the Fickle Mistress at LaMama starred Everett Quinton, Molly Pope, Jan Leslie Harding, andTim Cusack. More about All Things Trav S.D. are at:


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