In a night that celebrated excellence in dance, Washington, D.C.’s Manzari Brothers, a fêted tap dancing duo, showed off their smooth moves before a national audience, Aug. 12.
John and Leo Manzari earned a coveted spot to perform on the season finale of the popular Fox television show, “So You Think You Can Dance,” during Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton’s National Dance Day.
Known for their recent performances in Duke Ellington’s Sophisticated Ladies at the Lincoln Theatre, the 17- and 15-year-old brothers have been compared to Gregory Hines and his brother Maurice, who discovered the brothers in try-outs for the play.
Said Hines, 66, in an April Washington Post article, “They are everything I have waited for all my life to find.” Norton also boasted about the “hometown sensations,” giving them center stage at her July 30th dance showcase on the National Mall, which SYTYCD’s producer and celebrity judge Nigel Lythgoe attended.
“The sensational Manzari brothers are D.C.’s very own hometown discoveries. Born and raised here, they are reviving the art of tap,” Norton said in a statement. “I told Nigel that he would be wowed by John and Leo. After seeing the brothers, he said he was going to try to hook them, and by heavens, he has!”
In addition to the dance number by John and Leo Manzari, the show’s season seven finale also featured performances by Ellen DeGeneres, indie rock duo Black Gold, and British “So You Think You Can Dance” winner Charlie Bruce.