Marvin Jones & Son are a black father-and-son dance team in The Life Fantastic. Marvin is suffering from ill health so his son, Pietro, has to go on stage solo, which means he must invent new dance routines at the last minute.
A dance team in real life, The Nicholas Brothers appeared on vaudeville stages as suave, accomplished dancers. They were elegant and acrobatic. Many feel that there have never been dancers as good as they were. And still, they had to face racial bigotry as they traveled around the country.
(Photograph from the Dance Division of the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Astor, Lenox,
and Tilden Foundations)