‘Dancing the Dream’ at the National Portrait Gallery

The National Portrait Gallery in Washington is currently hosting an exhibit called “Dancing the Dream,” which explores the relationship between the art of dance and the evolution of a modern American identity.

And since evolution is involved, it has to include this:

That Jimmy Fallon/Michelle Obama bit shows up as a QR code in one of the exhibit rooms, but there are posters, photos, paintings and videos of legendary dancers from the 19th to the 21st centuries. Dance forms range from ballet to ballroom and modern dance to video choreography. There are video clips from “West Side Story” and “The Firebird” ballet.

The clips include the last part of this Nicholas Brothers dance routine from the 1943 movie “Stormy Weather“:

You should have heard the groans (of admiration and the idea of torn hamstrings) as this clip played in the gallery. When you see the Nicholas Brothers in action, the dancing in “Saturday Night Fever” or “Michael Jackson’s Thriller” (which are also on display) seem as challenging as “Mom Dancing.”

(And by the way: Thank goodness the government shutdown is over. This exhibit was closed because of it.)