Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers’ movies were before my time, but after going down an Astaire rabbit hole, I’d say this is one of my favorite clips. They look like they are having fun. If you listen closely, you can hear Rogers laughing and groaning. It’s a live recording, continuous filming, no cuts. That was Astaire’s preference.
Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, “Roberta” 1935, the musical number was called “I’ll Be Hard To Handle”:
One of their famous dances, from “Swing Time” 1936. Rogers seemed especially light on her feet here:
Astaire had a fluid style that melded tap, ballroom and ballet. He was inspired by rhythm tap dancers like John Bubbles and developed a fondness for uneven rhythms. Full-bodied and highly complex, his dancing always looked easy. In his movies, Astaire had significant control over how his dancing was filmed, insisting that dance sequences be filmed in their entirety with stationary cameras. He had the camera frame his entire body tightly so the audience could see every step clearly.
– Fred Astaire: The King Of Movie Musicals, Rachel Caldwell, October 2015
To Mikhail Baryshnikov, the ballet superstar, Mr. Astaire`s dancing was simply “perfection.” George Balanchine, the late choreographer, referred to Mr. Astaire as “the greatest dancer in the world. . . . You see a little bit of Astaire in everybody`s dancing–a pause here, a move there. It was all Astaire`s, originally.”
– Fred Astaire, 88, `the Greatest Dancer In The World` (Obituary), Chicago Tribune, June 1987 (Astaire had just died of pneumonia at the age of 88)
A nice overview: