Fred and Ginger: A match made in ballroom heaven


When you think of Fred Astaire, you think of Ginger Rogers. And when you think of Ginger Rogers, you think of Fred Astaire. Even though the two made over 100 films without the other, the movies that will always be in the forefront of their careers are the 10 magical pictures they made together. Whether it was the foxtrot, the waltz, the quickstep, or the polka, Fred and Ginger always delivered with elegance, grace, style, class, poise, and superior talent. Ginger’s gowns in all the pictures are breathtaking, and Fred always looks the part of an elegant gentleman. Choosing a favorite dance from each film is far from an easy task, and so instead of saying these are my favorites, I’ll simply say they are ones you won’t want to miss.

“Flying Down to Rio”                                                                                                                             Here we see Fred and Ginger’s first dance to the tune of “La Carioca.” While they were not the stars of the film, the duos potential was immediately recognized by audiences and studio executives alike.

“The Gay Divorcee”                                                                                                                                       It is hard to choose a favorite between the “The Continental” and “Night and Day.” However since “The Continental” went on to win the first even Academy Award for Best Original Song, I’ll choose the later as the better dance to make it even.

“Roberta”                                                                                                                                             Dancing to the classic song “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes.” This dance is a reprise of the song which is sung earlier in the film by Irene Dunn.

“Top Hat”                                                                                                                                              “Cheek to Cheek” is one of my favorite Astaire and Rogers dances. “Top Hat” is filled with top dances, top costumes, top singing, and top acting. It’s hard to pick one dance from the bunch that is the best. For me it’s Ginger’s dress made of shimmering white satin, adorned with ostrich feathers, and finished with a diamond encrusted neckline that makes this particular number one I will never forget.

“Follow the Fleet”                                                                                                                               During the first take of this number titled “Let’s Face the Music and Dance,” Fred was hit in the face by Ginger’s weighted gown. Even though they shot the scene multiple times after, Fred chose the original take for the final film cut.

“Swing Time”                                                                                                                                                 By far my favorite Fred and Ginger film. Here they dance to the song “Never Gonna Dance.” It is said that this scene took 47 takes to perfect, and by the end Ginger Rogers feet were bleeding.

“Shall We Dance”                                                                                                                           Although this number is not as ritzy as the finale of the film in which Fred dances with a chorus of women all wearing Ginger masks, I find this number “They All Danced” to be more magical and memorable.

“Carefree”                                                                                                                                        “Carefree” was the first Astaire-Rogers film to lose money for RKO and sadly signaled the end the duos partnership. This is the final dance scene in the movie titled “Change Partners.”

“The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle”                                                                                               In their last film for RKO Fred and Ginger deviate from their usual musical comedies and take on a biography.

“The Barkley’s of Broadway”                                                                                                              After 10 years of being apart, Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire reunited in their first and only Technicolor film for MGM. Here they dance to Gershwin’s “They Can’t Take That Away From Me,” which Fred had sung in their previous film “Shall We Dance,” but had not danced to it in that picture.

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