Vintage films are filled with wonderful dance scenes that just aren’t replicated in modern film anymore, especially ballroom dance scenes. There’s a magic and elegance watching a couple twirl across the dance floor, and have inspired many of us to want to learn how to dance with a partner in the first place. So without further ado, I’m pleased to present my favorite Top 10 Vintage Film Ballroom Dance Scenes. Yes there’s a lot of Fred and Ginger, but no other couple had as many onscreen dances as this duo.
- Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers – the waltz in Swing Time (1936)Swing Time is one of the best dance films of all time, and Fred and Ginger light up the screen with their on-and-off-the-dance floor chemistry.
- Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers – dance studio number in Swing Time (1936) If it wasn’t for the virtuosity of the waltz in Swing Time I think this clip might make it to #1 for me. It’s fun, playful, and expressive, and it’s always fun to watch Lucky (Astaire) surprise Penny (Rogers).
- Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers – “Dancing Cheek to Cheek” in Top Hat (1935) This is from the golden era of Fred and Ginger, and one of their best loved dance scenes.
- Cyd Charisse and Ricardo Montalban – tango to “Orchids in the Moonlight” in On an Island With You (1948) Before he was known as Kahn, Ricardo Montalban shared quite a few tangos with the lovely Cyd Charisse.
- Gene Kelly and Cyd Charisse – Singin’ in the Rain (1952) Gene Kelly was a more athletic dancer than Fred Astaire, but this passionate pairing with Cyd Charisse shows off Gene’s powerful style of dancing. Click here for the video
- Fred Astaire and Jane Powell – Royal Wedding (1951) Jane Powell was one of Astaire’s post-Ginger pairings that came off remarkably well on-screen. Their characters play a brother and sister, mirroring the real life relationship Astaire had with his sister, Adele.
- Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers – dancing the swingtrot in The Barkleys of Broadway (1949) This film reunited Fred and Ginger, and although it didn’t do well at the box office, the opening scene demonstrates that although a decade has passed, the chemistry between them would live on forever.
- Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers – dancing to Cole Porter’s “Night and Day” in The Gay Divorcee (1934) Astaire uses his dance powers of persuasion to woo Rogers. As usual the pair start off sparring with some tap, but as the song progresses they move elegantly into a beautiful ballroom number.
- Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers – dancing to “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes in Roberta (1935) Roberta was originally made for Broadway, but became a star vehicle for RKO’s famed dancers.
- Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers – The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle (1939) This film was a tribute to Vernon and Irene Castle, the husband and wife team credited with making ballroom dancing popular. This was the last film they pair would do together under the RKO umbrella, until they were reunited in The Barkleys of Broadway ten years later.
And, if you’ve always wanted to make like Fred and Ginger, come by the ATOMIC Ballroom on Saturday nights for our Ballroom Dance!