Fred Astaire (wiki) (1899-1987), in Omaha, Nebraska. Born Fred Austerlitz, Astaire made his vaudeville debut with his sister, Adele, at the age of five; by the 1920s, they were dancing on Broadway and in London.*
After Adele's marriage in 1932, his search for a new partner led him to Hollywood, where he teamed up with Ginger Rogers for ten classic song-and-dance films, including Top Hat (1935) and Shall We Dance? (1937). Cool, sophisticated, and rakishly elegant, Astaire gave the illusion of effortless ease to the most technically exacting routines, notably with subsequent partners like Cyd Charisse (in Band Wagon, 1953). His remarkable potential was not always obvious - early in his Hollywood career, a casting director (who must have been drunk) famously wrote,
“Balding. Can’t act. Can dance a little.”
Astaire fundamentally changed the way dance was portrayed on film. Utilizing extended takes, Astaire, whether solo or with a partner, performed uninterrupted, intricate dance sequences that kept audiences captivated for decades.
Top Hat (1935):
Swing Time (1936):
Too Hot To Handle:
Here's an excellent compilation of Rita Hayworth dancing (much of the time with Astaire), set to Stayin' Alive: