Today, one almost can’t turn on the TV or radio or, open a newspaper, magazine, or web page without hearing a mention of Mr. Fred Astaire in reference to dancing. He has left a lasting impact on the world and when people think of a dancing legend, Fred Astaire is the first to come to mind. We are proud of our great dance heritage which began in 1947 when the Master of dance himself, Mr. Fred Astaire, co-founded our company.
Mr. Fred Astaire, considered to be the greatest multitalented dancer of all time, wanted to establish a chain of studios under his name to make sure that his techniques would be preserved and passed onto the public. Mr. Astaire was instrumental in the choice of dance curriculum and instructional techniques. With the opening of the first Fred Astaire Studio on Park Avenue in New York City, Fred Astaire brought his immense talent out of the glamour of Hollywood and onto the dance floors of America and the world.
“Some people seem to think that good dancers are born.” Astaire once observed. “All the good dancers I’ve known have been taught or trained. To me, dancing has always been fun. I enjoy every minute of it. I am glad that I can now put my knowledge to use in bringing personal confidence and a feeling of achievement to so many people.”
Today, numerous Fred Astaire Franchised Dance Studios located in cities throughout North America and internationally, are required to maintain the highest standards of excellence through our National Dance Board and Fred Astaire Franchised Dance Studios curriculum certification. Although Mr. Astaire is no longer with us in person, our studios have produced a wealth of amateur and professional dancers who are living embodiments of his style and grace.
Fred Astaire, born in 1899, began show business at the age of 5, performing on Broadway and in vaudeville with his sister, Adele. Then he headed to Hollywood where he began a successful partnership with Ginger Rogers for nine movies. By 1976, he had made 33 musical films with esteemed co-stars such as Joan Crawford, Rita Hayworth, Ann Miller, Debbie Reynolds and Cyd Charisse. He also co-starred with the biggest actors of that time, including Bing Crosby, Red Skelton, and Gene Kelly.
Fred Astaire was not only a great dancer – changing the face of the American movie musical with his style and grace – but he was also an actor in many different dramatic and comedic roles in both movies and TV specials. He won multiple Emmys for his work in television. The Towering Inferno (1974) earned him an Oscar nomination. He received an honorary Academy Award in 1950 for his “unique artistry and his contributions to the technique of musical pictures.”
Fred Astaire died in 1987 from pneumonia. With his passing, we lost a true dancing legend. His effortless lightness and grace may never be seen again. As Mikhail Baryshnikov observed at the time of his death, “No dancer can watch Fred Astaire and not know that we all should have been in another business.”
Although famous for his magical partnership with Ginger Rogers, Fred Astaire also danced with the leading ladies of his time, including Cyd Charisse, Lucille Bremer, Joan Leslie, Leslie Caron, Vera Ellen, Barrie Chase, Judy Garland, Eleanor Powell and Rita Hayworth.
“For ballroom dancing, remember that your partners have their own distinctive styles also. Cultivate flexibility. Be able to adapt your style to that of your partner. In doing so, you are not surrendering your individuality, but blending it with that of your partner.”
- Fred Astaire from The Fred Astaire Top Hat Dance Album, 1936
Fred Astaire starred in 31 musical films. He was famous for his collaboration with Ginger Rogers in the following films:
Fred Astaire introduced many classic songs by famous American composers, including: