Some folks have proposed that Dean Collins danced in "The Canterville Ghost" (1944), or that he did "the choreography."
I have a dvd with the film, and Dean is not in this scene, certainly not dancing.
Margaret O'Brien is the young girl. No one seems to know who the two male dancers are.
This is a delightful film, and this scene plays quite well in the context of the entire story where American Rangers are housed in a castle haunted by the title ghost played by Charles Laughton.
As an aside...
Laughton introduced Elvis Presley when he first appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1956, which isn't exactly his best known gig, but there it is. (Sullivan had been in a car accident. More about that here http://www.elvispresleymusic.com.au/pictures/1956_september_9_ed_sullivan_show.html)
Jump ahead to 46:30 to see the latest "jitterbug steps" being done in Hollywood in late 1938. "it took several days to rehearse and pick the pairs from fifty-seven dance teams..."
Can anyone identify them?
This one came out the year before Dean Collins was in his first film. This was filmed in the summer of 1939.
Watch the woman in the white dress push her partner's shoulder at ~0:42. Man, that gal is Rough! Same couple does a really sustained "Flying Dutchman" you can see them start in this clip. You can find one of the trailers for the film where you can see the whole thing.
This one has about 5 seconds of jitterbug, and I found it because of a 1943 LIFE photo.
I think the theme here is of historic importance.
Joe Lanza (Black Sheep / Uncle Joe) once commented on how not being drafted, or getting some sort of exemption from service, helped the dance careers of those who were in films throughout the prime swing years which coincided pretty closely with WW II. A found more than a few jitterbugs who did not return to dancing on film after serving.
One more for today.
I think I'd ask the gal who is sitting down and has the pearl necklace to dance.
Note how the dancers are doing rock steps. I still think that Arthur Murray, or any other studio, didn't so much invent East Coast Swing as pick from all the steps that were available. Now, dancing triple in third position in Western Swing / West Coast Swing...
Arthur Walsh, jitterbug king, won 108 jitterbug contests, according to an article that came out when he was working on a scene in the fifth Thin Man movie, The Thin Man Goes Home. He was also in Groovie Movie.
You have to wait until around the 9:29 mark to see it, but there you will see 4 seconds of Lindy Hop from 1931.
I was a bit surprised to see how many horses were still around at that time in Manhattan.
There isn't really any dancing here, but I'm working on the the preWest Coast WWII era and I'm trying to find an article in which a woman who danced with hundred of servicemen at the Hollywood Canteen describes the regional differences in style she observed.
And... I found this and thought I would share.