Fred and Adele followed up with several more shows, and of their work in “The Passing Show of 1918”. Heywood Broun wrote: "In an evening in which there was an abundance of good dancing, Fred Astaire stood out ... He and his partner, Adele Astaire, made the show pause early in the evening with a beautiful loose-limbed dance."
Astaire's dancing skill were beginning to outshine his sister's. She still set the tone of their act and her sparkle and humor drew much of the attention. It was due in part to Fred's careful preparation and strong supporting choreography.
In the 1920s, Fred and Adele appeared on Broadway and on the London stage in shows such as George and Ira Gershwin's “Lady Be Good” and “Funny Face”.
Later in “The Band Wagon”, winning popular acclaim with the theater crowd on both sides of the Atlantic. By then, Astaire's tap dancing was recognized as among the best, as Robert Benchley wrote in 1930, "I don't think that I will plunge the nation into war by stating that Fred is the greatest tap-dancer in the world."
After the close of “Funny Face”, the Astaires went to Hollywood for a screen test (now lost) at Paramount Pictures. They were not considered suitable for films.
They split in 1932 when Adele married her first husband, Lord Charles Arthur Francis Cavendish. Fred Astaire went on to achieve success on his own on Broadway and in London with “Gay Divorce”, while considering offers from Hollywood. The end of the partnership was traumatic for Astaire, but stimulated him to expand his range.
Free of the brother-sister constraints of the former pairing and with a new partner (Claire Luce), he created a romantic partnered dance to Cole Porter's "Night and Day". Luce stated that she had to encourage him to take a more romantic approach: "Come on, Fred, I'm not your sister, you know." The success of the stage play was credited to this number, and when recreated in the film version of the play “The Gay Divorcee”. It ushered in a new era in filmed dance. Recently, film footage taken by Fred Stone of Astaire performing in “Gay Divorce” with Luce's successor, Dorothy Stone. In New York in 1933 was uncovered by dancer and historian Betsy Baytos and now represents the earliest known performance footage of Astaire.