In Lifestyle

Top 10 Best Dance Movies


Top 10 Best Dance Movies • Little Gold Pixel

On a recent evening, as I was sitting through the utterly awesome if not completely ridiculous sequel “Center Stage: Turn It Up,” it occurred to me that I’ve never shared my top 10 best dance movies with you. What an egregious error. Talk about slacking in my duties as a self-professed aficionado of awesomely bad dance films!

The universe was sending me a message of sorts, because soon after that evening a friend offhandedly asked me to rank my top dance movies. An off-the-cuff list was born, one that I will share with you today. Keep in mind it’s not exhaustive (hence the top 10). I have rarely met a dance movie I do not like. “Save the Last Dance” is meh, but I’ll still watch it when it’s on television. A dance movie addict can’t be picky, after all.

1. Dirty Dancing

MCDDIDA EC015
Plot: Baby and Johnny fall in love at a summer resort, against all odds.
Awesome or awesomely bad: Awesome.
Why it’s awesome: It stands the test of time. I’ve seen this movie at least 50 times since it was released. I’ve had the time of my life. And I owe it all to Patrick Swayze.
Key scene: Everyone picks the ending, but I’ll pick “Love Man.”

2. A Chorus Line

Top 10 Best Dance Movies • Little Gold Pixel
Plot: Michael Douglas puts chorus dancers through the ringer in an audition for a Broadway show.
Awesome or awesomely bad: Awesome.
Why it’s awesome: The choreography is great, the characters are relatable, the music is excellent. And, of course, Michael Douglas. For those of you who are new, he’s my Hollywood crush.
Key scene: The beginning is so high-energy, how could you not just want to DANCE?

3. Center Stage

Top 10 Best Dance Movies • Little Gold Pixel
Plot: Young dancers go to a ballet academy, where they compete to earn a spot in the company.
Awesome or awesomely bad: Awesomely bad (as is the sequel).
Why it’s awesomely bad: Oh, the acting. It’s groan-worthy. But you can’t argue with talented dancers and beautiful choreography. Plus the situations are relatable, even if poorly acted.
Key scene: “Canned Heat”

4. Flashdance

best-dance-movies-FLASHDANCE
Plot: A welder/stripper yearns to go to dance school.
Awesome or awesomely bad: Awesomely bad.
Why it’s awesomely bad: Terribly disjointed and super unbelievable. But hey, you’re rooting for Jennifer Beals anyway, even with the obvious breakdance body double at the end.
Key scene: Take your passion, and make it happen. AKA the audition scene.

5. Girls Just Want to Have Fun

best-dance-movies-GIRLS-JUST-WANT-TO-HAVE-FUN
Plot: Army brat moves to Chicago, where DanceTV is made. Naturally she must audition for a spot.
Awesome or awesomely bad: Awesome.
Why it’s awesome: It holds up. I’ve watched dozens of times in my life, and there are real themes at play here: class wars, bullying, standing up for what you want.
Key scene: The dance-off.

6. Saturday Night Fever

NUR SAMSTAG NACHT (Saturday night fever; USA 1977) Szene mit John Travolta
Plot: Tony is on the fast track to nowhere. The disco’s his only respite.
Awesome or awesomely bad: Awesome.
Why it’s awesome: Good acting, good dancing. I think it’s John Travolta’s best work. He spent a lot of time on his hair; why’d you have to hit it?
Key scene: “You Should Be Dancing”

7. Singin’ in the Rain

best-dance-movies-SINGIN-IN-THE-RAIN
Plot: Takes place in the ’20s, during the transition from silent films to “talkies.”
Awesome or awesomely bad: Awesome.
Why it’s awesome: It never gets old. Talk about a feel-good movie. It makes you feel great (and want to dance).
Key scene: Title sequence, but of course.

8. Breakin’

Top 10 Best Dance Movies • Little Gold Pixel
Plot: Jazz dancer joins breakdance crew and they dominate the streets!
Awesome or awesomely bad: Awesomely bad.
Why it’s awesomely bad: Just hilariously dated with the whole “break dance is a new thing!” gee-whiz attitude. Good dancing, of course, but hilarious.
Key scene: Broom dance.

9. Grease

best-dance-movies-GREASE
Plot: Sandy struggles to fit in at her new high school.
Awesome or awesomely bad: Awesomely bad.
Why it’s awesomely bad: It never takes itself seriously. Lots of loose footwork and fun songs and raunchy jokes. The plot has some holes (never change yourself for a man, ladies!), but I’ve seen it more times than I can count, and I never ever tire of it.
Key scene: The Hand Jive, because. Why not!?

10. The Forbidden Dance

best-dance-movies-FORBIDDEN-DANCE
Plot: A Brazilian tribal princess comes to L.A. to stop a company from tearing down the rainforest.
Awesome or awesomely bad: Just plain bad, but I like it anyway.
Why it’s bad: So many topics du jour: the dance “craze” lambada, deforestation. I think the entire movie was an excuse for super short skirts. Bad acting, to boot. But the song is fun, so all is forgiven.
Key scene: We must see the Lambada, that’s what we came here for.

Which films would make your Top 10 Best Dance Movies? Did I leave out your favorite?

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Top 10 Best Dance Movies

Top 10 Best Dance Movies • Little Gold Pixel

Top 10 Best Dance Movies • Little Gold Pixel

On a recent evening, as I was sitting through the utterly awesome if not completely ridiculous sequel “Center Stage: Turn It Up,” it occurred to me that I’ve never shared my top 10 best dance movies with you. What an egregious error. Talk about slacking in my duties as a self-professed aficionado of awesomely bad dance films!

The universe was sending me a message of sorts, because soon after that evening a friend offhandedly asked me to rank my top dance movies. An off-the-cuff list was born, one that I will share with you today. Keep in mind it’s not exhaustive (hence the top 10). I have rarely met a dance movie I do not like. “Save the Last Dance” is meh, but I’ll still watch it when it’s on television. A dance movie addict can’t be picky, after all.

1. Dirty Dancing

MCDDIDA EC015
Plot: Baby and Johnny fall in love at a summer resort, against all odds.
Awesome or awesomely bad: Awesome.
Why it’s awesome: It stands the test of time. I’ve seen this movie at least 50 times since it was released. I’ve had the time of my life. And I owe it all to Patrick Swayze.
Key scene: Everyone picks the ending, but I’ll pick “Love Man.”

2. A Chorus Line

Top 10 Best Dance Movies • Little Gold Pixel
Plot: Michael Douglas puts chorus dancers through the ringer in an audition for a Broadway show.
Awesome or awesomely bad: Awesome.
Why it’s awesome: The choreography is great, the characters are relatable, the music is excellent. And, of course, Michael Douglas. For those of you who are new, he’s my Hollywood crush.
Key scene: The beginning is so high-energy, how could you not just want to DANCE?

3. Center Stage

Top 10 Best Dance Movies • Little Gold Pixel
Plot: Young dancers go to a ballet academy, where they compete to earn a spot in the company.
Awesome or awesomely bad: Awesomely bad (as is the sequel).
Why it’s awesomely bad: Oh, the acting. It’s groan-worthy. But you can’t argue with talented dancers and beautiful choreography. Plus the situations are relatable, even if poorly acted.
Key scene: “Canned Heat”

4. Flashdance

best-dance-movies-FLASHDANCE
Plot: A welder/stripper yearns to go to dance school.
Awesome or awesomely bad: Awesomely bad.
Why it’s awesomely bad: Terribly disjointed and super unbelievable. But hey, you’re rooting for Jennifer Beals anyway, even with the obvious breakdance body double at the end.
Key scene: Take your passion, and make it happen. AKA the audition scene.

5. Girls Just Want to Have Fun

best-dance-movies-GIRLS-JUST-WANT-TO-HAVE-FUN
Plot: Army brat moves to Chicago, where DanceTV is made. Naturally she must audition for a spot.
Awesome or awesomely bad: Awesome.
Why it’s awesome: It holds up. I’ve watched dozens of times in my life, and there are real themes at play here: class wars, bullying, standing up for what you want.
Key scene: The dance-off.

6. Saturday Night Fever

NUR SAMSTAG NACHT (Saturday night fever; USA 1977) Szene mit John Travolta
Plot: Tony is on the fast track to nowhere. The disco’s his only respite.
Awesome or awesomely bad: Awesome.
Why it’s awesome: Good acting, good dancing. I think it’s John Travolta’s best work. He spent a lot of time on his hair; why’d you have to hit it?
Key scene: “You Should Be Dancing”

7. Singin’ in the Rain

best-dance-movies-SINGIN-IN-THE-RAIN
Plot: Takes place in the ’20s, during the transition from silent films to “talkies.”
Awesome or awesomely bad: Awesome.
Why it’s awesome: It never gets old. Talk about a feel-good movie. It makes you feel great (and want to dance).
Key scene: Title sequence, but of course.

8. Breakin’

Top 10 Best Dance Movies • Little Gold Pixel
Plot: Jazz dancer joins breakdance crew and they dominate the streets!
Awesome or awesomely bad: Awesomely bad.
Why it’s awesomely bad: Just hilariously dated with the whole “break dance is a new thing!” gee-whiz attitude. Good dancing, of course, but hilarious.
Key scene: Broom dance.

9. Grease

best-dance-movies-GREASE
Plot: Sandy struggles to fit in at her new high school.
Awesome or awesomely bad: Awesomely bad.
Why it’s awesomely bad: It never takes itself seriously. Lots of loose footwork and fun songs and raunchy jokes. The plot has some holes (never change yourself for a man, ladies!), but I’ve seen it more times than I can count, and I never ever tire of it.
Key scene: The Hand Jive, because. Why not!?

10. The Forbidden Dance

best-dance-movies-FORBIDDEN-DANCE
Plot: A Brazilian tribal princess comes to L.A. to stop a company from tearing down the rainforest.
Awesome or awesomely bad: Just plain bad, but I like it anyway.
Why it’s bad: So many topics du jour: the dance “craze” lambada, deforestation. I think the entire movie was an excuse for super short skirts. Bad acting, to boot. But the song is fun, so all is forgiven.
Key scene: We must see the Lambada, that’s what we came here for.

Which films would make your Top 10 Best Dance Movies? Did I leave out your favorite?

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