10 Best Dance Movies
The 10 best dance movies feature enough boogying to last you a fortnight and inspire you to strut your stuff. In some of them, dance is an offshoot of their passion and free spiritedness. In most, however, dance is something you have to fight for against all odds. Sometimes it’s even used as a tool to gain freedom. So next time your boss is riding you hard or you find yourself stuck in a company meeting, put on your dancing shoes and show ‘em what you’re made of.
- “Stomp the Yard” (2007) "Stomp the Yard" is about a young man who is determined to make a better life for himself, but discovers his true passion is dance. This movie is a fresh, urban installment in the genre that highlights top notch dance sequences and whose actors make it all look effortless.
- “Dirty Dancing” (1987) When a girl on summer vacation with her parents hooks up with a dance instructor, sparks fly and rugs are cut. Not literally, of course. There’s plenty of dancing to be had in this classic dance movie.
- “Saturday Night Fever” (1977) If you’ve ever been at a wedding and seen someone swinging their hips to the Bee Gee’s “Stayin’ Alive” (drunk or sober, but probably drunk), you have this dance movie to thank. And John Travolta, who is probably the only one who’s ever correctly executed the hip-swinging routine.
- “Strictly Ballroom” (1992) “Ballroom” is chock full of hot ballroom dancing. “Ballroom dancing” and “hot” in the same sentence? You betcha. This isn’t your grandmother’s ballroom dancing, no sir.
- “Flashdance” (1983) Something about the 80s and Reaganomics made people want to get busy on the dance floor. Jennifer Beals shot to superstardom for her dance routines in this flick, particularly the water-soaked “Maniac” number. That is, until it was learned that most of the dancing was performed by a double. Bummed out, audiences cooled to Beals but not to the movie, which has gone down as one of the best dance movies of all time.
- “Footloose” (1984) Nothing frees the repressed spirit quite like white people dancing. Nothing better portrays white people dancing and loosening their hearts like “Footloose.” With a catchy, tormenting theme song with the same name, this movie rocketed up the rungs of popular opinion to become a smash hit in 1984. Kevin Bacon’s animated footwork has been often imitated ever since.
- “Singin’ In the Rain” (1952) If you’ve ever seen someone belting out “Singin’ In the Rain” while twirling around a light pole (drunk or sober, but probably sober), you have this movie to thank. Gene Kelly’s soaked song and dance number lives on in infamy, but not to worry. There are plenty more dance numbers where that came from.
- “Chicago” (2002) Featuring more song and dance than you can shake a stick at, “Chicago” was the cat’s meow in 2002, winning six Oscars out of thirteen nominations, including the highly coveted Best Picture. This movie is a showcase of some of the biggest A-list stars of today singing with their own voices and dancing with their own feet.
- “Moulin Rouge” (2001) Another Baz Luhrmann creation, “Moulin Rouge” is an energetic and imaginative movie where everybody dances and sings at some point. Bad guy, good guy or inconsequential background character—everybody’s fancy-footing around and belting out a chorus or two. A riveting tale of love and grief that doesn’t spare the comedy.
- “Billy Elliot” (2000) This dance movie is the tale of a young, aspiring boxer who, like most prize-fighters, in his heart of hearts really, really wants to be a ballet dancer. Growing up in deep blue collar England, however, means he has to fight cultural norms and his family’s wishes to pursue his passion. This movie was nominated for three Academy Awards.