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The Best Things Happen While You're Dancing: Dance in Film

Posted on February 02 2019

dance in film
Well, alright. It’s February. And it’s still winter. And winter nights are perfect for many things, such as being at the studio, sleeping, and watching movies. To that end, here’s a list of some of our favourite dance scenes in movies (in no particular order!).

1. White Christmas. “The Best Things Happen While You’re Dancing”. In a film of beautiful moments and beautiful dancing, this is a truly beautiful dance starring the incomparable Danny Kaye and Vera Ellen. Vera Ellen floats across the screen as the epitome of grace and elegance. #goals
2. The Sound of Music. This is traditional couples dance called the Landler, popular in Austria, Bavaria, German Switzerland, and Slovenia that is characterized by stamping and hopping. Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer are so light on their feet and makes this a thing of beauty to watch. And I’m not going to lie: watching Maria and Captain von Trapp dance makes me melt every time.

3. Take the Lead. You know I had to. Ladies, all I have to say is: Antonio Banderas and Argentine Tango. Yeah, you get me. This scene may or may not be the reason I watched the movie.

4. The Mask of Zorro. Ok, so maybe there’s a theme going here but Antonio Banderas knows how to dance. And watching Diego and Elena burn up the screen with this is too much fun. Also, it’s just a good movie. It’s Zorro, come on.

5. Funny Face. Trained as a classical ballet dancer, Audrey Hepburn shines in this piece.

6. Jailhouse Rock. “Jailhouse Rock”. What list would be complete without Elvis Presley? Based on the premise that Presley plays a young man jailed for manslaughter and subsequently mentored in music, the movie is a showcase of Elvis’ dancing that is not to be missed.

7. Footloose. For a town that isn’t allowed to dance...they’ve got some really excellent dancers. And for pure joy and energy, you can’t beat this scene from the 1984 original.

8. Saturday Night Fever. “You Should Be Dancing”...and you should be, after watching John Travolta bust out the disco moves. And can we please bring back floors with lights in them? Thanks.

9. Black Swan. The final performance as the quiet, mousy, schizophrenic Nina embraces her darkness and transforms into the Black Swan. A creepy, eerie scene and masterfully portrayed.

10. Swing Time. “Pick Yourself Up.” Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire. No close-ups, no special angles, just the magic of Rogers and Astaire doing what they do best. #goals

Did I miss a dance scene you love? Love one of these? Tell me about it in the comments!

About the author

Anna Humphrey
Author and Dancer
Anna thinks she might have been born dancing. She spent several years as a ballerina and is now in love with ballroom dancing...and just a little obsessed with Tango and Viennese Waltz and Bolero and Peabody and...all of it, really. Her studio is her home away from home. When not dancing, she can be found reading, writing, and traveling. And drinking copious amounts of tea.


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