Iconic Movie Dance Sequences

by Hannah Harrison
Dance Movie Work It on Netflix with Sabrina Carpenter and Liza Koshy
Work It (2020) photo courtesy of Netflix

With the release of the Work It trailer, a movie starring Sabrina Carpenter and Jordan Fisher, I’ve been thinking about the last time I watched a really strong dance movie. We seem to have a million Step Up and Center Stage movies, but I want more. Dance movies are simply entertaining and usually contain high amounts of drama.

And am also a big fan of dance sequences within non-dance movies. I’m going to say it: we need more dance sequences in film. Fast and the Furious is great, but it would probably be 10x better with a dance sequence. A good dance sequence whether in a dance movie or not, can be impressive and detail the power of choreography. Also, they’re simply fun to watch!

So without further ado, here are iconic dance sequences in film!

The Favourite

This scene serves as a reminder from Yorgos Lanthimos that despite the ornate ball gowns and the royal environment, it can still poke fun at the cliches of its’ genre. The scene is fun to watch for the vogue-ing, and reminds us the queen’s emotions are volatile when she doesn’t get what she wants.

Fame (2009)

My controversial opinion is the Fame remake did not deserve the hate that it received. True, none of the actors looked like actual high school students, but that is simply a blip. This dance choreographed to “Black and Gold” contrasts two characters in their development as performers. It is hands-down the best routine in the entire movie.

13 Going on 30

Fun fact: Mark Ruffalo really did not want to do this scene and said “when [Jennifer Garner] dragged me out (onto the dance floor) she was literally dragging me out”. This movie made me believe for way too long that work parties would be this cool.

The Breakfast Club

This originally was not a group dance, and Molly Ringwald’s character was supposed to be the only one dancing. But after she expressed that she wasn’t a strong dancer, John Hughes changed his approach, making one of the most iconic scenes in the film.

Beetlejuice

Catherine O’Hara in Beetlejuice is an amazing example of camp. If anyone wants to do a couples costume with me so I can dress up as Delia and you’d be Otho, let me know in the comments below. I can never hear this song the same way ever again. They even kept it in the Broadway show!

Step Up 2 The Streets

I had to limit myself to one dance scene from the Step Up series, so of course, I picked the best one. These movies are always cheesy and they always hit the spot but this contains its’ sincere moments.

Napoleon Dynamite

When his friend Pedro is too nervous to give a speech for school president, Napoleon comes to the rescue with “Canned Heat”. We, the audience, don’t really expect this to go over well with his fellow high school students. However, they give him a standing ovation and the dance is a sweet testimony to authenticity.

Wall-E

I knew I was a hopeless romantic when two robots dancing in space made me cry. Wall-E and Evie’s relationship amongst the backdrop of a broken ecosystem was not the emotional journey I expected at age eight.

Dirty Dancing

Legally, I have to include this movie on the list. I watched this movie for the first time a few months ago. When I finally got to this scene, it lived up to all my expectations. It also helps that Baby has the absolute cutest dress.

Footloose

Kevin Bacon is simply the king of dance. It is simply poetic that one of the best dance scenes takes place in a town where dancing was (prior to this) not allowed.

Slumdog Millionaire

Slumdog Millionaire brought Bollywood to Hollywood. After this movie hit theatres, people across the country tried to recreate this dance. This movie was emotionally draining but this ending number provided much-needed catharsis.

Center Stage

The final dance number in this famous dance movie depicts the love triangle that has been happening throughout the film. It combines ballet with funk and in the end, Jodie chooses herself over the men, deciding this to the tune of “Canned Heat”. I guess early 2000s films just really liked this song?

Black Swan

This film combined gorgeous dance with suspense and created a scene that made it impossible to tear your eyes from the screen. I did not include the last scene of the film, despite the intense, beautiful dancing, because even though it has been out for ten years, there are spoilers and everyone needs to watch Black Swan.


Get the Scoop!

JavaScript is currently disabled in this browser. Reactivate it to view this content.

You may also like

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.