IN THE MOVIES, JUST LIKE IN LIFE, ANY MOMENT CAN BECOME A DANCING MOMENT. DANCE IN FILM IS NOT JUST ABOUT MUSICALS. DANCING IT’S AN EXPRESSION OF JOY AND CHARACTER, AND THERE IS A LONG AND ILLUSTRIOUS HISTORY OF GREAT DANCE MOMENTS CAPTURED ON FILM. WE PRESENT OUR TOP TEN DANCE MOMENTS ON FILM: LET’S HIT THE DANCEFLOOR!
An incredibly young-looking Tom Cruise is a wealthy teenager who demonstrated what everyone would do (or wish to do) when is left home alone. In a sequence that has been parodied endlessly, Cruise character slides into his living room in just his pants and a shirt and proceeds to rock out and mime with his candlestick microphone.
Almost unbelievably one of the most remarkable dance moments in film history occurs in a silent film, Charlie Chaplin’s charming The Gold Rush. As part of a daydream, where he’s the host of a supper party for the girl he loves, the beloved tramp creates legs and feet from forks and bread rolls and performs a magical dance with them.
The Coen Brothers and company put a trippy comic spin on some Busby Berkeley-style choreography as The Dude, drugged by Jackie Treehorn, descends a staircase and drops in to see what condition his condition is in.
Duckie (Jon Cryer) would give anything to “squeeze her, don’t tease her, never leave her”, and he chooses to express his unrequited love through the majesty of Otis Redding. The pained expressions, the fist pumps, the pelvic thrusts and the coolest mustard-yellow-blazer-and-bolo-tie ensemble ever all add up to make a fantastic scene, leaving us with one of pop culture’s greatest mysteries: How could Andie have possibly chosen Blane?
Disco may have (mercifully) died decades ago, but this John Travolta performance to the Bee Gees’ “You Should Be Dancing” lives on, often parodied but never paralleled.
Little Olive’s “Super Freak” routine is a sly commentary on the way pageants sexualize young girls, but it’s also where everything comes to a head and her dysfunctional family comes together to support her. They may have their differences, but they’ll always be there to get down to Rick James.
The Time Warp is one of those dances with the added convenience of instructional lyrics. It’s just a jump to the left and then a step to the right—easy enough that even total squares like Brad and Janet can get the hang of it.
A pent-up, highly emotional young Billy (Jamie Bell), torn between his passion for dance and his father’s objections towards the art form, dances out his anger and frustration on the streets of Durham.
Although this is one of the most famous dance scenes in cinematic history, none of its performers are trained dancers. In fact, they all had to practice the sequence everyday for a month before they got it right. But not hiring professionals was an inspired move from the film’s director Jean-Luc Goddard and the roughness of their performance adds to the scene’s humour and charmingly improvisatory feel. After all, a posture of professional grace and precision would never have suited this raffish bande à part.
Mia Wallace (Uma Thurman) and Vincent Vega (John Travolta) are absolutely deserving of that Jack Rabbit Slim’s twist-contest trophy, and you can tell by their faces that they intend to bring it home. Dancing is serious, guys.