Related Videos

Top 10 BEST Dance Scenes in Dance Movies

VO: Emily Brayton WRITTEN BY: Owen Maxwell
Sometimes you just gotta cut loose. For this list, we're looking at the most exciting dance numbers from musicals and movies about dancing. We're basing our choices on a mix of camera-work, choreography, and the unique emotion each cast brings to their scene. Our list includes “Cell Block Tango,” "Sixteen Going on Seventeen,” "What a Feeling,” "Footloose,” “(I've Had) The Time of My Life,” and more! Join MsMojo as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Dance Scenes in Dance Movies.

You must register to a corporate account to download this video. Please login


Top 10 Dance Scenes in Dance Movies

Sometimes you just gotta cut loose. Welcome to MsMojo and today we're counting down our picks for the Top 10 Dance Scenes in Dance Movies.

For this list, we're looking at the most exciting dance numbers from musicals and movies about dancing. We're basing our choices on a mix of camera-work, choreography, and the unique emotion each cast brings to their scene.

#10: Final Dance
"Step Up" (2006)

As Tyler and Nora start their final number together in “Step Up,” their roots from ballet and hip hop remain separate. This initial restraint mirrors the barriers of styles and class from earlier in their story. Soon the other dancers leave so that our lead pair can reflect their love in a romantic tango. After showcasing two unique dance styles, they begin performing a shocking ballet-hip hop combination. Even the music starts to blend heavy beats with classy strings to match the choreography. The great chemistry between Nora and Tyler helps sell all the hard work they put into this astonishing finale.

#9: “Cell Block Tango”
"Chicago" (2002)

The powerful lighting of “Cell Block Tango” lends a surreal and stylish look to the understated choreography. The dancers blend Latin choreography with more interpretative styles, as they wave red handkerchiefs. Each woman gets her own intimate solo with a male dancer, before recreating their crimes with elaborate moves. The camera angles also swap between wide stage shots and angular close-ups to give the women a dangerous edge. Velma's section gets all the dancers interacting sensually before we get a forced-perspective to see her memories. Along with the final jail cell shots, “Cell Block Tango” is a sharp-looking routine that uses the whole cast well.

#8: "More Than a Woman"
"Saturday Night Fever" (1977)

Tony and Stephanie finally hit the dance floor together and test their synergy to the Bee Gees' “More Than a Woman.” Tony slays the club earlier in the film with his non-stop boogying and swagger. This dance, however, shows a lot of beautiful coordination between Steph and Tony, as a satisfying pay off to their struggles. The cameras even tilt right into their kiss to help you connect to their fairytale moment. Though Travolta showed exaggerated personality in “Grease,” he's delightfully subtle here. All the dazzling lighting and moves have cemented “More Than a Woman” as an iconic film moment.

#7: "Sixteen Going on Seventeen"
"The Sound of Music" (1965)

Though Rolfe tells Liesl about how naive she is in “Sixteen Going on Seventeen,” Liesl dominates their duet physically. Rolfe sings about how actions are more interesting than intentions, but he continuously retreats from all of Liesl's advances. Once the duo hit the gazebo, Liesl sassily sings and dances to reflect how untrue her perceived innocence really is. All the high and low camera shots mixed with the rain give the scene a vibrant look. The pair even run around the benches between fits of tap and more theatrical choreography. Their chemistry and unique humor keep us laughing to “Sixteen Going on Seventeen.”

#6: "Prove Me Wrong"
"White Nights" (1985)

Raymond and Nikolai slowly bond over dancing in “White Nights,” and they can barely contain themselves when they dance together. As they interpret David Pack's “Prove Me Wrong,” the two hilariously drop their chat to start grooving. Both Nikolai and Raymond stay in sync while bringing their own personality to the smaller movements. Their dramatic fighting and struts play to the camera while adding to the emotion of their routine. Additional camera movement through their double-time section really gives audiences a sense of the song's energy. As a summary of Raymond and Nikolai's friendship, “Prove Me Wrong” is suave and contagiously fun.

#5: "What a Feeling"
"Flashdance" (1983)

Right as we think Alex's tumble has foiled her chances for the Pittsburgh Conservatory of Dance, she starts the record over. After this little fake out, the judges aren't that impressed by her slow-moving grace either. However, when “What a Feeling” starts picking up, her ecstatic bouncing and punches have everyone watching intently. The jump and flips are unbelievable, and then Alex spins like a maniac. The judges' changing reactions really sell the scene too, as they go from nearly yawning to bobbing their heads. By mixing Alex's love of urban and more traditional dances, “What a Feeling” sends “Flashdance” off on a high note.

#4: "Footloose"
"Footloose" (1984)

As soon as Ren screams, “Let's dance,” to the camera, a whole party breaks into infectiously excited boogying. The goofy moves feel natural for the formerly dance-less town and reflects just how happy everyone is. All the coordinated dancing is smile-inducing, and the sliding foot shots add to the euphoric atmosphere. After Willard's ridiculous hopping, other solos show off high kicks, the robot, and some breakdancing too. The lights that frame the shot also give the celebration a dreamy look. “Footloose” captures a real sense of party energy thanks to all its huge smiles and focusing on silly energy rather than tight choreography.

#3: "(I've Had) The Time of My Life"
"Dirty Dancing" (1987)

Baby and Johnny lead their dance with a massive dip and intimate embraces, before they speed things up. The couple keep the dance playful with all their kicks and Baby's cheerful head shaking. Even with handfuls of jaw-dropping power moves, the moments where they just stand and stare at each other are touching. After a massive stage jump, Johnny leads the whole gang back down the aisle in sync. The dance hits an overwhelming peak when Johnny lifts Baby sky-high to the song's climax. With moves that have been replicated all over pop culture, “Time of My Life” is a feel-good scene through and through.

#2: Gang Fight Dance
"West Side Story" (1961)

The Jets shake their weight around the streets of Manhattan and show off their muscle through coordinated dancing. The Sharks, however, offer punchier moves with snapping and aggressive footwork. There's a constant back-and-forth to the dance-fighting that keeps tensions high while subverting expectations of gang violence. Stylish tracking shots through trailers, close-ups of hands, and a few aerial shots lend a visual potency to the scene. Though it doesn't have the color or hypnotic choreography of the gym dance, the battle is epically long and never loses momentum between cuts. “West Side Story's” reinterpretation of a brawl with jumps and spins dazzles us to this day.

Before we get to our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:

The Beatnik Dance
"Funny Face" (1957)

"Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" (1954)

Turbo Broom Dance
"Breakin'" (1984)

#1: "Singin' in the Rain"
"Singin' in the Rain" (1952)

Don is full of glee as he leaves Kathy, and he evolves naturally from eccentric strolling to a full-blown dance number. Gene Kelly uses every bit of his street set from lamp posts to fences and a few curbs as well. He gets so enthusiastic jumping around that he doesn't even realize he's been splashing a police officer. Rather than the slow romantic ballet Kelly delivered for “An American in Paris,” this scene is all about showing Don's happiness. “Singin' in the Rain” gives us all a glorious feeling thanks to the magic that Gene carried as both the director and performer.

Sign in to access this feature

Related Blogs