For me, there’s nothing better than a film with a great dance sequence—the kind that propels you off the couch to shamelessly bust a move in the living room. Here are a few of my favorite dance clips that have stood the test of time, presented from most recent to oldest. This is by no means a complete or authoritative list—as a ballet dancer, I have too many clips to name.
As Reading Period approaches, indulge in watching a clip or two of your own favorite dance scenes—and have a little boogie in the privacy of your Lamont cubicle. I know I will.
5. PULP FICTION (1994)—The Dance Off at Jack Rabbit Slim’s
Honestly, this entire list could consist of John Travolta dance sequences. But Travolta’s dance off as hitman Vincent Vega with mobster wife Mia Wallace (Uma Thurman) has to be among the least expected dances in Travolta’s film career. Performing a mean twist in a surreal 1950s-themed diner, Vincent and Mia’s dance off illuminates the brilliance of “Pulp Fiction:” its ability to parody pop culture without patronizing those who enjoy it.
4. DIRTY DANCING (1987)—(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life
The iconic American summer romance between Baby (Jennifer Grey) and her dance teacher Johnny Castle (Patrick Swayze) continues to make women swoon, despite the film’s corny plotline. Baby’s final lift at the summer camp performance is shamelessly cheesy—but hey, you know you want to try it.
3. FAME (1980)—Dancing in the NYC Streets
This is the original flash mob, the scene that makes you wish you had chosen art school (before you watch the rest of the film and your misgivings return). Never mind the kids’ poufy hair and the fantastically high-cut leotards—the 80s were a great time for dance in the movies.
2. MARY POPPINS (1964)—“Step in Time”
Who knew that chimney sweeps could be so groovy? Bert’s (Dick Van Dyke) cart-wheels across London’s rooftops and shouts of “Kick your knees up!” and “Flap like a birdie!” are priceless. This is a dance that champions a youthful spirit and a sense of humor, no matter how dusty the job.
1. SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN (1952)—The Rain Scene
This most beloved dance routine shows Gene Kelly at his best, hanging from lampposts and stomping in puddles with that inexplicable giddiness of falling in love. Only Kelly can move with such flair while sopping wet—with an umbrella as dance partner, no less.
-Alyssa A. Botelho is an outgoing Campus Arts Editor. She will be joining the dark side as a Newsie next year to help direct science and health reporting.