What Is the Nation’s Favourite Dance Scene?
What Is the Nation’s Favourite Dance Scene?
We all have our favourite cinema memories. The big screen has inspired countless people to imitate their heroes by doing something extraordinary.
Dance sequences are a massive part of this. A recent UK survey conducted by Dancewear Central asked the nation what their absolute, bonafide favourite movie dance-scene is from 100-plus years of popcorn classics. The results are now in, and you can see how a great dance scene in a film can catapult it from good movie to absolute classic.
Today, we’re counting down the survey results from lowest to highest, and looking at why these dances are so special to so many people…
10th Place – Rocky Horror Picture Show
It spawned the definition of a ‘cult movie’, and still welcomes costumed fans every Halloween for screenings around the world. Rocky Horror is a mix of parody and homage to schlocky sci-fi, yet some of the most memorable scenes are the dance sequences.
The favourite out of the wacky dances is without a doubt, The Time Warp, with it literally spelling out moves on a chart as we watch a freakish ballroom performance. Richard O’Brien leads us through it and we absolutely feel like we are very far from anything close to the real world.
9th Place – Chicago
The opening of Chicago is indelibly cinematic. As a black-clad Catherine Zeta-Jones flexes in the arms of her dance troupe, she inspires Roxie Hart (played by Renee Zellweger) to aim for musical stardom.
We then see Roxie and a professed talent agent get steamy in her apartment, cutting back and forth to the club routine. These intensities mirror each other; director Rob Marshall was noted for his parallel montages, adding a new element to the story’s theatrical roots. The dazzling choreography combined with the visual juxtaposition makes it one of cinemas most memorable dance scenes.
8th Place – Billy Elliot
Working class fantasy has rarely bettered the key scenes in Billy Elliot. In its most memorable sequence, our heart leaps to our throats when Billy’s dad discovers his midnight ballet practice in a school gymnasium.
From the start, his family have been set against Billy’s dancing. Yet here, as his father holds his face in his hands, Jamie Bell defies those prejudices at last. He skips, twirls and front-flips his way to acceptance, as Gary Lewis’ character realises that he’s been wrong about his son all along. How could you not get goosebumps?
7th Place – West Side Story
Along with Singin’ In The Rain, West Side Story is the grand-daddy of musicals, and the tale of gangs and taboo love is an amazing study piece for any dancer. The America! song, for instance, is bursting with details that move the story along and moves that all choreographers envy.
Rita Moreno and George Chakiris trade barbs about why the United States is awful or dream-like for immigrants, depending on your point of view. The male/female groups test each other, physically leaning into their arguments.
6th Place – Flashdance
What dance enthusiast could forget the iconic moment from Flashdance when our protagonist finally wows the judges in her dance audition. Irene Cara wrote the hit song, ‘What A Feeling,’ specifically for this ending, and the tone couldn’t have been any more perfect. The routine itself splices ballet, workout actions and breakdancing into a four-minute package that the 80s would take as gospel, inspiring later films such as Footloose.
5th Place – Saturday Night Fever
Based on a magazine article that, many years later, turned out to be fabricated, Saturday Night Fever portrayed the boom of disco music at its stylish best. Star John Travolta became an icon to young people who just wanted to hit the dancefloor and escape a low-wage job. In the most iconic scene, he commands a pulsing neon stage, letting himself loose every which way for a rendition of the Bee Gees’ ‘You Should Be Dancing.’
4th Place – Napoleon Dynamite
Technically this is the weakest routine on the list. However, the movie in which it resides, Napoleon Dynamite, is all about gawkiness, so it works. The lead actor Jeremy Coon – who was paid just $1,000 upfront for his role – caps his friend’s bid for school president in a hilarious dance to Jamiroquai. You think he’s going to do the whole thing with his hands in his pockets… and then the first slow hand clap arrives.
3rd Place – Grease
Grease is so familiar to us that it’s tough to think how raunchy and ground-breaking it was in 1971 onstage, and again in the film version seven years later. Travolta (not the last time we’ll see him here…) owns the Grease Lightning showcase, whereby guys get to trot and slide over several muscle cars. The scene is synonymous with what mattered to the kids of the 1950s: wheels, gurgling engines, and plenty of rock n’ roll.
2nd Place – Dirty Dancing
We’re getting really close to the crown now… Dirty Dancing swings in second with the ultimate image of dancers in love. The ‘Lift’, as it’s known, is a challenge that many couples have tried to copy, although most of them never get anywhere near the grace of Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey. What’s astounding is that the central moment of the film was never rehearsed, as she was too scared. Luckily though, they nailed it in a single take.
1st Place – Pulp Fiction
Pulp Fiction officially has the UK’s favourite cinematic routine, resting on the shoulders of Mr Travolta (again) and Uma Thurman. They’re in a retro diner. He’s working for her mob boss husband, but a frisson of sexual tension is in the air. Then, suddenly, Thurman’s Mia Wallace enters them into a dance contest.
Both characters do a straight-faced rundown of every 50s manoeuvre, half-reluctant yet eager to impress. It adds to the film’s agenda of dragging old clichés into a new light – of examining how much faith we put into ‘classic’ tropes and images, before seeing where they really lead us.
What do you make of these results? Do you agree or disagree? Perhaps there’s a movie that the Great British Public left out…
In any case, these scenes may have inspired you to pursue your love of dance further. We can dress your ambitions up with the right kit that every dancer needs. See what our range has in store before you follow the steps of your screen idols!