With the introduction of sound into film, dance scenes in film have become a welcome and often loved part of the movie making industry. Whether the film centers around dance or not, the choreography can be used to drive the narrative of the film, whether it tells a story or helps us further understand a character. Here are 5 of some of the most iconic dance scenes in film, although certainly not all and in no way ranked as the top 5.
West Side Story
This 9 minute dancing gang fight in the 1961 film West Side Story sets the stage and tone of the conflict of the film, with the Jets and Sharks fight-dancing each other on the streets of New York. The scene is a close representation to the scene when done on stage, an important factor when taking Broadway to Hollywood.
Breakfast Club is certainly not known for being a dance film, especially since it is not one. But the scene in which these five teenagers let go and dance out their angst and inhibitions to the sound of We Are Not Alone by Karen Devito is certainly an important piece of this film. Each character has their own style, furthering character development as well as increasing the bond of this group. It proves that you don't need professional dancers and elaborate choreography to make an impact.
Although Center Stage is a film based on the American Ballet Academy and is thus focused on dance, the final ballet, also known as Cooper's ballet, is certainly the most stand out dance in the whole film. It breaks out of the mold of traditional, classic ballet for a more contemporary spin. It not only stands out to the characters in the film, but stands out in the real world of ballet. It also finishes the film's love story and empowers the center female. The clip below is only a portion of the entire ballet scene, but the whole scene is certainly worth watching.
Singing in the Rain
Gene Kelly was certainly a master of his craft, and no better scene can depict this than the title number from Singing in the Rain. Not only does it highlight the skills of a talented performer, but it acts as a way to depict the characters emotions as related to the story. The scene is so iconic that it is parodied constantly.
Even though Moulin Rogue has many a flashy and large dance sequences, none quite surpasses the greatness of El Tango de Roxanne. It is the backdrop to one of the most climatic parts of the story, with the Moulin Rouge's existence hanging in the balance of a performer and a creepy man. As the other performer's wait, they begin this scene, a masterpiece including moments of large ensemble tango and complex partner work with a sing female.