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Top 10 Inspiring Dance Movies Ever

posted by Kris Rasmussen

footloosepic.jpgDancing has always been a movie metaphor for celebrating your spirit and following your dreams. I think that is why shows like “Dancing with the Stars” and even the cheesy ones like “So You Think You Can Dance?” are so successful right now.
So I started thinking about all the great dance movies of years gone by. Here is a list of my favorite and most inspiring movies of all time. I didn’t count Broadway musicals adapted to screen, so that leaves out classics like “West Side Story” and “Chicago,” but I still had plenty of interesting choices to consider. Feel free to add to my list by posting to in the comment box below.
10. “Singing in the Rain”: Maybe it’s not technically a dance movie, but it certainly has some of the most famous dance numbers ever put on celluloid.
9. “White Nights”: Okay, this is actually a pretty lame movie—not to mention outdated—but the dance sequences between Gregory Hines and Mikhail Baryshnikov are unparalleled.


8: “Fame”: The 80s were full of awesome, yet cheesy, dance movies and this idealized picture of life at a performing arts school in New York had energy and sass in addition to all the camp.
7. “Stomp The Yard”: Again, maybe not the best plot line but some amazing dance sequences featuring some of the folks from that hit off-Broadway show “Stomp.”
6. “Footloose”: Come on, despite the hokey storyline, no one can outdo Kevin Bacon dancing to a peppy Kenny Loggins soundtrack
5. “Moulin Rouge”: Again, perhaps it doesn’t fit the mold of a true dance movie, but that’s why I liked it. The dance numbers defied convention and were full of razzle-dazzle.
4. “Mad Hot Ballroom”: One of my favorite documentaries of all time, this movie looks at a ballroom competition for inner-city kids and how it helps them rise above their circumstances.
3. “Billy Elliot”: Boxing and ballet go toe to toe as a young Irish lad must choose between the two. It is a great story about family loyalty and going against expectations. (I also can’t wait to see the Broadway version!)
2. “Dirty Dancing”: You thought this would be the top pick, didn’t you? Yes, Patrick Swayze made girls—and women—of all ages swoon in one of the best coming-of-age stories with some of the funniest—as well as sexiest—dance numbers ever. Oh yeah, and one of the all-time classic catch phrases.
1. “Strictly Ballroom”: One of my favorite movies period, and maybe director Baz Luhrmann’s best. It takes a cheeky, eccentric look at one family who is completely absorbed by the world of ballroom dance. It also reminds that a life lived in fear is “a life half lived.”



  • hamid

    dirty dancing

  • marvin glass

    Wish I could dance that good!!! I would make a movie also!!lol

  • meribeth

    my favorite is Scent of a Woman. The Tango scene is beautiful forever!!!!

  • curtinrod

    SurprisedAmerican in Paris,King &I, And Charade and Oklahoma & wasn’t acknowledged.

  • Percival

    Seven Brides for Seven Brothers had a good dance sequence!!

  • KittyJules

    I love the movie Strictly Ballroom!!! You have good taste! Here are two more: The dance scene between the orthodox and jewish men in Fiddler on the Roof. And you can’t beat any dance scene with Dick Vandyke in Mary Poppins!

  • BARBARA

    my favorite is the very romantic but at the same time, sensual dance between Maria and the Captain in Sound of Music

  • Karen

    I enjoy, and agree with, all the movies you’ve listed above…but my kids and I really enjoy the dance solo on Napoleon Dynamite! And there’s one that was on UTube awhile back of a guy who did a dance timeline…it was brilliant! Check it out!

  • Jo M.

    “Flashdance” and “Rent” are two of my favorite dance movies and neither one of them made it to the top 10 list! I guess I have no taste or could it be the other way around?!? Anyways if you like dance and musicals check out these two, they both put a little bounce in my step! “Have a Terrific Day”!

  • Anonymous

    How ’bout the Russ Tamblyn scene where he dances on shovels…or Donald O’Connor’s “I Can Dance” scene…or anything with Gene Kelly, Cyd Charisse, Donald O’Connor, Dan Dailey, Fred Astaire, Adele Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Buddy Ebson, Sammy Davis Jr. … MikeB

  • Cindy Ramer

    These are all great! There’s one I really liked called “Dance With Me” with Vanessa Williams and Antonio Banderois, I think, I can’t think of the older lady in it but she said “I want to do that”, a he danced with her.

  • Lea

    Why didn’t you include “Flashdance’? Flashdance was a very inspiring fictional story for many dancers and the general public not to mention a great soundtrack.

  • mario linares

    where is saturday night fever that one is my favorite of all time

  • Jackie

    I think STEP UP, SAVE THE LAST DANCE, and FLASHDANCE definitely deserve a place on your list. These movies are very inspirational, as the main character triumphs at the end with some awe-inspiring moves!

  • One of my favorites

    I teach Ballroom Dance professionally and one additional movie is “Take the Lead” it is based on a true story about Pierre Dulaine!
    Amazing and fabulous!!! Keep dancing everyone or start dancing!!

  • http://myspace.com/mememme Mish

    honey should be on ur list

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Danny

    If you look at just dancing and forget the plot; the best dancing movie of all time is SWING TIME, starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. The dance following Astaire’s pronouncement, “I’ve danced with you; I’ll never dance with anyone else again,” is the best couples dance ever filmed. It required something like 48 takes and Ginger’s feet were bleeding before they recorded that perfect dance. SWING TIME may be old, but it is the best dancing film ever.

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