I’m fully prepared for the backlash this post will inevitably cause, because, no, I didn’t include Flashdance, Footloose, or Fame (Sorry, Bette! Aka Jennifer Beals, I still love you), and, yes, the list is heavily slanted in favor of movies that debuted in 2000 or after. But seriously, after the 80s, quality dance movies really figured out that sacrificing acting for the craft of dance is well worth it.*
And, I guess my selections bring up the debate of how seriously[I have to interrupt myself and announce: Jane Seymore is sitting across from me in the airport lounge] hip hop dance can be taken as a craft, which, clearly, I think the answer is: very seriously.
*At least I didn’t include Save the Last Dance, right? (I’m not including a clip from this movie because, even though it’s hilariously terrible, it doesn’t deserve a clip in this group)
So with out further ado, ladies and gentlemen, the Steph Opitz Top 5 Best Dance Movies of All Time are as follows…
5. The Company- HOLYCRAP Neve Campbell! Neve’s performance is like a big “Eff You!” to Julia Stiles. She’s controlled, elegant, her extensions are legit, I mean, I almost believed she was a dancer. And, the storyline is so good. This movie got, like, no play and that’s a damn shame. Plus, PLUS, this movie is directed by one of the finest directors of our time, Robert Altman, so this isn’t some bullshit, box office, teeny bop movie, this is the reel deal (couldn’t resist pun). Oh, and James Franco (not dancing, thank god) who, we all know, I love, is always an extra eye-candy bonus.
4. Dirty Dancing. Two words: hip. Thrust.
I don’t need to elaborate on this.
3. White Nights
First, this movie has two of the best male dancers of all time ever, Gregory Hines and Mikhail Baryshnikov. Second tap and ballet save an expatriate Russian and an American fighting over the same woman, and the KGB is involved, wow, talk about complex plot. Third, Helen Mirren and Isabella Rosselini also star in this film. Fourth, in the summer of ’89 I spent 90% of my time watching this movie so it holds a very special place in my heart.
2. Step Up Are you freaking kidding me?!? This movie is AMAZING. (I might argue Step Up 2 has some better dancing, but props to the OG). It essentially steals the Cinderella/Save the Last Dance plot, but does it better. The chemistry between Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan is electric, perhaps that’s what sparked the engagement in real life.
1. Center Stage Realizing that the plot and the acting is not important whatsoever is part of why this movie is number one. The soundtrack is number two. The toe touch by the black male dancer in the studio scene is number three. And, the finale—when Jody magically changes into a red leo, toe shoes, and colored plaits and breaks it the eff down to Jamiroquai is number four. If you have not scene this movie you are missing out on the most important dance movie to date.
“JUST DANCE THE SHIT OUT OF IT!!” (said toe touch in clip below)
BONUS FEATURE: STEP UP 2