Category Archives: Movie

Top 5 Dance Movies

Dancers

Photo from Wikipedia Commons

You’ve got to love a good dance number — the kind that makes you tap your toes and want to get up and join in! Great dance movies are everywhere from every era, and I’ve put together a list of the top 5 dance movies (or just movies that have great dance scenes in them). So take a look and see if your favorite made the list, and enjoy the videos of some of the best dance numbers from those movies.

Movie #5: Dirty Dancing

This iconic coming-of-age movie charmed audiences across America in 1987. It is still considered a classic today, and its famous dance scenes are the reason it made this list. This final dance to “Time of My Life” is treasured today, thanks to the romantic partnering by leads Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey. Check out this video clip of the dance!

Movie #4: Singin’ in the Rain

This 1952 movie is a classic for so many reasons. Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor make a dynamic duo along with Debbie Reynolds in this movie about the beginning of “talking pictures.” Kelly and O’Connor give a memorable performance that is the true essence of classic tap dancing. “Moses Supposes” is a fantastic dance number from this movie because it shows the impeccable skill and technique of these great dancers of history. Take a look — they don’t miss a sound!

Movie #3: Step Up

Step Up blends hip hop and the streets with graceful jazz and ballet dancer. The two characters, Tyler and Nora, come together to share their love of dance. This movie from 2006 is a great one to show how different styles of dance can come together beautifully. Here is the final dance scene from the movie — a thrilling and exciting combination of jazz, ballet and hip-hop.

Movie #2: Center Stage

This 2000 movie shows ballet at its finest in its many different forms, from classical to contemporary. It gives some insight into the struggles and challenges of aspiring ballerinas in New York City’s American Ballet School. To read a more in-depth review of the movie, check out my previous post: “Review of the dance movie ‘Center Stage.'” The best dance number in this movie is without doubt the contemporary ballet piece at the end of the movie. Take a look at this video to see why this ballerina and her bright red point shoes made the list!

Movie #1: Hairspray

Who doesn’t love a good musical? 2007’s Hairspray never ceases to lift my spirits and make me desperately want to join in! The best dance number in this movie is the movie-ending, show-stopping “You Can’t Stop the Beat,” where Tracy Turnblad and her family and friends celebrate the breaking of racial and social barriers in 1960s Baltimore. This iconic dance number features a huge group of dancers in perfect synchrony. The bright outfits and up-do hairstyles add fun and flavor to this ’60s throwback. Check out this video and enjoy this scene from my #1 dance movie!

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Review of the dance movie “Center Stage”

Have you seen the newest McDonald’s Shamrock Shake commercial on TV? Check it out below!

Doesn’t that actress look familiar? If you’re a dancer, you might recognize her as Amanda Schull, the actress who played Jody Sawyer in the 2000 dance movie Center Stage. Schull has made plenty of TV appearances in recent years with roles on shows such as Pretty Little Liars, Suits, Psych, Grimm, and Two and a Half Men. The St. Patrick’s Day-themed McDonald’s commercial made me want to watch Center Stage again since it’s been a while.

Here is my review of the movie that’s a timeless classic for ballerinas everywhere.

Plot Summary

Center Stage movie poster

Photo from imdb.com

Center Stage follows young ballet dancer Jody Sawyer and a group of her friends through a year at the esteemed American Ballet School in New York City, from auditions to the year-ending showcase that serves as an audition for the country’s most prestigious ballet companies. Jody faces many challenges throughout the year — her less-than-perfect turnout and feet are continuous detriments to her technique, and other dancers are always better than her. Jody dedicates her mind, body, and soul toward making herself the best ballerina she can be, and she is cast as the lead in Cooper Nielson’s (a famous ballet dancer and choreographer) ballet in the showcase. Jody deals with love and loss throughout the process of preparing for the performance, but she ultimately performs flawlessly in the showcase. She lands herself a principal dancer position in Cooper’s new ballet company, and she finds inner strength and confidence that give her a new and improved outlook on life and dance. Jody’s friends also face challenges like attitude problems, finding their own dreams, and injuries that make them stronger people and dancers who are finding their place in the world.

Themes

This movie deals with the harsh difficulties of the competitive world of ballet. From the very beginning, we see that competition in a place like American Ballet School is cutthroat. Nearly every dancer who made the cut to be in the school in the first place was the best dancer in the studio they came from. So already, there is a room full of incredibly talented dancers all dreaming of the few spots available in professional ballet companies. These dancers have to come to terms with their own limitations as well. Ballet is the strive for perfection, and since no one is perfect, each dancer has to realize his or her weaknesses and choose to either work past them or let them be limitations. In addition, Center Stage tackles the issues of body image and eating disorders through Maureen, a character who forces herself to throw up as punishment for eating a slice of pizza. The movie also shows the drama that can go on behind the scenes in a professional company. Love and lust among dancers, directors, and students add plenty of drama and emotion to the mix that audiences would never know about from watching only what happens onstage. Continue reading