Every decade has it’s own iconic dance movie, Top Hat, Singing in the Rain, Dirty Dancing, Flashdance, Save the Last Dance and Step Up are just a few of the dance titles peppered throughout our movie history. You kind of know what you are getting with a dance movie, the formula doesn’t venture much further away from girl wants to dance, problem arises, problem is finally overcome, usually with the help of a shirtless hunky male dancer, girl dances and lives happily ever after.
That’s all fluffy and beautiful, and don’t get me wrong, I secretly love a good (or even a bad) dance flick but what we all really love is when an awesome dance scene randomly happens in the middle of a non-dance movie…that’s where the good stuff is and here are ten of the best.
10. Barb Wire (1996)
It almost pains me to have to put this scene at the bottom of the list, 90s Pamela Anderson in a catsuit drenched…what’s not to love? However, she’s not strictly dancing but more writhing around and flicking her hair. Still one of the best opening scenes to a film, like ever.
9. Beetlejuice (1988)
This legendary dinner party scene never fails to inspire the viewers to start shouting “Day-o!” Its self-awareness of how ‘strange and unusual’ it is to suddenly burst into song and dance is one of the best things about this scene. The expressions of panic scrawled on the guests faces are what really make it brilliant.
8. She’s All That (1999)
This is one of those random scenes that really didn’t need to be in the film. Director Robert Iscove wanted a massive dance number and even added lines to the script where school DJ Usher says, “we’re gonna do that dance I taught you” as if that would make it a little bit more believable. But hey, it’s a 90s teen prom movie…when are they ever believable?
7. 13 Going On 30 (2004)
As one of my favourite chick-flicks I had to include this dance scene. The pure awkwardness of Jenna dancing alone to Thriller is just beautiful. Of course, the dance floor fills up eventually, proving that no one can truly resist a dance routine. And Mark Ruffalo helps.
6. Pulp Fiction (1994)
The only thing I have to say about this scene is…John Travolta’s face. It is everything!
5. Romy and Michelle (1997)
Out of all the dances on this list this one has got to be the weirdest. Dancing to another iconic 80s song, the reason for this dance scene is slightly more believable than most but it’s the dance itself that is bizarre. Just watch for yourself and check out some of these moves.
4. The Breakfast Club (1985)
A classic coming-of-age movie that has been quoted and parodied countless times, The Breakfast Club dance scene is probably the most realistic on the list. Although it is now one of the films best-loved moments, originally it was only meant to be Molly Ringwold’s character, Claire, dancing alone but she was so nervous about it that director John Hughes made a last minute change and brought in the rest of the characters and we’re glad he did.
3. Detroit Rock City (1999)
What’s not to love about this scene? Edward Furlong stripping to a Kiss song in a 70s disco club, his Kiss boxer shorts, Ron Jeremy as the club’s MC, and the gorgeous Shannon Tweed (Gene Simmon’s partner) as the hot older woman. Genius.
2. Memoirs of a Geisha (2005)
Probably the most serious scene on the list but also the most powerful, is the Snow Dance performed by emerging geisha Sayuri, played by Zhang Ziyi. This scene, and the film as a whole, was heavily criticised but that doesn’t detract from the emotionally intense beauty of the performance.
1. American Wedding (2003)
Stifler’s gay bar dance-off scene makes it to the top spot entirely based on Seann William Scott’s amazing performance, he basically steals the entire American Pie franchise with this one scene. After two films getting to know the obnoxious charcter of Steve Stifler, American Wedding shows us a whole other side to him and makes us adore him, if we didn’t already. And the awesome medley of 80s and 90s songs during the dance-off just make it all the more perfect. And really, who doesn’t love a dance-off?
Bonus Mention: Addams Family Values (1993)
We couldn’t have a movie dance scene list this close to Halloween and not mention that gorgeously gothic couple, Gomez and Morticia Addams. Gomez and Fester danced the ‘Mamushka’ in the first film but it’s this sensual tango danced by Gomez and Morticia that really stands out.