During the 1980s, the Footloose dance sequences featured in the popular film, one of the best dance movies of all time, brought notoriety to a young Kevin Bacon while providing dance with a whole new wave of popularity. Teens and young adults at the time loved the film about a city boy bringing rock and roll to a small, sleepy town, and today, new generations continue to watch this film. How did dance influenc the Footloose film? And how did this peppy, high energy movie lead to spin offs for both stage and screen?
Like many other films, Footloose is about a wayward teen that comes from the big city into a small town and shakes things up. Moving west with his family, Ren (Kevin Bacon) is horrified to learn that in his new neighborhood, it is forbidden to play rock music or dance. He goes head to head with an extremely conservative minister who is responsible for the dance ban, and eventually Ren (with the help of the other kids in the town) finds victory just in time for the senior prom. The movie is famously remembered for such popular songs as the title track and "Let's Hear It For the Boy". Older generations will also probably recall the slightly garish dance scene toward the end that included falling glitter. Cheesy even by 1980s standards, this movie still warms hearts and gets toes tapping.
The choreography found in Footloose features a couple of different components. First of all, almost all of it is fast paced. The simultaneous pep and rebellion that Ren brings to the small town that is the focal point in the movie is woven throughout the Footloose dance steps, bursting with energy and an "in your face" attitude that further accentuates the divide between generations. The dance steps found in Footloose also signify the evolution of culture. The older residents in Ren's new town would never dream of allowing dance to be as free and celebratory as the young people suggest; however, with a little prompting, many of them do embrace change. Footloose is set in the early 1980s, when the religious right was becoming very politically active, and the choreography shown throughout the movie shows how politics, viewpoints and culture were beginning to truly be revolutionized during these years. In fact, Footloose itself is loosely based on a few instances throughout the United States that ran along the same themes as Footloose's story lines. Footloose was directed and choreographed by Herbert Ross, who has directed 12 Oscar nominated performers during his illustrious career behind the scenes. His Footloose dance moves continue to live on today, as Kevin Bacon is still asked to do some of the Footloose choreography during interviews.
Footloose is being re-made, and is expected to hit theatres in the summer of 2010. Chace Crawford will take Kevin Bacon's place as Ren, and the dancing promises to be as spectacular as the original. There was also a Broadway musical that took its cue from the original film. Footloose the Musical opened in October of 1998 and remained on Broadway until July of 2000. It was nominated for several Tony awards, and continues to be performed in regional theaters across the United States. High schools especially perform the musical version of Footloose, since the majority of characters are teenagers and the high-energy singing and dancing is perfect for the 14-18 year old crowd. Footloose dance has also been found in a London production that began in 2006 and with a few breaks in between, continues to enjoy an open-ended run in London.
How to Do the Footloose Dance
The fancy footwork that Kevin Bacon made famous has been copied by plenty of performers in the past 20 years. The easiest way to learn the Footloose dance is to watch the movie and practice on your own. Some dance teachers may also work Footloose dance steps into their choreography, especially if they are working on a retro piece, and you may pick up a few moves this way. Whether you learn the steps or enjoy the film while lounging on the couch, Footloose dance moves continue to infiltrate dance society today and hold their place as being fondly remembered by movie buffs both home and abroad.