The best dance movies of all time have fabulous dance scenes, but what about all the mainstream films in which, as a great surprise, a fantastic movie dance scene suddenly begins? In Step Up or Honey, one naturally expects great dancing, but what does one expect from a movie about a teenage misfit like Napoleon Dynamite? Whatever one might expect, it's not usually dance scenes!
Unexpected, but Memorable Dance Scenes
While it seems that more and more movies are currently including great dance scenes, there are dances in movies from every decade. Of course, Fred Astaire's films included dancing, but did anyone expect the fun dancing around the kitchen in The Big Chill? These surprise scenes are some of the gems of movie culture.
The Big Chill
This 1983 movie had a lot of fantastic scenes, but the dance in the kitchen is one of the best scenes of all. The group of friends dance around the kitchen as they clean up the dinner dishes. Of course, the fantastic soundtrack to this movie makes it a likely candidate to include such a fun, albeit short, dance sequence.
This 1988 Tim Burton classic includes a few fun dance scenes that seem to pop up out of nowhere. The dinner dance is a classic way of showing people who've been possessed to a lesser or greater extent; the actors in this scene make clear that a force outside of their own body is driving them to dance, which makes this a fun movie dance scene. In addition, the Shake Shake Senora Song is well-remembered for the moment when Winona Ryder spontaneously flies up into the air while calmly doing a happy dance.
A Bollywood movie with the requisite dance scenes and colorful costumes, Devdas is a long film, but some of the dance scenes make the movie more than worth the time invested. The dance scene to the song Dola Re Dola is a beautifully choreographed and expertly executed company dance number. This scene is sure to please dance lovers of all genres of dance/music.
A less recent movie, this Fred Astaire classic includes one of the most famous dance scenes of movie history even though the dance is not a spectacular one as far as the abilities of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers are concerned. The dance scene Cheek to Cheek is a famous dance from movie history, picked up again in the movie version of The Green Mile since John's last request before being executed is to watch the movie Top Hat. The timeless appeal of this scene is from the combination of the dancing and the music.
Scent of a Woman
The tango scene from this movie won Al Pacino an Oscar, and with good reason! Dance scenes fully embedded in great movies make the most impact, and this one is no exception.
More Dancing in the Movies
Of course, there are several great dance movies, such as Saturday Night Fever, Grease, and Center Stage. These dance movies not only have several amazing dance scenes, but they are also great entertainment as movies even if you aren't interested in the dancing. For this reason, they are popular with many potential audiences. While dancing is great to witness in person, movies are another great medium for watching first-class dancing.