It’s a well-known fact that dance movies are the best kind of movies. Real life would be so much better if everyone broke out into spontaneous, highly choreographed dance at any given moment. From the ever-popular Honey, to the nostalgic Billy Elliot, the classic Saturday Night Fever and the electric Strictly Ballroom, we’ve compiled a list of the very best dance movies of all time.
So, if you’re planning on embarking on a dance movie binge, look no further! Plus, you have our permission to test out any new moves on the Alma de Cuba dance floor!
We had to begin our list with this solid staple in the dance film genre. Starring Jessica Alba as wannabe choreographer, Honey Daniels, this film follows her journey from teaching hip hop at a local community centre to starring in a world famous music video. Mekhi Phifer and Joy Bryant co-star as the boyfriend and best friend, respectively, who help keep our fledgling choreographer grounded. Mrs Elliot is also in it, which is a good enough reason for anyone to watch!
The classic story of a small town girl looking to make it big in the city, Burlesque is undoubtedly one of the best dance movies on the list. Starring not only Christina Aguilera, but also Cher and Kristen Bell, this film is filled with drama, divas and more diamonds than you could ever imagine. So, if you’re looking for a dance movie with sass and a vampy edge, Burlesque is perfect.
Next up in our guide to the best dance movies is legendary film maker Baz Luhrmann’s debut masterpiece, Strictly Ballroom. Over the top and full of frills, this classic film sees flamboyant dancer, Scott Hastings partner with a left-footed local girl who is just waiting to blossom on the dance floor. As the prestigious Pan-Pacific Grand Prix Dancing Championship looms, she goes through a seamless transformation, Scott’s hair takes on a life of its own, and a cover of “Time After Time” serves as their love song.
Possibly one of the best known and popular dance movies of all time, Step Up obviously deserves a spot on this list. The film that made us all fall in love with Channing Tatum, this classic movie expertly fuses ballet and hip hop through the interests of its main characters. This movie also provided the backdrop for Channing’s romance with his ex-wife Jenna, romantic at the time…
Another amazing fusion of ballet and hip hop, Save the Last Dance sees darling of 00’s teen movies, Julia Stiles take centre stage as a budding professional ballerina. After her mother tragically dies, Julia’s character Sara moves to Chicago to live with her father and meets a young man (Sean Patrick Thomas) who shares her love for dancing.
Centring around dance battles in Los Angeles, You Got Served is an iconic hip hop drama showcasing the amazing moves of Omarion. Serving you a slice of fiercely competitive dance, the film focuses on a contest where the prize is getting to dance on a Lil’ Kim video, what’s not to love?
As well as being one of the best dance movies of all time, Center Stage is also one of the greatest romantic dramas ever! Featuring everything from Peter Gallagher’s eyebrows, a young Zoë Saldana, Olympic gold medallist Ilia Kulik, and a jaw-dropping finale number set to Michael Jackson and Jamiroquai. Come for the fantastic ballet dancing, stay for the inspirational message that you should always dance with your heart. However, we can all agree that her relationship with her dance teacher was totes creepy and way inappropriate.
An absolute classic film and not just in the dance movie category, Bring It On is a must see. Haters will say the film is about cheerleading rather than dancing but we totally disagree. Those people must not have been paying attention, because the whole point of the movie is that cheerleaders don’t get enough credit for their sophisticated choreography and fierce athleticism. Team Clovers forever!
One of the very first and best dance movies, Fame has us all dreaming that we could attend the High School of Performing Arts in NYC. Competition is fierce and talent is sky high, with those making the cut realising that it takes a lot of hard work to become a star! This iconic film is well worth a watch and introduced star, Irene Cara to the film scene.
We can tell by the way you use your walk that you’re a fan of Saturday Night Fever, the 1977 blockbuster that made John Travolta a mega-star and brought disco into the mainstream. Not everything about this movie ages well, but John Travolta’s dancing is eternal. Saturday Night Fever will go down in history as one of the greatest dance movies ever.
The original was good, but we would argue that the remake was better! With a star-studded cast including Zac Efron, John Travolta, Michelle Pfeiffer, Christopher Walken, Amanda Bynes and Queen Latifah, Hairspray is a legendary dance movie. Set in 1962 Baltimore, Maryland, the film follows the “pleasantly plump” teenager Tracy Turnblad as she pursues stardom as a dancer on a local TV show and rallies against racial segregation.
If you love flappers, tappers, sequins and all that jazz, look no further than Chicago. It tells the tale of Velma Kelly, played by Catherine Zeta-Jones and Roxie Hart, Renee Zellweger, two murderesses that find themselves in jail together awaiting trial in 1920s Chicago. Velma, a vaudevillian, and Roxie, a housewife, fight for the fame that will keep them from the gallows. Directed and choreographed by Rob Marshall, and adapted by screenwriter Bill Condon, with music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb, Chicago won six Academy Awards in 2003, including Best Picture!
This film follows buttoned-up and serious lawyer John Clark, played by Richard Gere, as he looks for something new and exciting in his life. He begins taking dance lessons from Paulina, played by Jennifer Lopez and what ensues is a magical foray into the world of ballroom dance. Not only is it one of the best dance movies ever, it’s also one of JLo’s best films, too!
This iconic film tells the story of a young ballet dancer who is torn between the man she loves and her pursuit to become a prima ballerina. Starring Moira Shearer, Anton Walbrook, and Marius Goring, and a whole host of renowned dancers from the ballet world, this iconic film transports you into a magical technicolour dream world. You’re in good company if you love this film, as famous filmmakers Brian De Palmaand and Martin Scorsese have named it one of their all-time favourite films too!
Next up is the dark and at times terrifying Black Swan. Natalie Portman plays Nina, a young woman desperate to land the lead role in her ballet company’s production of Swan Lake. Throw in an overbearing director, competition in the form of Mila Kunis, and a psychotic mum living vicariously through her daughter, and you’ve got a big ol’ ballet nightmare.
We couldn’t compile a best dance movies guide and not include the all-time classic Grease. We got chills and they’re multiplying every time we watch this fabulous film. A wholesome exchange student, played by Olivia Newton-John and a leather-clad Danny, John Travolta have a summer romance, but will it cross clique lines?
If you love this movie as much as us, did you know that Arthouse Hotel, situated just down the road from Alma has a whole room themed around this iconic high school drama? Check it out and book an amazing Grease themed stay. Grease is the word!
Possibly one of the best dance movies on the list, Flashdance follows Alex Owens, a welder by day and burlesque dancer by night. She dreams of becoming a professional ballerina one day, because why not? The soundtrack is also amazing, featuring a whole host of classics including “Maniac”, “Flashdance and “What a Feeling.” The ’80s were truly special.
Forget the remake, the original Footloose is undoubtedly the best version, mainly because of Kevin Bacon. When Ren (Bacon) and his mother move from Chicago to a small farming town, he is prepared for the adjustment to his new high school. What he isn’t prepared for are the local laws – including a ban on dancing! Let’s just say, this ban doesn’t stop the film being full to the brim of epic dance scenes.
The protagonist and title character, 11-year-old Billy Elliot, could literally dance circles around most of us. Set in England in 1984, the movie follows Billy as he ditches boxing and enrols in a ballet class to follow his real passion. This film has a great message, reminding us that we should always be true to ourselves no matter what, plus, the soundtrack is amazing.
A wonderful tale of the transition in the film industry from silent films to `talkies’, this iconic movie follows the careers of Don and Lina. After having been cast repeatedly as a romantic couple, they face a new challenge as their next movie is to be made into a musical. Only Don has the voice for the new singing part, which becomes even more evident after Lina still sounds terrible after a lot of practice with a diction coach. Enter Kathy, a bright eyed and bushy tailed aspiring actress, who happens to have the voice of an angel.
The be-all and end-all in our list of the best dance movies, Dirty Dancing is the story of Frances “Baby” Houseman. When she goes on holiday with her family to a picturesque resort, she quickly becomes involved with dance instructor, Johnny Castle, played by the handsome Patrick Swayze. Having the time of her life, the final dance sequence is downright iconic and will make you question why your own partner can’t lift you like that on command.
This award-winning musical is a modern day Romeo and Juliet, centred around New York street gangs. On the harsh streets of the upper west side, two gangs battle for control of the turf. The situation becomes complicated when a gang member falls in love with a rival’s sister. And, of course, there’s more dancing than you can shake a stick at.
Magic Mike offers Channing Tattum lovers yet another dazzlingly dance movie, bursting with choreographed scenes and sexy strip teases! Yes, this is technically a dance movie, because remember: The Kings of Tampa aren’t strippers, they’re male entertainers. And male entertaining means dancing, to “Pony,” or in the case of the whole group, “It’s Raining Men.” Hallelujah.
Last on our list of the very best dance movies of all time is a sizzling salsa classic. Equal parts dance and romance, this samba drama stars Vanessa Williams as a stuck up ballroom dancer and Chayanne as the free-spirited Rafael Infante. They enter a dance contest together and sparks fly!
Don’t forget, you can test out all of your new found moves on the Alma de Cuba dance floor! Why not book a booth for you and your dance partners and really make the most of your night out in Liverpool.
Or, if you want to take the next step to becoming a top class performer, book a samba dance class and learn some moves from our very own samba girls! Sip on cocktails, shake your tail feather and have an unforgettable party!