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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Dance Dance - Top 10 Mover-Shaker Movies

"We're fools whether we dance or not, so we might as well dance."
~Japanese proverb

Well, dance is not my forte. But I find it hard to resist the temptation of watching people dance on screen, especially if the film has a romantic storyline to go with it, that touches maybe a teeny-tiny part of my heart or my soul...
Included in this list are the personal favorites of mine.... movies in English language... that celebrate dance, the dance forms in these flms span over a wide range: from contemporary to clssical, and are served up in combinations of music, dances, songs and choreography. Often there is an an alternative, escapist vision of reality - and sometimes the tremendous film choreography enhances the protagonist's statement in life.
My top ten favorite dance flicks are:

1)Dirty Dancing (1987)

(This is the first ever film with choreographed set pieces that had captured my fancy, especially because it had a soap-opera like tale, which appealed to my romantic sensibility when I knew nothing about good cinema, and because it had Patrick Swayze & Jennifer Gray who sizzled on-screen, and it also had a syrupy score to boast!)

2)Bootmen (2000)

(This Australian film had a typical feel-good flavor, and it had Adam Garcia who I had first seen in Coyote Ugly, and had thought to be a great young thing on legs!)

3)Flashdance (1983)

(This is a story about a struggling Pittsburgh woman with two occupations, as a welder and an exotic dancer, and she wants to get into a ballet school. Typical tale; great musical score, that is one of the most successful ever; and the fresh charm of Jennifer Beals.)

4)Footloose (1984)

(Starring Kevin Bacon, Ariel Moore and featuring Sarah Jessica Parker. A city boy comes to a small religious town where rock music and dancing have been forbidden and banned. Infectious charm - hard to escape!)

5)Newsies (1992)

(A typical Disney live action musical, starring Christian Bale, David Moscow, and Bill Pullman, plus Robert Duvall, it gave me a high when I had hit a personal low in my youth.)

6)Swing Kids (1993)

(The story of a group of youth in Nazi Germany who listen and dance to forbidden swing regardless of the consequences. Christian Bale, in particular, captured my attention.)

7)Moulin Rouge (2001)

(It is NOT a dance flick; It is a musical film directed by Baz Luhrmann, based largely on the Giuseppe Verdi opera La Traviata. But the way dance sequences in the musical setting of the Montmartre Quarter of Paris, France, was used, makes it win my vote!)

8)Chicago (2002)

(This again is NOT a typical dance flick, it is Rob Marshall's adaptation of the super-successful stage production, but the elaborate choreography in this rich and robust musical film is the reason I include it among my favorite dance flicks.)

9)Billy Elliot (2000)

(A talented young boy becomes torn between his unexpected adoration of dance and the collapse of his family. Jamie Bell is a terrific discovery and he is the film's main attraction. Brilliant screenplay; typifies the best of British cinema.)

10)Singin' in the Rain (1952)

(This classical musical featuring Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds had to be included as I was pleasantly surprised to see what a great movie it indeed was, in so many ways; the dance numbers being just one of the reasons for its inclusion. The film is beautiful, tuneful, and even includes poking fun - though lovingly - at Hollywood itself!)

Endnote: I have included just the movies in the 'Movers-n-Shakers' genre made in English. In Hindi films, we have a far more intrinsic relationship of the song and dance routines with the screenplay, yet our films only on rare occasions portray the dancer as a protagonist, tracing his or her journey in life through the medium of dance.
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3 comments:

Aryan said...

The winning dance-movie formula, goes like this: Take two hotties. Add conflict. Any will do, whether it's class, racial or generational. Make stars dance together. Zing! It's a primal thrill, and a severely guilty pleasure to anyone who knows that it gives a high that is manifold more than appreciating the fine art of dancing itself!
A viewer usually finds it too hard to resist the spectacle of limber young things united against the world ... at the pelvis.

Satyaki said...

Good job. But a listing of this kind seems incomplete without the mention of Hollywood's golden pair - Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers! I personally love their movie called 'The Gay Divorcee'(1934), which was screened at the Lincoln Room, American Center, Kolkata.
Among other mentionables are - 'Cabaret' (1972), 'Saturday Night Fever' (1977),'Strictly Ballroom' (1992, 'Dance With Me' (1998) & 'Shall We Dance?' (2004).

Sassy said...

An impressive selection.
But there are many more dance-based movies that have come up in these recent years which I am sure you would approve of (the 'Step Up' movies, especially the first two installments, have impressed me the most).