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Movies with the most iconic dance scenes in history of cinema for the International Dance Day

What better day to talk about some of the most iconic dance scenes in cinema history? Some immediately think of Johnny and Baby in Dirty Dancing, others of Mamma Mia or Gene Kelly twirling around the lamppost in Singing in the Rain. There's Kevin Bacon in Footloose or John Travolta in Grease, or for some younger viewers, Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street or in Titanic with young and beautiful Kate Winslet, Natalie Portman in Black Swan, or even Joker (Joaquin Phoenix) dancing down the stairs. Here's our list of selected films, not in order of importance, with some of the most iconic dance scenes in cinema:

1. Billy Elliot: The 2000 cult film, directed by Stephen Daldry, is packed full of emotive scenes ranging from Billy dancing in the street to his gym workouts with his teacher. Of course the film ends with the unmissable climax of the iconic ballet scene.

2. La La Land: Featuring Mia (Emma Stone) and Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) dancing to "A Lovely Night" by composer Justin Hurwitz, who orchestrated all the songs in the film and collaborated with director Damien Chazelle on other projects. This lively love story is full of sensational performances and songs, making it a celebrated musical classic of modern cinema that took home 6 Oscar wins. 

3. Spider-Man 3: Whether a fan or not, everyone knows the iconic scene of Toby "Bully" Maguire dancing to a cover of "Drive That Funky Soul." Evil Peter Parker wears a black suit, a different hairstyle, and wreaks havoc around Brooklyn, dancing with abandon and a diabolical grin. 

4. 13 Going on 30: The 2004 film directed by Gary Winick, celebrated its 20th anniversary recently. The film features a scene where a fearless Jennifer Garner, due to her character's age, wears a flashy yet quirky outfit, and a calm, shy, awkward Mark Ruffalo reluctantly agrees to dance their song, Thriller, publicly at a party.

5. Pulp Fiction: The quintessential Tarantino scene that has been mocked, parodied, recreated and celebrated, become an image of pop culture, is worn on T-Shirts and seen on posters around the world, is one of the most recognisable moments of Una Thurman’s, Quentin Tarantino’s and, especially, John Travolta’s careers. Thurman and Travolta slowly ease themselves into twisting and strutting their most unique of dance moves, confidently, for a restaurant dance competition to Chuck Berry’s “You Never Can Tell”. This certainly showed a different side to Travoltas dance skills, distancing him from the character we saw in Grease. 

There are too many honourable mentions to list but we hope this has reminded you of a few of your favourite dance scenes in cinema.

Written by Olga Raimondo


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