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Jazz Hands at the Ready! The 10 Best Dance Numbers in the Movies

Over here in the UK, we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving. BOO. Which is a shame for many reasons. My main reason is that from November 1st — immediately after the spooky decorations come down from all things Halloween — we immediately go into “Christmas mode.”

Every ad for all the big stores premiered over a week ago. That’s right — IN MID-NOVEMBER. All the shops are filled with sparkly lights and even sparklier dresses. Talk at work has already begun about what to wear to the Christmas party — and everyone always notes “it should be something you can dance in.”

Ahhh yes. The main joy of the Christmas work party — not the eggnog, the free wine, or the cheese sticks — but the chance to watch Norman from Accounts do his funky chicken dance to every song. Even the slow ones. The chance to maybe get a dance in with the cute intern on Floor 3. Or to let your inner Beyonce loose — you know you want to!

This made me start to think about all the requests I shall be putting in to the party DJ as I am THE worst DJ-botherer EVER. I don’t just request the one song — oh no, I stand there with a list. Until they are all played. Dancing is just one of life’s greatest joys. So while you get thinking about your best ever Christmas party playlist, I thought I’d take a trip through the best ever dances in movie history. The moments that made us laugh, cry, and caused our tiny hearts to sing so loudly they might just beat through our chests. No other piece I have ever written for Babble has ever brought me such joy. I hope you like it, too.

P.S And if you are still in your seat at the end of it, I failed!

  • Pretty in Pink | Duckie’s record shop dance… 1 of 10
    duckie

    God bless Duckie and his attempts to woo his best bud Andie — never more so than when he arrives at TRAX record store and serenades Andie as he gets his groove on to Otis Reading's classic "Try a Little Tenderness." What girl doesn't want a boy singing this to her? Problem is, Andie is in lurve with Blane (and who wouldn't be — remember Andrew McCarthy in his prime?). This dance is one filled with gut-wrenching emotion, but does the boy get his girl?

    Photo credit: Amazon

  • Little Miss Sunshine | Olive’s competition dance 2 of 10
    little miss sunshine

    If you have yet to see this movie, I don't want to spoil the ending, but it's safe to say Grandpa's dance teaching skills leave a LOT to be desired. Poor Olive gets up and performs to "Super Freak," a dance that no beauty contest/pageant has ever witnessed before... To spare Olive any humiliation, her family all get up and dance alongside her — a moment of unity for an otherwise fractured clan. Hilarious and moving. If you haven't seen this movie: PLEASE DO!

    Photo credit: Amazon 

  • Grease | "You’re the One That I Want" dance 3 of 10
    grease

    Oh Sandy! We weren't expecting that! I was SO desperate to be Sandy when I was younger, in those fabulous skintight stain trousers and off-the-shoulder top. AND she got to kiss Danny! This dance routine all through Rydell High's end- of-term carnival with all the Ooh Ohh Ohhs is nothing short of genius. No one has EVER looked better dancing than Olivia Newton John. Long before Tarantino made Travolta cool (again), he was at his dimple-chinned best in this end of movie dance.

    Photo Credit: Amazon

  • 500 Days of Summer | Dancing in the park 4 of 10
    summer

    All it takes is to spend the night with the girl of your dreams — and voila! — the whole world is different. This is what Tom discovers when he spends the night with his co-worker Summer. He strides to work, a huge grin on his face and the world is that much brighter. In fact everyone joins in and dances alongside him in the park — even a cartoon bird. Dreams indeed do come true.... 

    Photo credit: Amazon 

  • Flashdance | The audition dance 5 of 10
    flash new

    I STILL love this soundtrack more than any other. A welder by day and dancer by night, Alex finally auditions for the Pittsburgh Conservatory of Dance and Repertory with an amazing dance to "What a Feeling" by Irene Cara. NOTHING has ever made me want to dance or sing my heart out more in my life. It still makes me teary hearing it now. Proof that in life, you can get what you want — you just have to want it hard enough. Take your passion ... and make it happen. *Sings like no one is watching*

    Photo Credit: Amazon 

  • Oliver | "Who Will Buy?" dance 6 of 10
    oliver2

    This 1968 classic film has the most beautiful dance sequence when Oliver opens his London window to see what is going on in the London square below. He sees a woman selling "sweet red roses" followed by a milk seller, then strawberries... The square comes to life with nannies, window cleaners, sweeps, cleaners, school teachers — a whole world of people bustling past with jobs to do. Oliver looks on in wonder, and so do we. 

    Photo Credit: Amazon 

  • Billy Elliott | Billy angrily dancing 7 of 10
    billy

    There has been dancing for love, dancing for passion, but rarely is their dancing to express anger. Poor Billy, who grew up in a house during the miner's strike where his love of ballet dancing was frowned upon. When his family discovers that he has been attending ballet classes behind their back, his widowed father and brother are furious. Billy's reaction? Angry, hurt and frustrated, he half taps, half kicks his anger out of his tiny body. Passionate stuff. 

    Photo credit: Amazon 

  • Rocky Horror Picture Show | "The Time Warp" dance 8 of 10
    rocky horror

    When your car breaks down, you don't expect to be let into a rundown creeky house by a humpbacked old butler who initiates you into a bizarre dance called "The Time Warp." Suddenly you are surrounded by a room full of oddly dressed folk, celebrating something unknown and "time warping." As odd as it sounds, this is exactly what happens to Brad and Janet. Will they get out of Transsexual Transylvania in one piece? Everyone — it is just a jump to the left... Brilliant mind boggling fun. 

    Photo credit: Amazon 

  • Dirty Dancing | Johnny and Baby’s end-of-season dance 9 of 10
    dirty dancing

    After the immortal lines,"No one puts Baby in a corner," have been said, Johnny tells the audience that he always does the end-of season-dance and that he is going to do it his way, with kind of people. Then he dedicates the dance to his partner, Baby. She duly obliges and shows everyone what she has learnt on her holiday. The most romantic of all dances, there isn't a woman alive who didn't want to be Baby back in '87. And SHE DOES THE LIFT!!! 

    Photo credit: Amazon 

  • Singin’ in the Rain | THE dance in the rain… 10 of 10
    rain

    Watching Gene Kelly's iconic dance scene as he sings in the rain, it is hard to believe he wasn't the first choice for this film; Howard Keel was! He plays Don Lockwood, a popular silent film star with humble roots as a singer, dancer, and stuntman. When he meets Kathy — as she jumps out of a mock cake — he is smitten. But it is going to take a lot of work to make Kathy fall for him... This dance moment shows his joy after having kissed Kathy. He doesn't even notice the rain. Ahhhhhh... 

    Photo credit: Amazon 

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