Just for Fun

The 30 Best Dance Movies of All Time, Ranked

Colder weather is (finally) here, which means it's time for a good dance movie binge. But which iconic films should you put on? To narrow your search, we went ahead and ranked 30 of the greatest dance movies of all time.

Of course, we know a list like this is bound to be controversial—so if you disagree with our lineup, have at it in the comments!


30. "Honey"

Jessica Alba as a small-town dance teacher with huge choreographer dreams? Yes, please!

29. "Happy Feet"

Tap-dancing penguins? YAS!

28. "Burlesque"

Cher + Christina Aguilera + all kinds of fun dancing = GOLD.

27. "Strictly Ballroom"

We're always here for killer ballroom skills, and Strictly Ballroom certainly doesn't disappoint.

26. "Step Up 2: The Streets"

This film had us wishing we, too, could be rebellious street dancers.

25. "Step Up 3D"

The third film in the Step Up franchise comes in one place better than its predecessor thanks to Jon M. Chu's fabulous direction.

24. "Save the Last Dance"

We always save time for this early-2000s classic.

23. "You Got Served"

You can serve us some amazing street dancing any day of the week, TBH.

22. "High Strung"

A romance between a classical dancer and a rebellious violinist? SO GOOD.

21. "Fame"

Fame had us dreaming that we could attend the High School of Performing Arts in NYC, too.

20. "Swing Time"

We're throwing it back all the way to 1936 with this Fred Astaire dance film, which is nothing short of legendary.

19. "The Turning Point"

Shirley MacLaine is a goddess in this 1977 film, which also features some incredible real-life dance stars (hello, Mikhail Baryshnikov!).

18. "Hairspray"

YOU CAN'T STOP THE BEAT! Sign us up for any dance film starring Zac Efron.

17. "All That Jazz"

Of course Bob Fosse's semi-autobiographical film had to make our list. Ann Reinking is so many #goals in this one.

16. "Chicago"

Speaking of "All That Jazz"—you can never have too much Fosse in your life. And Catherine Zeta-Jones' dance skills are impressively legit.

15. "Shall We Dance?"

WHY YES, FRED AND GINGER. YES WE SHALL.

14. "The Red Shoes"

The film that inspired a whole generation of girls to start dancing is a forever classic.

13. "Black Swan"

Body-double controversy aside, this thriller does feature some great dancing.

12. "White Nights"

We LIVE for the dance skills of Gregory Hines and Mikhail Baryshnikov and the choreographic talent of Twyla Tharp.

11. "Saturday Night Fever"

This iconic disco film made John Travolta a dancing star.

10. "Flashdance"

What a feeling this '80s classic gives us every time we watch it!

9. "Footloose"

Obviously, we're talking about the 1984 original. Everybody cut, everybody cut...

8. "Cabaret"

Willkommen, bienvenue, welcome—to one of the best dance films ever.

7. "Step Up"

It doesn't matter how many sequels they make: No Step Up film will ever be better than the original.

6. "An American in Paris"

Gene Kelly can do no wrong. An American in Paris is the stuff of legend.

5. "Billy Elliot"

Following 11-year-old Billy's journey from a small coal-mining town to the ballet stage will give you alllll the feels.

4. "Singing' in the Rain"

SO much love for Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds, and Donald O'Connor!

3. "Dirty Dancing"

Nobody puts Baby—or this '80s spectacular—in a corner. Patrick Swayze's dancing takes things to a whoooole other level.

2. "West Side Story"

Nobody had ever seen anything quite like this revolutionary film when it premiered, changing the dance (and film) world forever.

1. "Center Stage"

Well, OBVIOUSLY. The best dance movie ever made—and possibly just the best movie ever made, period.

The Conversation
Dance News

This week the kids of "Dancing with the Stars: Juniors" got to take charge of their performances: They got choose the songs they performed to AND were also given a lot more say in the creative process of their routines. Many of their choices were rather surprising, but it was fun to see these pint-size performers put their own stamp on their pieces—after all, that's how dancers become artists.

Keep reading... Show less

This year, do not miss out on the world's most prestigious dance competition! Every dance competition offers a different experience. At Showstopper, they make it their top priority that your competition experience is unmatched. Here are just a few reasons why Showstopper is uniquely the best…

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Fashion
Photo by Lucas Chilczuk

Flip your fins in shimmering costumes worthy of the life aquatic.

Modeled by Laura Haver and Brynlie Helmich.

Photography by Lucas Chilczuk

Keep reading... Show less
Giveaways

It's contest time! You could win your choice of Apolla Shocks (up to 100 pairs) for your whole studio! Apolla Performance believes dancers are Artists AND Athletes—wearing Apolla Shocks helps you be both! Apolla Shocks are footwear for dancers infused with sports science technology while maintaining a dancer's traditions and lines. They provide support, protection, and traction that doesn't exist anywhere else for dancers, helping them dance longer and stronger. Apolla wants to get your ENTIRE studio protected and supported in Apolla Shocks! How? Follow these steps:

Keep reading... Show less
Dancer to Dancer
via giphy.com

Finding the perfect song to choreograph to can sometimes be a very tricky task. But thankfully, our queen Ariana Grande is constantly releasing dance-worthy bops. Whether from her hit album Dangerous Woman or her most recent Sweetener, there are a ton of songs from the "God is a Woman" singer that need to be on your dance playlist STAT. Here are 10 of our favorites.

Keep reading... Show less
Cover Story
(photo by Jim Lafferty)

Amanda LaCount was born to move. The second the music comes on at her Dance Spirit cover shoot, the bubbly 17-year-old is shimmying her shoulders and tossing her hair. When she launches into a full-out freestyle to Whitney Houston's "It's Not Right But It's Okay," you can't take your eyes off her.

And yet with every gig she lands, Amanda is challenging some of the dance world's longest-held biases. "I'm curvy," she says, "and I like being curvy. My body is not a bad thing. It's who I am." Here's how Amanda went from talented tot to hardworking pro—and from insecure preteen to body-positive role model.

Keep reading... Show less
Dancer to Dancer
Photo by Lexi Colvin, courtesy Schwartz

Courtney Schwartz seems to be every comp kid's idol. Each week, she assists Talia Favia in a different city for Radix Dance Convention, but it's her high energy, super-cool movement, and genuine passion that truly inspires.

Keep reading... Show less
Dear Katie
Photo by Travis Kelley, courtesy Kathryn Morgan

In our "Dear Katie" series, former NYCB soloist Kathryn Morgan answers your pressing dance questions. Have something you want to ask Katie? Email dearkatie@dancespirit.com for a chance to be featured!

Dear Katie,

My feet naturally sickle when I point them, especially when I'm moving quickly or jumping. How can I fight the sickle?

Kelsey

Keep reading... Show less
Dancer to Dancer

There's no question that life as a dancer can be difficult—long hours, rigorous rehearsals, and the risk of rejection and injury can take a toll. But dancing also gives us so much to be thankful for! In honor of Thanksgiving, we asked nine dancers to share what they're most grateful for this year. From overcoming adversity to new artistic opportunities to growing families, these artists have a lot to celebrate.

Keep reading... Show less
Dancer to Dancer
via giphy.com

Finding the perfect song to choreograph to can sometimes be a very tricky task. But thankfully, our queen Ariana Grande is constantly releasing dance-worthy bops. Whether from her hit album Dangerous Woman or her most recent Sweetener, there are a ton of songs from the "God is a Woman" singer that need to be on your dance playlist STAT. Here are 10 of our favorites.

Keep reading... Show less
Dancer to Dancer
Photo by Lexi Colvin, courtesy Schwartz

Courtney Schwartz seems to be every comp kid's idol. Each week, she assists Talia Favia in a different city for Radix Dance Convention, but it's her high energy, super-cool movement, and genuine passion that truly inspires.

Keep reading... Show less
Dancer to Dancer

There's no question that life as a dancer can be difficult—long hours, rigorous rehearsals, and the risk of rejection and injury can take a toll. But dancing also gives us so much to be thankful for! In honor of Thanksgiving, we asked nine dancers to share what they're most grateful for this year. From overcoming adversity to new artistic opportunities to growing families, these artists have a lot to celebrate.

Keep reading... Show less
A still from the new documentary, DANSEUR. Image courtesy DANSEUR

According to the new documentary DANSEUR, 85% of males who study dance in the United States are bullied or harassed. A quote in the film from Dr. Doug Risner, faculty member at Wayne State University, states, "If this scope of bullying occurred in any activity other than dance, it would be considered a public health crisis by the CDC."

So why is it allowed to persist in ballet? And why aren't we talking about it more? These are the questions that DANSEUR seeks to answer. But primarily consisting of dance footage and interviews with male dancers like ABT's James Whiteside, Houston Ballet's Harper Watters and Boston Ballet's Derek Dunn, the film only addresses these issues superficially, with anecdotes about individual experiences and generalizations about what it's like to be a male dancer.

Keep reading... Show less
Dance News

If you follow New York City Ballet principal Sara Mearns on Instagram, you'll have noticed that for the past several months, her feed has included wedding prep pics in addition to her usual performance posts and cross-training clips. This past weekend, the big day finally arrived, and Mearns married Broadway and television choreographer Joshua Bergasse in a dreamy beach ceremony in North Carolina.

Keep reading... Show less
How To
B-boy Ray "Nasty Ray" Mora demonstrating toprocking (photo by Josh Salcedo, courtesy Mora)

For most people, the word "breaking" brings to mind flashy feats on the floor. But those eye-catching tricks aren't the whole picture. Breaking actually features four different categories of movement: toprock, footwork (or "downrock"), freezes, and power moves. And while toprocking—the part of breaking that's done standing up—is often overlooked, it's one of the most critical parts of the art form.

"As b-boy Mr. Wiggles taught me, breaking is like a sentence, and toprocking is the introduction," says seasoned street dancer Valerie "Ms. Vee" Ho, who teaches at Broadway Dance Center, Pace University, Peridance, and Juilliard. So how can dancers start their sentences off in a way that'll keep people listening—and watching?

Keep reading... Show less
Dance News
Milo Manheim sweeping Witney Carson off her feet during their Foxtrot. (Screenshot via YouTube)

Last night's "Dancing with the Stars" had it all: cowboy boots, a double elimination, and two perfect scores! Get your feet in those stirrups, because this recap's about to be a wild ride.

Keep reading... Show less
Dancer to Dancer
Cathleen Meredith is a plus-size performer who's started her own talent agency for fellow plus-size dancers (photo by Elliott Ashby, courtesy Meredith)

For Decades, Thin has been very In in the dance world. The stereotype is especially prevalent in ballet, where young dancers can feel huge pressure to be as skinny as possible. But dance's body-diversity problem isn't limited to the realm of leotards and tights—it's an issue that dancers of all genres encounter. Those who don't fit the thin ideal often find themselves shut out of professional dance, sidelined not because of a lack of talent, but because of a body directors and choreographers deem "too big."

Thankfully, long-overdue change is—slowly but surely—coming. And we'd like you to meet five of the gifted, determined, stereotype-shattering performers leading the way. They're living proof that talent knows no size.

Keep reading... Show less

Sponsored

Video

mailbox

Get Dance Spirit in your inbox

Sponsored

Giveaways