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The 30 Best Dance Movies of All Time, Ranked


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.

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Auditions rarely fail to deliver on suspense. But this? This was the nail-biter to end all nail-biters. Hayoung Roh and Chelsea McCloskey, both professional dancers based in NYC, had made it through what felt like endless rounds of cuts, both on Zoom and in person. Out of the nearly 500 dancers (from 30 states and nine countries) who'd answered the Knicks City Dancers' open call for video submissions, just 20 remained—McCloskey and Roh among them. "We were separated into six holding rooms, where we kept trying to figure out the math," Roh recalls. "How many girls are there in total? Who was called back?"

Finally, the women returned to the audition room to dance one last time—or so they were told. Instead, KCD head coach Alyssa Quezada dropped her bombshell: All 20 women had made the final cut. They would be 2021–22 Knicks City Dancers: the latest and greatest edition of one of the most prestigious NBA dance teams. "It was the biggest celebration and the coolest moment of my dance career so far," says McCloskey now. And that was just the oh-so-perfectly-dramatic beginning.

Chelsea McCloskey stands on her left leg while kicking her right leg up with her arms crossed, a smile on her face. She is auditioning for KCD. Chelsea McCloskey Photo by Tess Mayer


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