Monday, 4 April 2011

You Make Me Want To Dance

As someone who is devoid of rhythm, I've always been oddly fascinated by those who can dance.  Part of it was my formative years watching the simple steps of the Young Talent Time gang, part of it was the impact of watching musicals from an early age.  That being said, if I were to be granted an ability right now - singing or dancing - I would go the former.

But dancing seems so far away from what I am capable of and so transformative that it is almost magical.  This might explain why I will see pretty much an dance movie that is released on the big screen.

 Here are a couple of my favourite dance routines from many years of watching :)

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers - Barn Dance
I love how dorktastic the acting and storyline is.  I love the painted background canvas.  I am weirded out that it's based on an Ancient Roman legend called (and I am not kidding) The Rape of the Sabine Women.  I love that it's nearly so awesome that it's wonderful.  Starting off with a traditional line dance it becomes increasingly athletic, daring and much much less about the gals.  I also find it hilarious that it took two failed group thinks before they figuring out how to wrest the gals free of the town's gents!  They totally get my respect back by using a leap frog to up the blandly dressed dullards.

As a kid I had a terrible crush on the red shirt brother (Frank played by Tommy Rall).  I never remembered his name, just that the red dye didn't take as well on him as the others.  After listening to the audio commentary (yes, I am one of those people) I found out that the reason we don't see the classically trained, exceedingly tall Julie Newmar dancing much is because her brother (the tallest dude they could find) wasn't a dancer but a basketballer!

And Mr Rall, I know you're 81 but I totally love you!

* Random fact - Blue shirt is the father of Joan of Arcadia's Amber Tamblyn.

Footloose - Prom Dance (apologies for the Italian version)
I LOVE this dance scene.  The first reason is the finger crooking of the unknown extra at the beginning.  The second is for Ren and Rowdy doing their little dance and thirdly everyone genuinely looks like they are having a blast.  You can't help by laugh by the confetti smudging effect on the camera, Rowdy's bake and shake moves to impress SJP and how impressed Ren/Kevin Bacon is with his cocky moves (and stunt dancer flip).  It's shameless, it's self-impressed and it's purely 80s.  I adore it (and still loathe Ariel, even though Ren's a bit of ick-fest anyway.)

While the fish eye lens and streamers can be distracting, it makes the simplicity of the footwork shots that much more brilliant.   I love the sound of many feet hitting the floor in the same rhythm (just as long as it isn't river dancing).  The brilliance of this scene is that most of the dance moves are completely within the capabilities of a normal person (except rubber dude and break dancer dude).  Lastly, the 'everybody cut' sashaying in unison is classic.

Anyone else wonder where all that glitter is falling from?

Singin' in the Rain - The Rain Dance
It horrifies me to think that most kids introduction to 'Singing in the Rain' will be via Glee. It is an arts education in a poorly devised, inconsistent narrative barren forty minute episode. Matthew Morrison is NO Gene Kelly. Kelly might not have had the strongest voice but he danced with athleticism and panache. This is a classic.

I was tempted to add many more Kelly dances but there are only so many hours in the day. Good Morning is a favourite (I used to sing that to my class every morning in Japan) as is everything else that man/dancer/choreographer/director did on film. He was a genius.

West Side Story - Opening
Finger snaps all round! Brilliant choreography combined with brilliant direction combined to set the scene for the animosity between the Sharks and the Jets. While I never really cared for Maria and Tony I totally invested in the opening of this film. The co-directors Jerome Robbins and Robert Wise won an Oscar for their efforts and hired blue shirt (aka Russ Tamblyn - also wearing a blue shirt with mujacket in this scene) as the character Riff in this movie.  Unfortunately, gangsters do move this gracefully in real life.

Mary Poppins - Step in Time
Are my musical roots showing?  I recently saw the production of Mary Poppins and their depiction of this routine was phenomenal but I do love the original. Life isn't complete before a) you've heard Dick van Dyke's horrible cockney accent and b) you've seen chimney sweeps dance in unison. On re-acquaintance it is interesting to see the darkened dancers against a marginally lighter background, the contrast really works to show off their physicality. I do wish Mary hadn't joined in. I love Julie Andrews (she's up there with Noni Hazelhurst goddess status for me) but she's not a great dancer. Having seen this routine back to back I see many similarities with that of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers

If you could dance like this wouldn't you have joined the circus instead of sweeping ungrateful British sod's chimneys?

Dirty Dancing - Mickey and Sylvia
This movie came out when I was seven though I didn't see it for many years after. I made up for that during grade 11 when my boarding school housemates watched the finale dancing scene on repeat for a good term. No exaggeration, ten full weeks. I would complain more but the term prior was Titantic-themed.

There's just something so undeniable awesome about people writhing on the floor and lip syncing (this does not apply to anyone who ever was a Disney employee).

"Spaghetti arms!"

Unfortunately no embeddable video so click here.

(500) Days of Summer - You Make My Dreams
It comes out of nowhere and I loved it.  Halls & Oates + blue costuming + Joseph Gordon Levitt = sigh. Also, I am partial to a nonsensical marching band.

Centre Stage - Finale
Like whoa. Doesn't matter that I was in love with the bland Charlie (I was a teen, cut me a break), I LOVED this entire routine.

A Knight's Tale - Golden Years
In context it doesn't work but I love it anyway. It looks fun and easy so why not?

The Breakfast Club - The Molly Ringwald
I am fluent in both the Ringwald and the Allison shake down. I wish I could retain my balance on a ledge enough to do everything they do on theirs :)

I have missed many but what makes you want to dance?


Jane said...

I adore, adore, ADORE this post! And I've seen almost every dance routine you listed there and also LOVED the one from Centre Stage - in fact, I used to put the DVD on and just watch it over and over again.

I have all the grace of an elephant, so I will just have to watch these back and enjoy without taking part...

Em said...

Major spoiler alert on this one for anyone who hasn't seen Strictly Ballroom, but I love love love the final dance numbers in this film (the whole film is great!):

Em said...

Ok and one more - had to get some Bollywood in here. This video's a cameo-fest of new and old Bollywood stars and very fun to dance along with.

Suey said...

Love this! But it makes me miss Heath Ledger all over again...

Rum said...

i've seen all of these before and it brings back memories. love a good old musical.

lib_idol said...

Blues Brothers - Twist It!


Rebecca said...

The Time Warp from the Rocky Horror Picture Show!

GreenBeanTeenQueen said...

I love these but my favorite is 7 Brides. I grew up on that musical and I loved it. I watched it over and over. I wanted the Barn Dance to be real! And I didn't care that it was a goofy storyline and the backgrounds are obviously fake and it's a stage-I still adored it. I called them the colored shirt brothers because I never could pronounce their last name as a kid.:) And I had a soft spot for Gideon, but really I loved them all!

Tez Miller said...

Some may know "Shipoopi" from The Music Men. But I know it from Family Guy ;-) Lyrics are a bit risque...

Miscellaneous-Mum said...

I'll give you this link: I'm going to post it myself in the next week or so with my 'favourite dresses' post I've been working forever on (and which you kindly helped on Twitter the other month!)

THIS is a sexy dance between Kim Novak and William Holden in Picnic. Phwroar!

Splendibird said...

Ach, I only saw this post after I commented on your song one... Still, I also like the dance scene in Pride and Prejudice where everyone disappears except Elizabeth and Darcy - swoon, thud. Good Morning from Singing In The Rain is also fabulous, as is Moses Supposes.

Rhiannon Hart said...

Oh I like dancing even better!! I was researching belly dance for book two and came across Sadie. My jaw dropped. And I took up belly dance.

Anonymous said...

*clears throat*

I don't see any Step Up films listed here. ;)