12 Movies With and About Dance that Are 100% Worth Your Watch
We all know a beautiful dance scene can create a never to forget moment in cinema. That’s why we’ve put together a list of 12 movies that contain memorable dance scenes or that are 100% about dance. No point mentioning that most movies have a strong romantic component, right?
1. Strictly Ballroom (1992)
I love how whimsical this movie is and how the explosive comedy had me smiling all the way through the movie. Strictly Ballroom (1992) is a comic gem that follows the dilemma of a young ballroom dancer named Scott (Paul Mercurio). The protagonist loses a major competition because he uses his own original steps, which are not strictly ballroom. He embarrasses his family and the whole dancing community. Now, he must find a new dance partner, and who better than Fran (Tara Morice), the ugly duckling. The movie has a wonderful dance scene performed to Cyndi Lauper’s – Time after time with a mix of rumba, waltz and tango over-the-top moves.
2. The tango lesson (1997)
The tango lesson is about someone who discovers the beautiful tango. Sally, a British filmmaker and screenwriter, sees a performance of the Argentine tango dancer Pablo. Fascinated by his performance, she asks Pablo to give her dance lessons. She then decides to make a movie about tango casting Pablo in exchange for their partnership in the dance. I love how the director makes this emotionally-charged dance number part of the plot.
3. Assassination tango (2002)
The movie “Assassination Tango” is an American thriller of the year 2002, directed, produced and played by Robert Duvall. The film is conceived mainly by the actor’s passion for Buenos Aires music. It tells the story of a murderer in Brooklyn, who is hired and sent to Buenos Aires to fulfill his last mission: to kill a retired general. There, he will have to spend more time than expected on his mission. In the meantime he will be seduced by the tango and by the dance teacher he meets in a club.
The next video is a scene from the film in which the protagonist dreams that he is dancing this tango so delicate and unobtrusive.
4. Tango (1998)
In 1998 Carlos Saura makes a tribute to tango. The Argentine composer Lalo Schifrin and the superb interpretation of the Orchestra Ensemble recreate in images the sensual and passionate nature of tango. To dance the tango you have to love, you have to feel, you have to listen to each note of the bandoneon chords and interpret them. They accomplished this gracefully in this scene as it is a true visual poetry. The intricate footwork from this particular scene is well worth seeing.
5. Easy virtue (2008)
The tango scene of the following video, with music by Marius de Vries, shows the protagonist, Larita, who enters the ballroom. She asks the orchestra for a tango to dance with her husband, but he rejects her. The look of his mother and of all the guests when they see Larita beautifully dressed in a sensual dress is inquisitive. She challenges everyone with her indifference and defiance and she begins to move to the rhythms of tango. Her father-in-law saves the situation by dancing with her in a way that will leave everyone with their mouths open. The steps are basic but the camera work makes them look intricate enough.
6. Shall we dance (2004)
“Shall we dance” is a dramatic story with romantic brushstrokes, comedy and elegant scenes of ballroom dancing. The dance scene in charge of the two protagonists, becomes that master lesson that the teacher (Jennifer Lopez) gives to her student (Richard Gere), in which she manages to convey the feeling and passion that a dance like tango has. A very appropriate sound that fits perfectly with these scenes with choreographies so elaborate and so well executed.
Fun fact: the amazing Espen Salberg designed Jennifer Lopez’s sensual dress for this movie 🙂
7. Take the lead (2006)
“Take the Lead” (2006) is a movie based on a true story, the story of Pierre Dulaine (Antonio Banderas) a dance teacher who offered classes to the most controversial students of the New York institutes. He created that necessary incentive in their lives that most of these young people lacked. Within the range of classical dances that take place throughout the film, the Argentinian tango blended with the Ballroom tango dance scene with the professional dancer Katya Virshilas is relatively simple but stunning at the same time. A dance that transmits all the sensuality and passion that tango has in itself.
If you want to hear the real life story of Pierre Dulaine, you can listen to our interview with him.
8. Moulin Rouge (2001)
This is not every tango lover’s cup of tea but it is an ode to love and destruction: the dance moment is about Sabine breaking Christian’s heart. The “Tango de Roxanne” is the version of the song “Roxanne” by the group “The Police”, mixed with Tanguera by Mariano Mores, a renowned composer and conductor of Argentine tango. The interpretation of this theme in the film, accompanied by an excellent choreography, is one of the best moments of the movie. It shows the strength and passion that such a wonderful music can convey.
9. Scent of a woman (1992)
This one still gives me goosebumps every time I watch it! Al Pacino and Gabrielle Anwar star in one of the most famous tango scenes in cinema. The character of Pacino, Colonel Frank Slade, invites a woman who has just met to dance tango. Slade is blind but this does not stop him from guiding his partner in the dance in front of a crowded restaurant. The song they dance is Gardel’s tango – Por una cabeza. Little by little, with each step, the initial discomforts disappear and the strings of the violin accompany the couple in the instants of connection and intimacy created by the dance.
10. Dancing in Jaffa (2013)
Pierre Dulaine, four times champion of the world of ballroom dancing, fulfills his dream of teaching his program Dancing Classrooms in his hometown, Jaffa. For more than two months, the dancer teaches Jewish and Palestinian children to dance and compete together and through dance to go beyond hostilities, and to free themselves from conflict.. ‘Dancing In Jaffa’ explores the complex stories of three of these students, who will be forced to face issues of identity, segregation, and racial prejudice when dancing with their supposed enemies.
If you want to read more on this topic, make sure you check our article.
11. Ballroom dancer (2013)
This movie gives us a very intimate insight into the world of a legendary dancer, Slavik Kryklyvyy. As beautiful as the dancesport competitive world is as cruel it is. Moments of great tension, of deception and of joy shared with his younger dance and life partner, the glamorous Anna Melnikova. It is beautiful and heartbreaking to watch their story.
12. Mad Hot Ballroom (2005)
Mad Hot Ballroom is a documentary that follows underprivileged kids from three New York public schools who will be entering a ballroom dance competition. It is the fictional version of Take the lead based on the work of Pierre Dulaine with his program Dancing Classrooms. You can see how much improvement kids make by the end of the movie.
You’ve reached the end of the list and we encourage you to help us make the list grow! Tell us in the comments section your favorite movies on dance or your favorite dance scenes.
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Dancing has been my passion since I was 13 and since then I've been doing things in that direction. Writing, creating and putting together the biggest community for dancers around the world!