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10 of the greatest movie dance moments - video
There are too many classic dance sequences in cinema for us to even contemplate compiling an exhaustive list, so we've decided to take the easy way out and simply list ten of our favourites.
Check out Digital Spy's list, and let us know what your favourite movie dance moments are in the comments below.
The Red Shoes (1948)
Long before the psychological pressures of ballet drove Natalie Portman over the edge in Black Swan, Powell & Presssburger's visually arresting, profoundly unsettling classic told roughly the same tragic story. Moira Shearer's wide-eyed ingenue is cast in a new ballet by her domineering director (Anton Walbrook), based on a Hans Christian Andersen fairytale about a young girl whose demonic ballet shoes force her to dance until she dies. The first hints of life imitating art appear in this bravura 17-minute sequence.
Singin' in the Rain (1952)
Movie legend has it that Gene Kelly turned up to film the iconic sequence that gave Singin' in the Rain its title with a fever of 39°C (103°F), and refused to go home on the grounds that he didn't want to hold up production. If it's true, Kelly's a trooper - you'd be hard pushed to read anything beyond sheer exuberance in his performance, and his footwork as he frolics through a soaking wet Los Angeles street is characteristically faultless.
Saturday Night Fever (1977)
Remember when John Travolta was famous for something other than his unfortunate 'religious' beliefs and even more unfortunate alleged sex scandals? If not, take a look at this - Travolta lost around 9kg to play the part of Tony Manero, a skirt-chasing ne'er-do-well who learns to grow up though the medium of disco dance. He reportedly got so invested in the dance sequences that he threatened to quit when the studio suggested shooting in close-up rather than showing his full body. And looking like that, who can blame him?
Mary Poppins (1964)
We may finally have solved the mystery of how that dodgy 'oversized trousers with crotch at knee level' trend got started - it was first rocked by none other than Dick Van Dyke in this infectiously cheery number from timeless classic Mary Poppins. (To give him his due, though, he had a penguin-based excuse.) Look out for the fourth penguin, who toboggans straight off-screen and never quite manages to get back in sync with the rest of the group. If you can watch this without cracking a smile, you may have mislaid your soul.
Risky Business (1983)
We've all done it at least once. A fresh faced, pre-Top Gun Tom Cruise puts aside his depressing dinner, strips down to his tighty whities and rocks on with his socks on to Bob Seger's 'Old Time Rock and Roll'. We'll leave you to draw your own conclusions about the patterns emerging here between talented young male dancers and the Church of Scientology.
Dirty Dancing (1987)
Nobody puts Baby in the corner, and nobody puts together any form of best movie dances list without including this spine-tingling final number, set to 'I've Had the Time of My Life'. Johnny's (Patrick Swayze) moves on Baby (Jennifer Grey) after he pulls her up on stage - especially that lift - have made this one of cinema's most-loved, most-imitated moments, and the scene works just as well in isolation as it does as a rousing finale.
Pulp Fiction (1994)
That awkward moment when your famously possessive gangster boss asks you to chaperone his hot wife for an evening, and she talks you into a very public, more than slightly sultry dance. It's hard to say exactly what it is that makes the twist between Vincent Vega (that Travolta again) and Mia Wallace (Uma Thurman) so hypnotically stylish, but Quentin Tarantino's peerless knack for unexpected music cues plays a big part, as does both actors' total commitment to the moment. You're semi-rooting for these two crazy kids, until all that unfortunate cocaine business a few moments later.
Moulin Rouge (2001)
There's a slew of strong contenders from Baz Luhrmann's back catalogue, and indeed from his Paris-set musical melodrama alone, but sensitive writer Christian's (Ewan McGregor) seduction of jaded courtesan Satine (Nicole Kidman) atop a giant ornate elephant is hard to beat. McGregor's multi-tasking alone is impressive - he croons out an elated rendition of 'Your Song' while brandishing a pink umbrella and dancing around the rooftops of a deliberately not-to-scale Paris. Kidman can't help but swoon, and neither can we.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010)
Hear us out. The penultimate Potter chapter gets a lot of stick for being 'two hours of moaning in tents', but those isolated moments are the first time Harry and his two BFFs get the narrative space to feel like actual three-dimensional characters. This moment between Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) and Hermione (Emma Watson), when they're at their most alone and the world is crumbling around them, is a touching and unusually subtle one for the series - a chance for both to temporarily escape their grim burdens and behave like the 16-year-olds they are.
The Artist (2012)
After his gradual descent from silent stardom into drunken, suicidal obsolescence, George Valentin (Jean Dujardin) is given a new lease of life both emotionally and professionally by rising star Peppy Miller (Bérénice Bejo). In the award-scooping movie's joyous final moments, the pair demonstrate a language beyond the silent films v. talkie divide, with this energetic, flawlessly synchronised triumph. It turns out they really do make 'em like they used to.