Please upgrade your browser for the best Refinery29 experience. Read more.

Saved! Access Favorites in your account profile. Removed from my favorites

The Best Dance Movies Of All Time

  1. Begin
    BestDanceMovies_opener_MalloryHeyer
    Photo: Courtesy of Columbia Pictures.

    SHARE IT

    comments
    See All Slides
    As a former dancer, there are few things that bring me more joy than dance movies. You needn't have grown up at the barre to love and appreciate films in which dance takes — for lack of a more on-the-nose expression — center stage. The need to dance is innate in every human being, and it cannot be denied (proof: Footloose). Movement and the self-expression it unleashes can be a great uniter, as seen in movies like Dirty Dancing, where it bridges socioeconomic and cultural divides.

    It's always a perfect time to jazz-hand our way through the greatest dance movies out there. In order to determine which films would be eligible, though, we turned to a professional. We enlisted Justin Peck, whose road to choreographing a new piece for the New York City Ballet is the subject of the documentary Ballet 422, to help us nail down a few criteria.

    "I think that if the dance has purpose behind each step, and it’s not just a novelty of having dance on film for the sake of having dance on film. That can translate into really good dance film work. It's about developing the characters through their movement," Peck told us when Ballet 422 came out in February 2015. "There's a much more visceral quality to seeing dance on camera as a means of storytelling. I think that people can relate to kind of the instinctual bodily response to music. People have been dancing for centuries; it's something that everyone can relate to and get something out of an experience."

    Keeping these qualifications in mind (dance has to be a driving force in moving the story forward, versus movies with random choreographed numbers like Slumdog Millionaire), allow us to present the 30 best dance movies of all time — and where to watch them from the comfort of your own home. We know you want to perfect the lift from Dirty Dancing in private.

    And a 5, 6, 7, 8...





    Written by

    Begin Slideshow
  2. <iframe src="//www.youtube.com/embed/86_rfTEDNxE" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

    SHARE IT

    4 Comments
    See All Slides
    0 of 45

    Center Stage: Turn It Up (2008)

    The only thing better than a guilty-pleasure movie about ballet dancers struggling to make it in New York City? It's sequel.

  3. <iframe src="//www.youtube.com/embed/9gPkNpqP-2k" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

    SHARE IT

    4 Comments
    See All Slides
    1 of 45

    Honey (2003)
    The guiltiest of guilty pleasures. Turn your living room into a studio and dance your Jessica-Alba-loving heart out.

  4. <iframe src="//www.youtube.com/embed/zPJ_hXkdPuc" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

    SHARE IT

    4 Comments
    See All Slides
    2 of 45

    The Artist (2011)
    Lesson learned: When your career is on the fritz, grab a feisty French ingenue and learn to dance.

  5. <iframe src="//www.youtube.com/embed/HB4zlQVRaD0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

    SHARE IT

    4 Comments
    See All Slides
    3 of 45

    Chicago (2002)
    Long before Catherine Zeta-Jones earned an Academy Award for her performance as Velma Kelly, she earned her dance shoes as a five-year-old at the Hazel Johnson School of Dancing in Mumbles, Wales.

  6. <iframe src="//www.youtube.com/embed/Rn0xXo1gwGY" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

    SHARE IT

    4 Comments
    See All Slides
    4 of 45

    Moulin Rouge (2001)
    Come for the whimsical bohemian romance, stay for the steamy tango.

    Stream It: On Amazon.