Ladies and lobas, to borrow the nomenclature of the drag scene, here is Shakira serving some serious she-wolf realness. The charm of this video is that the watcher gets the sense that they just snuck into Shakira's private world, where she is just being weird and Shakira-ing around. The sequence at the end, with the skipping and hair-flipping, is simultaneously adorable, bizarre, and incredible. "Aah-ooo!"
Missy Elliot, "I'm Really Hot"
Though the author's favorite Missy Elliot video is definitely "I'm Really Hot," the easy crowd pleaser is the synchronized school girl dance-off of "Gossip Folks." In head-to-toe Adidas and Timberlands, Missy and her dancers have never made wearing track jackets look so darn funky.
Robyn, "Call Your Girlfriend"
Watching Robyn dance is like watching someone who has spent a whole lot of time dancing in front of her mirror. Which may be the highest dancing compliment we could possibly give.
Adriano Celentano, "Prisencolinensinainciusol"
In 1974, an Italian pop star named Adriano Celentano made a rock 'n' roll inspired disco song that plays on the way English sounds to Italians. The result is gibberish. The jams are classic. The moves are totally, totally funky.
Paula Abdul, "Straight Up"
Honestly, there was an internal office debate over which Paula Abdul song to use. But "Straight Up" features more of her enigmatic man-friend dancing, and "Cold-Hearted Snake" has a bunch of great '80s fashion and back-up dancers, but never is Paula having more fun doing uprock and tap-dance than in "Opposites Attract." And to think, she is dancing with a sass-talking animated cat.
Fatboy Slim, "Weapon Of Choice"
Here is Christopher Walken dancing to Fatboy Slim. There isn't much else to say, except, well...you're welcome.
Janet Jackson, "If"
When Janet Jackson stomps through the wind-tousled red silk at the beginning of "If," jaws drop, hearts race, and pants everywhere just get a little baggier. We all know the "If" dance, and some of us have drunkenly attempted it and maybe did "Walk Like An Egyptian" instead.
Beyoncé, "Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)"
Clad in a simple black one-piece and with a robotic arm, Beyoncé's pared-down video was so beloved it became instantly imitated, and for good reason: Her video depicted three women dancing their hearts out. Bey's got plenty of moves in her arsenal, but this...this is classic.
Girls Generation, "Gee"
"Gee" by Girls Generation is a KPop classic, and the 'Gee' dance is easy enough to emulate even for the coordinationally challenged. It's so sugary sweet that you want to hate it, but the song is addictive, the dance is fun to do, and there's something so bizarre and compelling about nine girls with the same outfits, haircut, and body type doing the dance in formation that makes you click repeat again, and again, and again.
This song really lends itself to some cutesy rom-com stylings, so you'd pretty much expect this video to be a bunch of girls in flower crowns running around in a field (basically a Free People commercial), but no. There are sequin jumpsuits, it's kitschy in a really awesome way, and it just makes the song that much better.
This video is, in a word, life. Boy, girl, black, white, as Madonna says, anyone can enjoy a little groove. The only problem is that we kind of wish it would just stop, so we could stare at her glowing visage for a few hours...but that's what the pause button is for.
OK Go, "Here It Goes Again"
Do we even need to explain this? There are treadmills. It's crazy. And it could have gone so very, very wrong — and yet, it's perfection.
Britney Spears, "I'm A Slave 4 U"
You'd think a song with veritable AIM speak in the title would be pretty lame, but you have to remember, back then it was the height of cool. Britney was on top, so high up it seemed like her reign could never end — and this video, marking her transformation from innocent, pigtail-wearing young songstress into a full-on sex goddess with a kinky streak, is one of the greats.
Ciara really has a knack for the kind of dancing that looks so easy, so fluid, but just completely flops when a non-professional attempts to recreate the steps. Having that bejeweled sweat suit probably helps, to be fair to you and the ankle you sprained trying.
Michael Jackson, "Thriller"
An obvious choice, but this is really the pinnacle of group-dance scenes. Incidentally, it's also the pinnacle of shoulder pads, zombie makeup, long-form music videos, and probably this article.
Pat Benatar, "Love Is A Battlefield"
The '80s are so ubiquitous nowadays, the whole aesthetic has kind of been watered down to something more or less awful. But if you need a little reminding as to why that decade was actually awesome, this video might help. The girl-power dance attack at the end really showcases Pat's knack for subtle greatness.
Photo: Courtesy of Sony BMG Music Entertainment/Beyoncé Vevo.