There have been many movies that centered around dance. Of course, Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly movies ruled the day way back when. And of course, movie adaptations of Broadway musicals enjoy much success. However, I want to focus on movies that revolve around dance. I don’t mean movies that have a lot of dancing in them per se, but movies where dance is the backdrop to the movie—ironically speaking. I also want to focus on movies that were released post Fred Astaire etc and after the infusion of Broadway adaptations—really anything released in the 70s and beyond. So here are a few that you might want to check out. Let me know of any you like that are not on the list:
The Turning Point
(1977) Starring Shirley McLain and Anne Bancroft
Forced to give up ballet after becoming pregnant, Deedee (Shirley MacLaine) moved from New York to Oklahoma to raise a family with her husband (Tom Skerritt). When her old friend and fellow ballerina, Emma (Anne Bancroft), comes to town with her dance company and invites Deedee’s daughter, Emilia (Leslie Browne), to join, Deedee is both excited for her daughter and nostalgic for her past life as a dancer. Jealousy and regret rise to the surface as Deedee copes with her buried dreams.
(1987) Starring Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey
Baby (Jennifer Grey) is one listless summer away from the Peace Corps. Hoping to enjoy her youth while it lasts, she’s disappointed when her summer plans deposit her at a sleepy resort in the Catskills with her parents. Her luck turns around, however, when the resort’s dance instructor, Johnny (Patrick Swayze), enlists Baby as his new partner, and the two fall in love. Baby’s father forbids her from seeing Johnny, but she’s determined to help him perform the last big dance of the summer.
Saturday Night Fever
(1977) Starring John Travolta and Karen Lynn Gorney
Tony Manero (John Travolta) doesn’t have much going for him during the weekdays. He still lives at home and works as a paint store clerk in his Brooklyn, N.Y., neighborhood. But he lives for the weekends, when he and his friends go to the local disco and dance the night away. When a big dance competition is announced, he wrangles the beautiful and talented Stephanie (Karen Lynn Gorney) to be his partner. As the two train for the big night, they start to fall for each other as well.
(2010) Starring Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis
Nina (Natalie Portman) is a ballerina whose passion for the dance rules every facet of her life. When the company’s artistic director decides to replace his prima ballerina for their opening production of “Swan Lake,” Nina is his first choice. She has competition in newcomer Lily (Mila Kunis) however. While Nina is perfect for the role of the White Swan, Lily personifies the Black Swan. As rivalry between the two dancers transforms into a twisted friendship, Nina’s dark side begins to emerge.
(1985) Starring Gregory Hines, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Helen Mirren and Isabella Rosselini
When his plane makes an emergency landing in Siberia, ballet dancer Nikolai Rodchenko (Mikhail Baryshnikov) is recognized as a defector and brought into custody. Returned to Leningrad and reunited with his former love, aging prima ballerina Galina Ivanova (Helen Mirren), Nikolai meets American dancer Raymond Greenwood (Gregory Hines), who defected to the Soviet Union during the Vietnam War but has secretly grown disenchanted. Together, they plot an escape to the American consulate and freedom.
(1984) Starring Guy Davis and Rae Dawn Chong
At the forefront of early hip-hop culture, DJ Kenny Kirkland (Guy Davis), his B-boy brother, Lee (Robert Taylor), and graffiti artist Ramon (John Chardiet) all have hopes of showcasing their talents outside the confines of South Bronx, N.Y. When Tracy Carlson (Rae Dawn Chong), a composer and choreographer, runs into Kirkland and Lee at one of Manhattan’s hottest nightclubs, she offers Lee an opportunity to perform on TV. However, the crew has a long way to go before achieving their dreams.