Swing Kids, Dirty Dancing, Planet B-Boy: The best dance movies of all time
It's been a month since the season finale of Dancing With the Stars, but The Ordway Center for the Performing Arts is keeping the love alive with their summer dance series. Today Twin Cities twinkletoes will be downtown cutting a rug to some kickin' swing tunes. Before you put on your zoot suit or polka-dot skirt, check out a little silver screen inspiration with our picks for the 10 best dance movies.
Courtesy Dancing With the Stars D-list celebrities with A-list moves
The Mask has a little something for everyone. Your beer-slamming, illiterate boyfriend will be distracted by the action sequences so that you can concentrate on what really matters: Jim Carrey and Cameron Diaz swinging and mamboing all over the screen dressed to the teeth in retro outfits. The green face thing is a little off-putting, but look on the bright side; the transformed mask isn't actually much uglier than Jim Carrey in real life.
When we were kids in the '80s, we wondered why this movie wasn't kept in the special back room of the video store, but now that we're older and have actually seen it, we understand a little better its treasured place in the PG-13 section. The Swayze, may he rest in peace, was a better '80s sex symbol than Tom Cruise ever was, and this classic film is the pinnacle of his heart-throbbiness. When he wasn't busy looking great in tight jeans, he twirled whats-her-name around in what can only be described as perfect fauxmance.
A product of the (quickly extinguished) swing revival of the early '90s, Swing Kids follows the path of two rebels in Nazi Germany - but they don't go around throwing bricks through windows or speaking truth to power. No, their rebellion involves putting on fancy suits and heading to dance halls to twirl the ladies. The film is notable for its beautifully choreographed throws and twirls, and also for starring a young Christian Bale playing an even bigger jerk than Christian Bale is in real life.
Mad Hot Ballroom
This under-hyped documentary covers a 10-week period in which New York public school 5th-graders learn to get over their fear of cooties and tear up the dance floor. The dance sequences aren't as impressive as in some of the films on the list, but the awww factor makes up for any missteps. We don't really have anything snarky to say about it - it's cute, it's funny, and it gives you a genuine window into the diversity of New York City.
Few forms of dance are more impressive than that monolith of hip-hop culture, breakdancing. Planet B-Boy is a documentary covering the 2005 Battle of the Year international crew dance competition, features some of the craziest moves we've ever seen, and a dance-off representing the North/South Korean conflict. Doesn't get much further from noncey romantic whirling than that, eh?