Celebrating National Dance Week With Popular Dance Films

We already know how good dance is for us – great exercise, a great way to connect with others in a safe, social setting, mind-body connection that helps prevent Dementia and Alzheimers, and so much more.

But did you know – dance is also great inspiration to watch?

That might explain the popularity of numerous dance movies, which we’d like to revisit in honor of National Dance Week.

Films featuring dance show us that dance brings a sense of togetherness and freedom, and an appreciation for how liberating life can be.

best dance moviesDirty Dancing (1987): The original “feel good” dance film and arguably the most watched and talked-about dance movie of all time, starring Jennifer Grey as Frances “Baby” Houseman and Patrick Swayze as Johnny Castle. In addition to delivering one of the best dance sequences in movie history, Dirty Dancing delivers relatable, honest coming-of-age messaging about love, responsibility and rebellion. It teaches us the importance of going with your gut and letting yourself fall for music and romance. Don’t overthink things or sit around wondering “what if?” Follow your heart. And don’t be afraid to take chances, to think for yourself, to ally yourself with good people!

Shall We Dance (2004): Richard Gere, Jennifer Lopez and Susan Sarandon starred in this remake of a 1996 Japanese film of the same title. A Chicago lawyer with a good married and a loving family still feels like something is missing and, when he spots a ballroom dance studio on his way home from work, he decides to take a chance at dance. Ultimately, he returns to his wife and they learn to dance together. A beautiful movie about finding yourself by taking chances, and rekindling the romance of a long-time love by coming back to yourself and respecting one another’s space.

Ballroom dance movies

Come Dance With Me (2012): Starring Andrew McCarthy, Stephanie Mills and Chris Gillett, this is a story about star-crossed lovers from different socioeconomic statuses who are determined to be together. Dance lessons pave the way for an impressive proposal. It’s a Hallmark movie of epic proportions, with themes of wealth and love and the choices one must make to be true to the self – despite the temptations of glitz and glamour.

Mad Hot Ballroom (2005): This documentary-style film shows the progression and growth of several 11-year-old New York City public school students, who enter the world of ballroom dancing reluctantly but gain etiquette as they become focused competitors set on winning a competition between 60 different schools. The takeaway here is the powerful impact dance can have on children – by building confidence, grace and coordination alongside a message of the joy in taking chances and expand your reach.

Marilyn Hotchkiss’ Ballroom Dancing and Charm School (2005): A heartfelt and thoughtful movie that leaves room for discussion and interpretation, this film stars Robert Carlyle and John Goodman in a story about love, loss and progressing forward. This story pairs two men at pivotal moments of their lives, when they reflect on the people they met whose imprint stayed with them through the ages, and the chances we must take to find ourselves, and our purpose, in life. Viewers learn that dance is a channel for connection, especially at low points of our lives – it can provide purpose and a path for moving forward.

Dance is all this and more!! As we focus on dance this month nationwide, think of the morals of these movies and the takeaway that dance can be transformative, life-saving, eye-opening and, above all, fun.