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80s Movie Dance Sequences!

November 30, 2010

Boy we were some dancing fools in the 80s! You couldn’t wield jazz hands without smacking a film about someone who has just had to get their groove on. My love of folks dancing and occasionally singing on film can be traced back to one film – well a collection of films – called, That’s Entertainment, where I was introduced to classic dance happy films and all those great dance sequences. My favorite being Bobby Van hopping himself from one end of town to the other. So what are your favorite dance sequences from 80s films? I’m not all that jazzed – ha – to see the Fosse rehash awaiting me in Burlesque so I thought I’d revisit the 80s where jazz hands still meant something!

“Never Gonna Give You Up” – Travolta and Rhodes. – Staying Alive

The only 80s dance sequences I know better than this one is the zombie walk from Thriller and the chair dance from Flashdance. Oh the hours lost leaping in the air in pretend slow motion to the dulcet strains of Frank Stallone and Cynthia Rhodes. This might come to a shock to you, but Bob Mackie designed the costumes!

“Breakin’ Final Dance” – Turbo, Ozone & Kelly – Breakin’

I have lost count of the number of times I’ve won over a room of crusty, white folks with my heartwarming breakdancing and body rocking. Lost count, I tell you!

“Footloose” – Kevin and Co. – Footloose

I don’t know what John Lithgow was so worried about; that’s some of the most unsexy dancing in the history of teenage dancing. At most, someone’s feet might get a little sore, but nobody’s gonna get hot and heavy after witnessing this dancing. I see Kevin kept the best moves for himself!

“He’s a Dream” – Alex – Flashdance

Xena knows I was too old to be reenacting this dance sequence in my then boyfriend’s backyard with a portable CD player, his nephew’s slip-n-slide, garden hose and metal folding chair. I’m sure all that screaming, “Dammit, you came in too early with the bucket again!” was not making matters any better. Only in sunny, southern California!

29 Comments leave one →
  1. November 30, 2010 10:55 am

    I like the “everybody running out dancing in the streets” scene that seems to be part of every 80s musical. Especially when it involves a cabbie who gets into a fistfight for tying up traffic by stealing and then sharing his reclusive artist son’s music with New York City.

  2. November 30, 2010 11:52 am

    LOL. I love this scene. Why did they even bother remaking Fame. It was perfect the way it was.

  3. November 30, 2010 12:03 pm

    I know this is more of a musical movie filmed in the 80s, and not an 80s musical movie, but I learned so much from this scene.

    (Why can’t I embed anymore??)

    I see you, Tisha Campbell.

  4. November 30, 2010 12:05 pm

    The thing that made the 1980s challenging when it came to dance was the fact that everyone was focusing in on the “Video” aspect of musicmaking and not quite as much on the music that made the average dance club attendee want to actually get up and move. And here’s a classic example:

    Fred Astaire danced with a coat rack, but here, Turbo dances with a Broom from the film “Breakin'”

    The noticeable thing about this is the music itself sucks and doesn’t lend itself towards making the audience want to dance, something that was a standard at the time. It wasn’t about that, it was about getting the audience to just watch what was going on.

    I was going to link a moment from Captain Eo, but it was just too horrible… but again, the music was less than adequate to get the average person moving. It seemed as if the only people dancing to that sort of stuff were professionals!

  5. November 30, 2010 12:18 pm

    Also, the Awkward-Turned-Cool dance sequence trope, as demonstrated well here:

  6. November 30, 2010 12:22 pm

    And that’s why he can never be “McDreamy” to me. He’ll always be that white guy who couldn’t tell the difference between a Nova special and Soul Train. Loser.

  7. November 30, 2010 1:29 pm

    yep, that movie was a guilty pleasure, but even then, i didn’t want to date ronald – he was empathetic, but still obnoxious. watching him try to be McDreamy makes me think of Loverboy.

  8. evmaroon permalink
    November 30, 2010 1:43 pm

    Dirty Dancing! You’re the one thing I can’t get enough of…
    I think there was also dancing in Mannequin. Oh Meshack, your Lane Bryant is showing!

  9. November 30, 2010 2:29 pm

    Ev, I was just about to post that video!!

  10. November 30, 2010 2:36 pm

    I love Mannequin. Oh this was heaven.

  11. November 30, 2010 2:43 pm

    (though he’s not in this clip, RIP Leslie Nielsen!)

  12. evmaroon permalink
    November 30, 2010 3:04 pm

    Okay seriously, we need to see Kim Cattral on Dancing with the Stars, but it’ll never happen.

  13. November 30, 2010 3:53 pm

    I could see it — just not until season 25.

  14. IrishUp permalink
    November 30, 2010 3:56 pm

    The 80’s saved the best for last with 1989’s “Kickboxer”. I give you –
    Jean-Claude Van Damme.

  15. evmaroon permalink
    November 30, 2010 4:01 pm

    OMG, IrishUp!!! My eyes! MY EYES!!!!

  16. IrishUp permalink
    November 30, 2010 4:15 pm

    I know! I’m sorry! I should have posted a warning or something. I have this horrible, morbid fascination with JCVD (esp when he dances), so I’ve built up my resistance.

  17. November 30, 2010 5:10 pm

    My daughter, home from school today due to some perceived illness that I can’t prove doesn’t exist, was watching Ferris Bueller’s Day Off this morning and asked “dad, why in these old movies does everybody start dancing?”. I had no idea Ferris was old.

  18. evmaroon permalink
    November 30, 2010 5:23 pm

    Have we done a series on wardrobe changing montages in 1980s movies? Because we greatly need one, if only to further confound the mind of 1sttimeoffender’s offspring.

  19. November 30, 2010 5:41 pm

    @IrishUp: I hope you’ve seen the movie JCVD?! Because if you are fascinated with him, you will love it.

  20. IrishUp permalink
    November 30, 2010 6:22 pm

    @raymondj -NO, I have not yet (errr)! I am trying to get to, though. I usally get my sis to JCVD with me. We have this running compare and contrast JCVD/Steven Seagal analysis (I know, I know, it’s very very sick. The crazy it runs deep. We don’t want help, we can stop anytime). OBVIOUSLY JCVD pairs PERFECTLY with SS Lawman for this purpose! But the time, she gets away from us.

    @evmaroon – yesyesyes ohpleaseohpleaseohplease?!?!?!?

  21. Val permalink
    November 30, 2010 6:25 pm

    @1sttime0ffender There’s random dancing in Ferris Bueller? Could it have seemed so normal back then that I barely noticed?

    @raymondj a big RIP for Leslie Nielsen. I fly through the airport named for his brother (Erik) regularly. Funny, every time…and now I’ll smile even more as a little tribute to him.

  22. hsofia permalink
    November 30, 2010 6:49 pm

    @Irish Up – ohmygod, I almost cried from laughing so hard at that Van Damme video!

    I never saw any of the films mentioned in the Original Post, but I’ll have to check out Footloose as I could probably relate. I didn’t dance until I was in my mid/late 20s. I thought Jennifer Beals looked rather jerky (and not sexy) in that Flashdance scene – is that supposed to be the beginning or the end of the movie?

    I loved Fame, but boy is that clip chaotic! It’s so improbable, but it’s such a great scene in part for that innocent exuberance.

    My favorites (and I had to search my memory hard because I haven’t seen these in a LONG time) are probably from White Nights

    … and Beetlejuice – because I love Catherine O’Hara.

  23. November 30, 2010 7:39 pm

    @Val To my I love the 80’s mind it makes perfect sense that an impromptu performance of Twist ans Shout would involve a completely choreographed dance routine to break out in the park. I have been practicing the exact same dance routine on my own for twenty just in case I have the opportunity to take part, I can

  24. Patricia permalink
    November 30, 2010 7:46 pm

    This post brings back memories! I must have watched Staying Alive, Footloose and Flashdance (and Dirty Dancing!) a million times as a child/pre-teen. A neighbor had recorded them on VHS when they were broadcast in Brazil, and we used to watch them all in a row. Watching those clips I can remember clearly the dialogue dubbed in Portuguese.

    Haven’t seen “Breakin’ Final Dance” though, maybe it was too hot for Brazilian TV!

  25. aliciamaud74 permalink
    December 1, 2010 8:33 am

    I can’t tell you how sad I am to be on this page in my faculty room…I’m DYING to watch that JCVD video. In the meantime, Lori Singer has some sick moves cozied up to this cello in Fame!

  26. December 2, 2010 3:51 am

    What about Xanadu? I’m the only one who likes bits of the movie, but who could resist dancing that features Olivia Newton John and Gene Kelly tap dancing, with and an exuberant roller-skating Gene Kelly even in his late 60s?

  27. December 2, 2010 9:22 am

    I adore Xanadu. I forget sometimes that it was released in 1980 and isn’t a late 70s film, despite the way it looks, acts and feels.

  28. December 2, 2010 2:24 pm

    ooh, good call on Beetlejuice!

  29. December 2, 2010 2:51 pm

    I’m not your coach! He survived the crash.

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