Kick off your Sunday shoes and get watching.On this day in 1987, we were introduced to Baby Houseman and Johnny Castle, two characters that would become almost instantly iconic thanks to the movie “Dirty Dancing.”
When it comes to dance movies, “Dirty Dancing” is among the best ― the fashion is great, it hits on important topics like abortion and class divisions in the U.S. and it features some serious mambo magic. Oh yeah, and who could forget that lift?
Today, while we heartily encourage you to have the time of your life watching “Dirty Dancing” to celebrate its 30th anniversary, we’ve also compiled a list of other dance movies (no sequels or remakes included, because we all know those are never really good) that are definitely worth a shot.
For this one time, and one time only, it’s OK to put Baby in the corner. Kick off your Sunday shoes and get watching.
“Center Stage,” 2000
Despite the terrible acting in “Center Stage,” this dance movie has so much going for it: real dancers (Ethan Stiefel and Sascha Radetsky 4ever), Zoe Saldana putting out a cigarette with the tip of her pointe shoe and Peter Gallagher’s glorious eyebrows. And of course, all the drama culminates into one amazing final dance routine that will never not get Jamiroquai’s “Canned Heat” stuck in your head.
“Save The Last Dance,” 2001
“Save the Last Dance” gave us some pretty great scenes — Sean Patrick Thomas’ Derek teaching Julia Stiles’ Sara how to let go of her ballet training with some chairs, Stiles’ penultimate Julliard audition, and of course, every moment Kerry Washington appears on screen. Aside from the actual dance aspect of the film, though, “Save the Last Dance” actually hits on some pretty heavy topics that remain relevant today, most notably, racism and the experience of being black in America.
Come for ‘00s era Jessica Alba choreographing basketball-inspired dance moves. Stay for the cameos by real-life hip-hop stars like Ginuwine, Tweet and best of all, Missy Elliot. The dancing kids are pretty amazing, too.
“Black Swan,” 2010
“Black Swan” follows a familiar narrative in the dance movie realm — main character faces a challenge (in this case, herself, her choreographer and the new girl) she must overcome to prove herself — and ends with an epic final number, but it definitely doesn’t finish on an inspirational, feel-good note. It’s dark and twisted and creepy, but it gets bonus points for its ultra-meta plot — not only is Natalie Portman’s character dancing the lead roles in Swan Lake, her actual life is mirroring the dark fairy tale.
“How She Move,” 2007