There's nothing like a little dance scene.
That point in a movie where we are treated to a montage filled with great music, great moves, and great visual storytelling. We assembled 50 of our favorite dance sequences, and the dances that fit them. Who knows? Instead of watching the next dance scene, maybe you can make your own?
50 Movie Dance Scenes and How To Do Them
1. Pee Wee's Big Adventure - Tequila
Be honest, this may have been your first introduction to Mambo music.
Try it yourself: "Tequila" is a classic Mambo, or Salsa, depending on your mood. We recommend saving the pencil thin suit and platform shoes strictly for show.
2. Pulp Fiction - The Twist
This scene makes the Twist even cooler than it was in its heyday.
Try it yourself: Any attempt to reinterpret this untouchable dance scene with Uma Thurman and Mr. Travolta would only bring a world of pain to you courtesy of a certain Marcellus Wallace... and we wouldn't wish that on anyone.
3. House Party - Dance Off
For those that know and love this movie, you probably watched, and rewatched, this scene to get the moves just right. Unless, you know, your VHS was worn out.
Try it yourself: As a public service, even if you can Salsa to classic R&B music by Full Force, we suggest that you do that outside of a Kid N' Play dance routine battle.
4. High Fidelity - Walking on Sunshine
Attention Monday. I'm officially adding Jack Black's mixtape dance to my morning routine and it shall defeat you.
Try it yourself: Mix Jitterbug with everything that Jack Black is doing, and you could clear any dance floor forever.
5. The Mask - Cuban Pete
Jim Carey is a master at impressions, and apparently, that works for impressions of Latin dancers as well.
Try it yourself: Mask or no mask, the Samba will get your body moving to Cuban Pete, with no computer graphics necessary.
6. Make Em Laugh
This is that other dance number from Singin' in the Rain. Donald O'Conner shows that Gene Kelly wasn't the only talent in that iconic film.
7. Ferris Bueller's Day Off - Twist and Shout
This scene from Ferris Bueller's Day Off had countless young people upsetting their parents when they thought Matthew Broderick was the original singer of this Beatles hit. Oh, and the dancing is incredible.
Try it yourself: There's nothing wrong with doing the Twist to "Twist and Shout". There's also nothing wrong with doing a little Cha-Cha to it either.
8. Slumdog Millionaire - Jai Ho
We suggest utilizing this song, and dance routine, as a victory dance after your next promotion at work, or switch things up perform the dance routine in hopes of securing a promotion at work.
Try it yourself: You should absolutely try Bollywood dancing, but if you're looking for a quick and easy alternative - the Merengue is practical, rhythmical, and a perfect party substitute.
9. Starsky and Hutch - Disco Dance Battle
One can never have enough ammunition in the Disco Dance battle arsenal. Watch this for a full resupply.
Try it yourself: Conventional wisdom says to learn the Hustle, but if you want to stick it to someone in your next Disco Dance Battle, might we suggest taking a closer look at Ben Stiller's far out moves.
Sigh. Remember those days in the 80's when detention was unsupervised and the kids could dance together as a form of rebellion?
Try it yourself: If doing the "80's Rock Out" like Molly Ringwald isn't your thing, try swapping in a Tango or Swing instead.
11. Risky Business
Tom Cruise's career skyrocketed after dancing around in his underwear, while people stood by watching with their pants on. We should all reconsider our strategies.
Try it yourself: "Old Time Rock n Roll" is a heart pumping, soulful, Rock classic. Therefore, an East Coast, or West Coast Swing will fit like a pair of tighty whiteys.
12. Adams Family Tango
Learning the Tango is all about playing a character that you may not play in regular life. The Addams Family may be the exception.
13. Footloose - "Let's hear it for the boy"
Sure, the dance skills may be from the 80's, but this learning to dance montage captures the repetition and payoff of a process we call all relate to.
Try it yourself: A Cha-Cha would fit nicely between these classic 80's moves.
14. Blues Brothers - Shake a Tail Feather
As the Blues Brothers, John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd couldn't get any cooler, until you add Ray Charles and this epic dance sequence.
Try it yourself: The Swing is as versatile as the actors in this movie.
15. Funny Face - the Beatnik Dance
If there was ever a commercial for a "dance like no one is watching" campaign, we'd petition to have it as this beatnik dance by Audrey Hepburn.
Try it yourself: The next time you're out dancing and the music cuts out, or if you're out shopping and there is no music whatsoever, try these Hepburn moves. By the third one, they'll think you're creative. By the fifth one, people may wonder if you've over-medicated. One minute in and they'll think you've escaped from someplace.
16. 40 Year old Virgin - Aquarius
There are victory dances for accomplishments like touchdowns and promotions, but what kind of victory dance comes to mind when you score in the bedroom for the first time? We nominate this clip from the 40 Year Old Virgin.
Try it yourself: We suggest a fully committed interpretation of this dance using Seth Rogan and Paul Rudd as your muse.
17. Stepmom - Ain't No Mountain
Dance is a common refuge for all sorts of problems in the world. This scene from the movie Stepmom will make you smile, and want to join in.
Try it yourself: Two triple steps, one rock step, and you've got yourself the perfect recipe forEast Coast Swing to this Motown Classic.
18. Pretty in Pink - Try a Little Tenderness
Looking to impress your love interest? We suggest you take Jon Cryer's approach and "Try a little tenderness".
Try it yourself: This song is oozing with the soul of West Coast Swing.
19. Young Frankenstein - Puttin on the Ritz
As humans, we place a premium on the original versions of things. It's very difficult to remake a classic and have it receive any positive reviews. This song and dance from Young Frankenstein took the original, killed it, and brought it back to life as a tap dancing monster of a hit.
Try it yourself: An uptempo Foxtrot, Foxy, or Quickstep would all fit this all time classic parody. Top hats, canes, and a giant brought back to life using mad science are all optional add ons.
20. Stayin Alive - Airplane
Speaking of a new take on the original, nothing is sacred when it comes to Airplane movies. Including the untouchable John Travolta, Saturday Night Fever, and the disco era. The Zucker brothers took an "All of the Above" approach to the rouse in this hilarious dance sequence.
Try it yourself: We wouldn't recommend a shot for shot reenactment of this performance, from an insurance standpoint, but we would absolutely suggest learning the Hustle.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt knows how to stack the deck for female attention. From his good looks, to his diverse acting ability, the guy is on a roll. Having an impressive set of dance skills in this scene from 500 Days of Summer just makes it unfair. Guys, take note.
Try it yourself: Foxtrot fits, Swing fits, but if you're looking for something a little more unexpected, give the Country 2 Step a whirl with this Hall and Oates Classic.
22. Beetlejuice - Day-O
Don't be ashamed if your first introduction to this Harry Belafonte classic came in the form of a grotesque dinner party featuring the undead.
Try it yourself: This slow, infectious, latin groove can fit a variety of dances. Try out a little Bachatato get a little closer to your partner, or Bossonova if you're kickin it old school.
23. Napolean Dynamite - Canned Heat
This Napolean Dynamite scene is a great reminder that there are people you know, work with, or live near that secretly possess dance skills. It will also make you want to go back and download a couple singles from Jamiorquai.
24. The Band Wagon - Cyd Charisse and Fred Astaire
Not many dancers could keep up with Fred Astaire, but watch the first 15 seconds of this clip and you may find yourself marveling at the dance mastery of a certain Cyd Charisse. She's also a little better looking that Fred too.
Try it yourself: Astaire and Charisse use a wide variety of dances styles for this routine, but you may notice the triple step from East Coast Swing, and the tune itself, "The Girl Hunt Ballet" by Arthur Schwartz and Howard Dietz is a swingin' Foxtrot.
25. Breakin 2: Electric Boogaloo - On the Ceiling
We are all spoiled children of the digital graphics in cinema today. We can spot bad effects, wires, and any other devices meant to deliver believable magic. So, to see a movie over 30 years old that can deliver a "wow" moment, it definitely belongs on this list.
Try it yourself: Do not try this without breakdancing experience, ceiling or no ceiling.
26. Royal Wedding - Ceiling Dance
Take what we wrote about in #25, add Fred Astaire, 35 more years, and you have the Ceiling Dance from the Royal Wedding; no doubt the inspiration for Breakin 2. Which may be the first and last time those two movies were in the same sentence.
Try it yourself: We suggest a Quickstep. No camera tricks necessary.
27. Shall We Dance - Mr. Aoki's Rumba
Nothing against Richard Gere and Jennifer Lopez in Shall We Dance 2005, but Mr. Aoki steals the show and reminds us that we should always maximize our effort on the dance floor.
Try it yourself: Rumba, obviously... but to be more specific, International Rumba (hairpiece optional).
28. Titanic - Jack and Rose
This dance sequence can sometimes get lost in the majesty which is James Cameron's Titanic. This sequence showcases how a dance can bring people closer, and put a smile on their face in the process.
Try it yourself: Polka! Polka! Polka!
29. Swing Kids - Sing, Sing, Sing
Sing, Sing, Sing is the crown jewel of Swing music, and this sequence from Swing Kids gave people of all ages a glimpse at the joy of the Swing craze in the 40's.
Try it yourself: Lindy Hop. Lifts and drops aren't required, but Zoot Suits sure do make the dance feel like you've stepped out of a time machine.
30. Coming to America
Looking for a way to add some pizazz to your introduction at your birthday party, office party, or wedding? Can we suggest a shot for shot recreation of this iconic dance performance from Coming to America?
Try it yourself: If you wanted to go the authentic route, please share the video with us. If you wanted to go for something a bit more practical, we suggest Merengue.
31. The Full Monty
While there are plenty of great dance scenes from the Full Monty, this one seems to capture the essence of this article. In addition, we're sure that every reader can relate to public dance practice moments like this.
32. Grease - You're the One that I Want
It's not just a go-to Karaoke Classic, but the dancing in this movie matches the music in effort and execution. While John Travolta's cool points normally have a tendency to suck the spotlight like a Black Hole, Olivia Newton John keeps our attention divided, and in some cases, puts Mr. Travolta in the back seat.
Try it yourself: Swing is a safe bet for this one. Quickstep, if you want to go for something a little more challenging.
We are pretty sure there aren't many ladies out there who would want the men in their lives to dance the Tango, or look a little Antonio Banderas like in the process. Then again, we could be mistaken.
Try it yourself: Drop everything and set up some Tango lessons and consider it your first stage towards becoming the next Antonio Banderas.
34. Karate Kid 2 - The Swing Club
Somewhere between the Crane Kick, waxing on and off a bunch of classic cars, and a trip to Japan, Daniel finds his way to a Swing Club - and this gives the viewing public a first glimpse at Ralph Macchio's epic run on Dancing with the Stars.
Try it yourself: Whether you call it Swing, East Coast Swing, Single Time Swing, Triple Time Swing, or "those moves from Karate Kid 2", you can't go wrong with this all purpose fun dance.
The single greatest clip of Lindy Hop dancing by the single greatest Lindy Hop dance group, Whitey's Lindy Hoppers, which featured legendary Swing ambassador, Frankie Manning. They were the Harlem Globetrotters of Swing dancing, from Harlem, and this clip is still a popular conversation topic among the Swing community 65 years later.
Try it yourself: We recommend Lindy Hop... but at a slightly slower pace.
36. The Fisher King - Grand Central Station
If you've ever participated in a Flash Mob, then this scene should add something new to your bucket list. While the dancing is simple, the concept and scale makes this an incredible scene for dancers and movie goers alike.
Try it yourself: Waltz is the most elegant of all the ballroom dances, and probably the least likely dance you'll run into in a train station. That is, until you show up.
37. Dance With Me - the Salsa Club
38. Saturday Night Fever - More Than a Woman
You could make a case for 3/4 of this movie making the list, but here is one scene that could not be left out. Travolta shows a more subdued version of Hustle, which was slow enough to appreciate his rhythm, timing, and perfect hair.
39. Flash Dance
The next time you're rushing to make that deadline, mutli-tasking like a Cirque du Soleil fire juggler, and still finding time to look fabulous while you're doing it - this is your dance sequence. Leg warmers are optional.
40. West Side Story - Mambo
Every dance television show on TV opens with some type of group dance number, a formation. Watch this sequence and see for yourself if the shows of today may have taken some inspiration from this iconic scene from 50 years ago.
Try it yourself: This song is not a traditional sounding Mambo, and while we think Mambo and Salsa are both fantastic dances to learn, use this song only to pay tribute to this dance, and nothing else.
41. Swingers - Go Daddy O
When Jon Favreau and Heather Graham were filming their Swing scene in the 1996 Miramax pic, Swingers, they probably had no idea that the scene, and the movie, would help contribute to the 90's Swing Revival.
42. Stayin Alive - Opening
Travolta should have his own dance list article, but until that's finished, let's just appreciate this multi-talented dynamo. Not to mention a nod to Frank Stallone for this motivational, get you dancing down the street to vanquish your enemies, track "Far from Over".
Try it yourself: While a few Broadway audition leaps may seem more appropriate, you could dance a Tango or Swing to this Travolta classic.
43. Singin in the Rain - Gene Kelly
The sequence that turned rain and umbrellas into permanent dance props. Gene Kelly's masterful performance is untouchable. Try this with or without an umbrella, rain, music, or lamp posts.
Try it yourself: Foxtrot fits this song like Gene Kelly fits that overcoat and umbrella.
44. Scent of a Woman - Tango
Only Al Pacino, and his incredible delivery of a blind, and crotchety, war veteran could make blind, crotchety, war veteran Tango look so unbelievably inspirational.
45. Billy Elliot - Angry Dance
Whether you're trying to get your kids to take dance lessons, or not sure how to explain your dance hobby to your friends and family, take a look at this scene from Jamie Bell in the classic, Billy Elliot.
46. The King and I - Shall We Dance
It takes an awful lot to make the Polka look elegant and stately, but that isn't a problem with Yul Brynner and Deborah Kerr's dancing in the 1956 film "The King and I".
Try it yourself: Not only does this movie feature a sweeping Polka, but the movie also includes instructions on how to dance it. Not bad, even if you're not the King of Siam.
47. Saturday Night Fever - You Should Be Dancing
As easy as it would be to lump all of Travolta's dancing hits into one selection, this clip featuring the Bee Gee's megahit, "You Should Be Dancing" features some all time great Disco Dance moves.
Try it yourself: Some people prefer the limelight in the center of a lighted Disco floor, for the rest of us - dance the Hustle on the sidelines.
Imagine if every wedding reception looked like this Final Dance from the movie Footloose? Well, chances are, someone in the wedding party is somehow tied to Kevin Bacon.
Try it yourself: When you're not feathering your hair, or twisting in your tennis shoes, you can dance Country 2 Step to just about everything on the Footloose soundtrack. Thanks Kenny Loggins!
49. Strictly Ballroom - The Final Dance
Some would argue that in 1992 "Strictly Ballroom" paved the way for popular dance television shows and movies today. After watching this final dance it would be hard to disagree.
Try it yourself: Paso Doble! That dance that brings out a different, bullfighter side, in all of us. Ole!
50. Dirty Dancing - The time of My Life
Any list of famous dance scenes that leaves this one out of their top 5 is ridiculous. For all of the "don't put baby in the corner" humor, this sequence shows a level of performance that looks real, without the need for camera tricks and body doubles. It is the gold standard for dance movie scenes over the last 25 years.
Try it yourself: True story - most of the Mambo choreography in this routine is from the Arthur Murray Silver Mambo syllabus. Swayze even makes an Arthur Murray reference in the movie which makes every Arthur Murray student and teacher do their own little victory dance. You don't have to go the full lift, knee slide, stage jumping route to capture the essence of this classic. A Mambo or Salsa will do the trick, and where you seat Baby is completely your business.
We hope this list brightened your day in some way. Watching these dances can be inspiring, can give you goosebumps, or have your heart beating faster. Dancing to these dances will do all of those things and more. Don't take our word for it, just ask Billy Elliot.