As I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, I’ve always loved to dance. Before I embraced the movies, my life was about dancing. I was going to be Prima Ballerina and my mom paid for several years of ballet class to help me reach that goal. I obsessed on it the way that I obsess, today, on Lucio Fulci and Jean Rollin. However, my brilliant career was cut short by two things — 1) I’m about as graceful as a Clydesdale and 2) I ended up tumbling down a flight of stairs when I was 17 and essentially shattering my ankle. Actually, I guess those two things might be connected. Anyway, I can’t complain because giving up my affected love of ballet allowed me to discover my very true love of film. I was never really a great dancer (though I was, and am, very enthusiastic) but I’m very good at watching movies.
However, I still love to dance and I still love movies — even mainstream movies — that feature dancing. That’s why I’m so looking forward to seeing Black Swan next month. Until then, here’s 6 of my favorite dance scenes from the movies.
1) Giovanni Lombardo Radice and Lorraine De Selle in The House On The Edge of the Park
Let’s start off with one of my favorite “dance” scenes of all time, my man Giovanni Lombardo Radice and Lorraine De Selle breaking it down in Ruggero Deodato’s The House On The Edge of the Park. The man in yellow is David Hess.
2) Joseph Gordon-Levitt in (500) Days of Summer
If anyone’s ever wondered why I was crushing on Joseph Gordon-Levitt in Inception (as opposed to Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, or Leonardo DiCaprio), it was largely because of this scene from (500) Days Of Summer.
3) The Cast of Murder Rock
Murder Rock is kinda sorta like my own personal Holy Grail — it’s a grindhouse dance movie directed by Lucio Fulci! Plus, it costars Christian Borremeo, who co-starred in The House on the Edge Of The Park and Dario Argento’s Tenebrae.
4) The Metropolis Dance Sequence
From Fritz Lang’s silent, expressionistic classic, here’s the infamous dance.
5) Kate Hudson in Nine
Okay, so I think Nine was definitely the worst the movie of 2009. Yes, even worse than Avatar. However, I love this scene and I love the song featured in it, Cinema Italiano. Yes, technically, it’s a really terrible song that displays an astounding ignorance of Italian cinema. If anything, the lyrics appear to be describing the French New Wave. True, the song do make reference to “neo-realism” but you get the feeling no one involved with Nine ever saw Open City or The Bicycle Thief. But the thing is do damn catchy that I still find myself singing it in the shower. Like me, Kate Hudson is obviously not much of a singer or a dancer but she’s very enthusiastic.
6) Jill Clayburgh in An Unmarried Woman
An Unmarried Woman was apparently very groundbreaking in 1978. Seen now, it seems like a better title for it would be An Unmarried Woman Who Can Still Afford A Penthouse Apartment In New York City. Still, the late, great Jill Clayburgh’s performance holds up well and I like the film if just because it’s still one of the few movies out there that’s willing to acknowledge that an unmarried woman can still be a sensual, happy woman. The scene below captures perfectly the exhilarating joy of just surrendering to the music and dancing. Plus, for me, this is one of those “Hey, I do that too!” scenes. In fact, my ankle is still hurting as a result of rewatching this film last Friday.