The five best dance numbers of all time

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When I survey the landscape of the music industry today, so many passionate and visionary artists come into view. These are people who heard the murmur of the world uniquely, and somehow possessed the discipline and talent to channel it in a beautiful way. Some mark a significant turn of an era or revolution of thought. Most all found it as a refuge; a release for elation, confusion or heartbreak.

Music can also be a narration to everyday life. How much more enjoyable is driving in the car with a playlist or studying with a soundtrack? If there’s one thing that I especially love, it is to see music visually come to life in movements of sound and pattern. So for your consideration, I have compiled five of the best dance numbers OF ALL TIME.

1. Best Golden Oldie

Is it possible to be homesick for a time you’ve never known? It is now. An early production of MGM, the Broadway Melody of 1940 stars Fred Astaire and Eleanor Powell dancing on a mirror to “Begin the Beguine” by Cole Porter. I love the way they never touch each other, but are always perfectly in sync.

2. Best Broadway Musical

Choosing the best musical dance number is like killing your babies. Dancing is what musicals do! But the song “Mambo!” from West Side Story is one of my personal favorites: two rival gangs are forced to be at an event together, so naturally an amazing dance-off ensues. (1:03 to 2:12)

Editorial Note: When I first saw this I was 13 and very impressionable. It seized me that when I got to the high school homecoming dance, it may be like this. I asked my Grandpa to help me practice so I would be good enough. He did, but I wasn’t ready. (I’m still not.)

3. Best Hip Hop

No dance list could be complete without Michael Jackson. This performance includes some of his most legendary moves (1:36 to 2:15 and 6:28 to 7:20) and so many delightful thematic elements.

4. Best Classical

I think it’s so calming to watch ballet, all the movements are so clean, seamless and orderly. And this is one of the only Christmas songs I haven’t gotten tired of yet. When I was five I wanted to be the Sugar Plum Fairy, and my mom told me I probably wouldn’t be. She was probably right, but it’s okay to want things. Like, fairies. And dexterity.

(Highlight: 2:12 to 2:47)

5. Best Dance Scene from a Movie

What is most endearing about this scene to me is that it’s true to nature. Let’s face it, most of us can’t moonwalk or pirouette but when a great song comes on we can all move in our own way. (Especially after a few drinks.) Here is the Breakfast Club getting loose to “We Are Not Alone” by Karla DeVito.

 

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