Dance in film

This is a list of movies featuring recognizable dance forms, demonstrating them, shedding light on their origin, or being the base of a plot.

This article is not about Dance film or Dance for camera which are separate genres. It is also not about Musical films, although they often contain a significant amount of dancing. However, they are a specific form of art in itself, therefore their listings generally pertain to the articles specifically related to the topic of musicals. This by no means prevents musicals from being included here, but they are required to meet the outlined criteria. Fred Astaire's and Gene Kelly's filmographies may significantly contribute to these lists.

Films with plot based on dance


  • The Red Shoes (1948) - Film classic with dance editing far ahead of its time. Directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, starring Moira Shearer. Intricately weaving backstage life with the thrill of performance, this film centers on the dilemma of a young ballerina torn between the composer who loves her and the impresario determined to fashion her into a great dancer. 134 min, and based loosely on the fairytale.
  • The Tales of Hoffmann (1951) - Directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, starring Moira Shearer and Ludmilla Tchérina. Film version of Jacques Offenbach's opera but making full use of film techniques and special effects. Not just a film of a stage production.
  • An American in Paris (1951) - Oscar-winning musical based on George Gershwin's compositions starring Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron.
  • Suspiria (1977) - A legendary horror film directed by Italian Dario Argento where a new student at a dance academy/school for girls experiences strange goings on.
  • The Turning Point (1977) - The story of two women whose lives are dedicated to ballet. Deedee left her promising dance career to become a wife and mother and now runs a ballet school in Oklahoma. Emma stayed with a company and became a star though her time is nearly past. Both want what the other has and reflects back on missed chances as they are brought together again through Deedee's daughter who joins the company. Starring: Shirley MacLaine, Anne Bancroft, Tom Skerrit, Anthony Zerbe, Leslie Browne, Mikhail Baryshnikov and Alexandra Danilova.
  • White Nights (1985) - movie starring Mikhail Baryshnikov about a Russian dancer who wants to defect.
  • Dancers (1987) - movie starring Mikhail Baryshnikov about a ballet company.
  • Billy Elliot (2000)
  • Center Stage (2000) - movie about the students of the American Ballet Academy.
  • Save the Last Dance (2001) - movie starring Julia Stiles as a girl who wants to study as a professional dancer.
  • Dracula: Pages from a Virgin's Diary (2002) - A silent movie directed by Guy Maddin, a ballet interpretation of Dracula.
  • The Company (2003) - An inside look at the world of ballet. With the complete cooperation of the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago, Robert Altman follows the stories of the dancers, whose professional and personal lives grow impossibly close, as they cope with the demands of a life in the ballet. Neve Campbell plays a gifted but conflicted company member on the verge of becoming a principal dancer at a fictional Chicago troupe, with Malcolm McDowell playing the company's co-founder and artistic director, considered one of America's most exciting choreographers. James Franco plays Campbell's boyfriend and one of the few characters not involved in the world of dance.
  • Wishing Stairs (2003) - South Korean horror film set in an all-girls art school, in which two of the main characters are competing ballet students.
  • Flying Boys (2004) - South Korean film about a group of high school seniors who are reluctantly pressured into joining a ballet class.
  • Dancing with Time (2007) - Four dancers, nearing their eighties, take up the challenge of Heike Hennig to return to the stage in Leipzig's opera house.
  • Ballet Shoes (film) (2007) - Three adopted sisters, Pauline, Petrova and Posy Fossil where each has a different talent: acting, machinery and ballet.
  • Center Stage: Turn It Up (2008) - Kate Parker auditions for the American Ballet Academy but she doesn't get a place. She starts work in a trendy hip-hop club and teams up with a former hockey player as she continues to perfect her dance skills. This movie isn't really a sequel to 'Center Stage' [2000] as there's no continuation or development of the original film's storyline, although a couple of the characters (dance teachers played by Peter Gallagher and Ethan Stiefel) from the first movie reappear in this one.
  • Mao's Last Dancer (film) (2009) - Based on the autobiography of Chinese dancer Li Cunxin, this movie tells the story of his selection from an impoverished rural village to train at Madame Mao's Beijing Dance Academy. The film then follows Li as he travels to the US and is confronted with cultural differences (East/West; Communist/capitalist) and his desire to be true to his artistic soul. Directed by Bruce Beresford.
  • Dance Subaru! (2009)
  • Black Swan (film) (2010)
  • Tutu Much (2010) - Traces the stories of 9 young girls vying for a place in the prestigious Royal Winnipeg Ballet School. Follows each girl as she participates in a month-long summer intensive that serves as an audition for the school.
  • Dance Academy (2010)- Fifteen-year-old Tara Webster has grown up on a farm in country Australia and has dreamt of being a dancer ever since she was a little girl. When she makes it into the National Academy of Dance - the best school in the country - she is sure her life is about to be spectacular. What Tara doesn'trealise is how far behind she is in her training, and that there's a whole lot more to surviving the Academy than just dancing...
  • Bunheads (2012) After impulsively marrying a man, a Las Vegas showgirl winds up teaching ballet alongside her new mother-in-law in the small coastal town of Paradise, California.
  • First Position (2012) - Follow dancers training for the Youth America Grand Prix, one of the world's most prestigious ballet competitions. The stakes are high: their performances will determine the success or failure of the young dancers' dreams.


Hip Hop/Street


With the Whiteys Lindy Hoppers

Modern films


See also Tango (dance)#Tango in film


Films with memorable dance scenes

See also

Ananda Bhairavi (film)

Ananda Bhairavi is a 1983 bilingual film, simultaneously shot in Kannada and Telugu languages, directed by Jandhyala. It starred Girish Karnad, Malavika Sarkar, Rajesh Kumar and "Natyacharya" Bhagavathula Venkata Rama Sarma as a male classical dancer in this film. The film was premiered at International Film Festival of India. The film received very positive reviews and has garnered the Nandi Awards for Best Feature Film and Best direction.

Ballet Folklórico de México

Ballet Folklórico de México is a Mexican folkloric ensemble in Mexico City. For six decades it has presented dances in costumes that reflect the traditional culture of Mexico. The ensemble has appeared under the name Ballet Folklórico de México de Amalia Hernández.

Bhavana (Kannada actress)

Nandini Ramanna, better known by her stage name Bhavana Ramanna, is an Indian film actress who works predominantly in the Kannada film industry. A bharatanatyam dancer, she has received three Karnataka State Film Awards and acted in Shanti, a film that entered the Guinness Book of Records. Bhavana Ramanna is the director of HomeTown Productions, a production house that conducts dance and music shows. In the run-up to the 2014 general elections, Bhavana Ramanna was named one of the star campaigners for the Congress party in Karnataka, a role she had performed in the 2013 assembly elections in the state. Bhavana Ramanna is reported as being among the contenders for a nomination to the upper house (Vidhana parishad) of the Karnataka legislature in Karnataka, as an MLC.

Billy Elliot

Billy Elliot is a 2000 British dance drama film about a boy becoming a professional ballet dancer. It is set in North East England during the 1984–85 coal miners' strike. It was produced by Greg Brenman and Jon Finn, music composed by Stephen Warbeck, co-produced by BBC Films, Tiger Aspect Pictures and Working Title Films, distributed by Universal Pictures and Focus Features, written by Lee Hall and directed by Stephen Daldry.The film stars Jamie Bell as 11-year-old Billy, an aspiring dancer dealing with the negative stereotype of the male ballet dancer, Gary Lewis as his coal miner father, Jamie Draven as Billy's bullying older brother, and Julie Walters as his ballet teacher. The film was theatrically released on 29 September 2000 by Universal Pictures and Focus Features. It received positive reviews from critics and it earned £72,853,509 on a £3 million budget. In 2001, author Melvin Burgess was commissioned to write the novelisation of the film based on Lee Hall's screenplay. The story was adapted for the West End stage as Billy Elliot the Musical in 2005; it opened in Australia in 2007 and on Broadway in 2008.

Claudia Rosiny

Claudia Rosiny (born February 15, 1960 in Bad Godesberg) is a German-Swiss academic in Dance and Media studies, a festival director and cultural manager. She became internationally known as an expert on video dance. Having served as a co-director of the Berne Dance Days (Berner Tanztage) for many years, she teaches at the University of Bern and at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts and is in charge of Dance and Theatre at the Federal Office for Culture, Berne.

Competitive dance

Competitive dance is a popular, widespread sport in which competitors perform dances in any of several permitted dance styles—such as ballroom, open, acro, ballet, contemporary, jazz, hip-hop, lyrical, modern, musical theatre, and tap—before a common group of judges. This is in contrast with other activities that involve competition among dancers based on purpose, or specific dance style, such as pom squad and dancesport.

The competitive dance industry largely consists of competition production companies—also sometimes called dance competition companies and dance competition lines—that conduct regional competitions at stops along their annual, nationwide tours. Dancers who compete at these regional competitions are students ranging in age from approximately four to eighteen years old. Dance schools (often referred to as dance studios) arrange for their classes to compete as groups. Advanced dancers may be chosen to compete solos, duets, trios, or in a small group dance in addition to or in place of large group routines. Competitions typically begin in January and end in July or August.

Competitive dancers must be physically fit because even short dances can be physically demanding. Dancers must continuously train to maintain and improve their technique, balance skills, strength and flexibility. Except for holidays and short breaks during the summer, competitive dancing is typically a year-round activity: dancers attend classes during competition season, to refine their competitive routines, and during off-season to prepare for the next upcoming competition season. Some dancers attend dance intensives during the summer to improve technique. These intensives normally last a few weeks and happen in various locations across the world.

Dance film

A dance film is a film in which dance is used to reveal the central themes of the film, whether these themes be connected to narrative or story, states of being, or more experimental and formal concerns. In such films, the creation of choreography typically exists only in film or video. At its best, dance films use filming and editing techniques to create twists in the plotline, multiple layers of reality, and emotional or psychological depth.

Dance film is also known as the cinematic interpretation of existing dance works, originally created for live performance. When existing dance works are modified for the purposes of filming this can involve a wide variety of film techniques. Depending on the amount of choreographic and/or presentational adjustment an original work is subjected to, the filmed version may be considered as dance for camera. However, these definitions are not agreed upon by those working with dance and film or video.

Index of dance articles

This is an alphabetical index of articles related to dance.

Kambhoji (film)

Kamboji is a 2017 Indian Malayalam-language musical thriller film written and directed by Vinod Mankara. The film stars Vineeth and Lakshmi Gopalaswamy in the lead roles, and Sona Nair and Rachana Narayanankutty in supporting roles. The film's score and soundtrack was composed by M. Jayachandran.The story is based on a true incident that took place in Malabar regions in the 1970s. In a small village in Palakkad district of Kerala, Kunjunni (Vineeth), a Kathakali artiste and Uma Antharjanam (Lakshmi), a Mohiniyattam dancer unites and their passion towards their art blossoms into love, but a tragedy strikes in the form of a murder. Principal photography was held in Varikkassery Mana in Palakkad. Kamboji received five Kerala State Film Awards.

Lap dance

A lap dance (or contact dance) is a type of erotic dance performance offered in some strip clubs in which the dancer typically has body contact with a seated patron. Lap dancing is different from table dancing, in which the dancer is close to a seated patron, but without body contact. With lap dancing, the dancer may be nude, topless or scantily dressed, depending on the laws of the jurisdiction and the club's policies. With full-contact lap dances, the stripper may engage in non-penetrative sexual contact with the patron, such as "grinding" his or her body against the patron. Variant terms include couch dance, which is a lap dance where the customer is seated on a couch. In some places, a "block session" of lap dances (usually a half an hour to an hour) can be booked in a "champagne room", which is a private room usually located in the back of a club. In many clubs, the duration of a lap dance is measured by the length of the song being played by the club's DJ. Charges for lap dances vary significantly.

Depending on the local jurisdiction and community standards, lap dances can involve touching of the dancer by the patron, touching the patron by the dancer, neither, or both. In some clubs, any touching by the patron is forbidden. On the other hand, absent any oversight by the club, various levels of contact may be negotiable between the participants. Clubs vary widely with regard to whether they enforce their rules or turn a blind eye to any violations.

There is some debate as to whether lap dancing is entertainment or a type of sex work. Critics of lap dancing allege that some club owners, by installing dark private booths and charging dancers steep stage fees, are covertly condoning and encouraging the sale of sexual acts between customers and dancers. This can be a concern if, as for instance in the United Kingdom, the club has a public entertainment licence rather than a sex establishment licence, and in jurisdictions where brothels are illegal. According to the UK paper The Guardian, "Research shows that the majority of women become lap-dancers through poverty and lack of choice."

List of ethnic, regional, and folk dances by origin

This is a list of dances grouped by ethnicity, country, or region. These dances should also be listed on the general, noncategorized index list of specific dances.

Lists of films

This is an index of lists of films.

Michael Kidd

Michael Kidd (August 12, 1915 – December 23, 2007) was an American film and stage choreographer, dancer and actor, whose career spanned five decades, and staged some of the leading Broadway and film musicals of the 1940s and 1950s. Kidd, who was strongly influenced by Charlie Chaplin and Léonide Massine, was an innovator in what came to be known as the "integrated musical", in which dance movements are integral to the plot.

He was probably best known for his athletic dance numbers in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, a 1954 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer musical, and for choreographing Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse in the "Girl Hunt Ballet" and "Dancing in the Dark" numbers in the 1953 musical film The Band Wagon. Film critic Stephanie Zacharek called the barn-raising sequence in Seven Brides "one of the most rousing dance numbers ever put on screen". He was the first choreographer to win five Tony Awards, and was awarded an honorary Academy Award in 1996 for advancing dance in film.

Mura Dehn

Mura Ziperovitch Dehn (1905–1987) documented African-American social jazz dancing at the Savoy Ballroom in New York in the 1930s and 1940s, a time that she referred to as the "Golden Age of Jazz." She also worked as a producer and documenter up until her death, and was co-artistic director of Traditional Jazz Dance Theater, along with vaudeville performer James Berry.

Dehn was raised in Russia where she was schooled in ballet and modern dance by Ellen Tels, a student of Isadora Duncan. She realized early on that dance would be her passion in life. During her training she was exposed to many styles of dance, including jazz. However, she did not become interested in the style of jazz dance until later.

In 1925 Dehn ventured to Paris in hopes of furthering her dance career. There, she saw Josephine Baker perform. At that time in Paris, Baker was regarded as one of the best jazz dancers in the country, and was extremely popular. Mura Dehn then realized that she was very attracted to jazz dance. She instantly became a fan and decided to take up jazz dance to see where it would lead her.

By 1930 Mura Dehn had immigrated to New York City with her husband Adolf Dehn, an American painter and lithographer she had met in Paris. The Dehns divorced, but remained friendly. One night in New York Dehn stumbled across the Savoy Ballroom. Inside, she witnessed dancing that was completely foreign to her and she loved it. She took it upon herself to somehow document what she saw for later generations. The best way that she could think of was to put it on film.

This process was a long and hard one that took many, many years but she believed it had to be done. She also believed that African-Americans, through authentic jazz dancers, changed the way the world experienced rhythm and viewed the dancing body. In the end she created two films: The Spirit Moves and In A Jazz Way.

The Spirit Moves: A History of Black Social Dance on Film, 1900-1986 is her five-hour documentary about the evolution of black dance in urban America in the early 1900s-to the mid-Eighties. The film is a unique visual record of vernacular jazz dancing that celebrated the heritage of movement that shaped the way we dance, on and off stage.

In a Jazz Way: A Portrait of Mura Dehn" is a short biographical film created about Mura Dehn, including some of her work with the Savoy Ballroom dancers as well as with hip-hop artists in the 1980s.

Musical short

The musical short (a.k.a. musical short film, a.k.a. musical featurette) can be traced back to the earliest days of sound films.

Performers in the Lee De Forest Phonofilms of 1923-24 included Eddie Cantor, George Jessel, Abbie Mitchell ("The Colored Prima Donna") and comic singer-dancer Molly Picon, plus the team of Noble Sissel and Eubie Blake. The husband-and-wife vaudeville team of Eva Puck and Sammy White (billed as Puck and White) starred in the Phonofilm Opera vs. Jazz (1923). Max Fleischer used the Phonofilm process in 1924 when he introduced his animated Song Car-Tunes series.

National Film Award for Best Choreography

The National Film Award for Best Choreography is one of the National Film Awards presented annually by the Directorate of Film Festivals, the organisation set up by Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, India. It is one of several awards presented for feature films and awarded with Rajat Kamal (Silver Lotus).

The award was instituted in 1991 at 39th National Film Awards but awarded first time at 40th National Film Awards and then awarded annually for films produced in the year across the country, in all Indian languages. The choreographer who has won most number of Rajat Kamal (Silver Lotus) for Best Choreography is Saroj Khan with 3 wins followed by Prabhu Deva and Ganesh Acharya with two wins.

Outline of dance

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to dance:

Dance – human movement either used as a form of expression or presented in a social, spiritual or performance setting. Choreography is the art of making dances, and the person who does this is called a choreographer. Definitions of what constitutes dance are dependent on social, cultural, aesthetic, artistic and moral constraints and range from functional movement (such as Folk dance) to codified, virtuoso techniques such as ballet. A great many dances and dance styles are performed to dance music.

Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Choreographer

The Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Cinematographer is given by the state government as part of its annual Tamil Nadu State Film Awards for Tamil (Kollywood) films.

Zee Cine Award for Best Choreography

The Zee Cine Award for Best Choreography Award is chosen by the jury and the winner is announced at the ceremony.

Social context
Major present-day genres
Regional traditions
By style
By theme
By movement
or period
By demographic groups
By format,
or production

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