Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Watch: First Trailer For Oliver Stone’s ‘Snowden’ Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Shailene Woodley & Nicolas Cage Watch: First Trailer For Oliver Stone’s ‘Snowden’ Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Shailene Woodley & Nicolas Cage 'Thor: The Dark World' Director Alan Taylor Says His Marvel Experience Was "Particularly Wrenching" 'Thor: The Dark World' Director Alan Taylor Says His Marvel Experience Was "Particularly Wrenching" Watch: Anna Paquin Is Rescued In Clip From 'X-Men: Days of Future Past - The Rogue Cut' Watch: Anna Paquin Is Rescued In Clip From 'X-Men: Days of Future Past - The Rogue Cut' Kevin Feige Says 'Spider-Man 2' Is "One Of The Best Superhero Movies Ever," Talks John Hughes Influence On New Spidey Kevin Feige Says 'Spider-Man 2' Is "One Of The Best Superhero Movies Ever," Talks John Hughes Influence On New Spidey Watch: Live Your Ultimate Fantasy With The First NSFW Trailer For Gaspar Noe's 'Love' Watch: Live Your Ultimate Fantasy With The First NSFW Trailer For Gaspar Noe's 'Love' Review & Recap: ‘True Detective’ Season 2, Episode 2, ‘Night Finds You’ Review & Recap: ‘True Detective’ Season 2, Episode 2, ‘Night Finds You’ Terrence Malick’s ‘Knight Of Cups’ Won’t Arrive Until 2016, Austin Music Scene Drama Not Titled ‘Weightless’ Terrence Malick’s ‘Knight Of Cups’ Won’t Arrive Until 2016, Austin Music Scene Drama Not Titled ‘Weightless’ The Punisher Will Reportedly Appear As The Villain In ‘Daredevil’ Season 2 The Punisher Will Reportedly Appear As The Villain In ‘Daredevil’ Season 2 'Lucy 2' And 'Colombiana 2' Are In Development 'Lucy 2' And 'Colombiana 2' Are In Development Mixed Reactions For Marvel's 'Ant-Man' After First Press Screening Plus New Promos And Pics Mixed Reactions For Marvel's 'Ant-Man' After First Press Screening Plus New Promos And Pics The Essentials: The 5 Best Rachel McAdams Performances The Essentials: The 5 Best Rachel McAdams Performances Watch: Tom Hardy Does Double Duty In Trailer For Gangster Drama 'Legend' Watch: Tom Hardy Does Double Duty In Trailer For Gangster Drama 'Legend' The 25 Best TV Shows Of The 2014/2015 Season The 25 Best TV Shows Of The 2014/2015 Season Kevin Feige Says 'Spider-Man' Is "Definitely A Sony Picture," Talks Role Of 'Ant-Man' In Phase 3, More Kevin Feige Says 'Spider-Man' Is "Definitely A Sony Picture," Talks Role Of 'Ant-Man' In Phase 3, More The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far The 10 All-Time Best Episodes Of 'Parks And Recreation' The 10 All-Time Best Episodes Of 'Parks And Recreation' The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More

25 Iconic Dance Sequences In Film

The Playlist By The Playlist Staff | The Playlist December 3, 2010 at 6:05AM

Darren Aronofsky's "Black Swan" hits theaters today, and it's easily one of the very best films of the year, and seemingly a culmination of everything that the director's been working towards for years. It's also a rarity, in that it's a serious film about dance -- in this case ballet.
10

"The Blind Swordsman: Zatoichi" (2003)
Music plays a pivotal role in Takeshi Kitano’s work, as he’s known for teaming with classical composer Joe Hisaishi. But when he took on “The Blind Swordsman: Zatoichi,” he went in a different direction, employing Keiichi Suzuki for possibly his most musical picture yet. “Zatoichi” is a film alive with the rhythms and staccato beats of abbreviated sword fights intermingled with more mundane accouterments like the click-clack of sandals against brick, or the abrasive slam of hammer against wood. This is most prominent in the film’s joyous tap-dance sequence, ending the film riotously and bringing our characters full circle. In their heavily-choreographed soft-shoe number, all those wronged by the tragedy of the story are freed to embrace their inner-Astaire, a wonderful example of Kitano’s oft-ignored warmth and sense of community in his body of work.

"Singin' In The Rain" (1952)
Is Gene Kelly the perfect human? The fact that the man tap danced on roller skates and with an animated mouse strongly indicate that he was. "Singin' in the Rain" is by far his most beloved work, and for good reason too. The technicality and precision combined with the pure joyfulness and sense of fun expressed by of Kelly, Debbie Reynolds and Donald O'Connor is so infectious, we just don't mind when the movie stops for an extended routine. All the numbers move along at such a clip, and are so packed full of stunts and tricks to make you gasp. Even the simple sentiment expressed in "Good Morning" is punctuated with a stunning tap routine by the trio. We love Mr. Kelly for his amazing feats of dance, but the iconic 'Singing in the Rain" is his most memorable number because it is so heartfelt, silly, and fun. No one does a lovesick soft-shoe like him. And you have to give it up for Donald O'Connor-- when paired with the force that is Gene Kelly, he just about steals the whole damn show. "Make 'Em Laugh" is his chance to showcase his talents with this body-punishing feat of virtuosic physical comedy, which happens so fast you can barely take it all in.

"Happy Together" (1997)
What better way to fix a destructive, shitty relationship than to make a trip to Argentina? It's all for naught in Wong Kar-wai's 1997 relationship film, which nabbed him a Best Director award at Cannes. Leslie Cheung and Kar-wai regular Tony Leung play a couple that follow a cyclical pattern of argument, maltreatment, break-up, and reconciliation throughout the movie, despite knowing the futility of their bond. While the film doesn't shy away from showing their destructiveness towards one another (Leslie's character takes his new boyfriends to Tony's place of work constantly, etc.), the subtler dancing scenes, which serve as a greater metaphor for the pair, creep into the consciousness and leave an uncomfortable impact well after the last credit rolls by. Here, a pissed-off Cheung orders his partner to practice the steps by himself, with Leung proceeding to follow instructions, devoid of emotion, hoping only to please his love. It says a million, most importantly that their romantic connection isn't black and white, and the director shows the complexity of emotions that make up their being. He does it so finely that, much like them, we know it's a bad idea for them to be together but are fooled into thinking it might be worth all of the pain.

This article is related to: Films, Feature, Black Swan


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates