"You Got Served" (2004)
No Dance Feature would be complete without the inclusion of the hugely influential 2004 film, "You Got Served," the Godfather of the wildly popular 2000s genre, the Dance Battle Film. Where would our culture be without "You Got Served"? Would we even have "Step Up 2: The Streets"? "Stomp The Yard?" "Planet B-Boy?" "America's Best Dance Crew?" "So You Think You Can Dance?" "Dancing with the Stars?" Justin Bieber's Swagger Coach?! Would the world love dance as much as they do now? Perish the thought. From the opening seconds of the film, "You Got Served" introduced the world to our newest favorite pastime, the dance battle, and defined those parameters on their own terms. Pounding bass, acrobatics, gender play, mockery, humor, high stakes intensity, and moves that are both gritty and rough but finessed with expertise. And don't forget the most important ingredient: swagger for days. Sure, there are better dance battles on film-- showier, in 3D, with more crazy acrobatics-- David LaChappelle truly captured the essence of krumping on celluloid in "Rize", and the Ichigeki crew of Japan demonstrated the most emotionally-moving, samurai-like intensity in their breakdancing in "Planet B-Boy," but "You Got Served' showed us how the game is played, and reminded us that it's cool for guys to dance. Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly are smiling down on you, boys.
Honorable Mentions: One of the biggest absences here is probably the finale of "42nd Street," one of the earliest, and still arguably one of the best movie musicals, and one of Busby Berkeley's best pieces of work. "West Side Story" and "Mary Poppins" are both classic musicals stacked full of great dance scenes (the picks would probably be "America" in the former and "Step In Time" in the latter.)
Baz Luhrmann's a pretty great exponent of the art-form, with the tango to "Roxanne" in "Moulin Rouge" being a highlight of that one, although our personal pick would probably be the final dance in "Strictly Ballroom." Stephen Daldry's "Billy Elliot" is another somewhat obvious one, particularly with the dance to The Jam's "A Town Called Malice," while "The Breakfast Club" features a particularly iconic dance.
More recently, both "Slumdog Millionaire" and "(500) Days of Summer" had memorable dance scenes, although perhaps our favorite in recent years came in the charming end to "Fantastic Mr. Fox," as the stop-motion woodland creatures bust a move to The Bobby Fuller Four's "Let Her Dance." There's countless others we didn't get to -- what are your favorites?
BTW, for more awesome musical moment pics, not necessarily dance sequences but definitely some involved, check out "Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World" director Edgar Wright's "Top Ten Favorite Musicals (& Five Rock 'N' Roll Movies)," a feature he wrote for us himself earlier this year.
-- Drew Taylor, Gabe Toro, Katie Walsh, Oli Lyttelton, Rodrigo Perez, Christopher Bell, Erik McClanahan, Jessica Kiang, Kevin Jagernauth