I started dancing as a kid because of Gene Kelly and Donald O'Connor in Singin' In The Rain, and haven't looked back since. I'm continually fascinated by the ways in which dance is filmed and what dance on film might say about the state of the state of both arts.
What do the films of 2013 have to say about dance? Not much but definitely that we dance to have fun, especially at parties! Dancing gifs and best moments after the jump
Whether trashy (Spring Breakers) or classy (The Great Gatsby) or somewhere in between (The Bling Ring, American Hustle), when movie characters wanted to have fun together, they danced.
There were also, of course, some... interesting... solo moves. Take the awkward white boy in The Way Way Back or Jennifer Lawrence's angry, bored housewife in American Hustle.
To be honest, I wasn't too thrilled about most of the dancing in the movies this year. The annual trashy dance flick (Battle of the Year, basically Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo for the "So You Think You Can Dance" generation) looked unbearably awful from the trailers, despite the awesome-looking b-boying. Not that I would have seen it anyway, as I wouldn't be caught dead paying to see a film starring Chris Brown. However, there was enough enjoyment to be had that I was able to compile a short list ('tis the season):
Top Three 2013 Cinematic Dance Moments
3. I don't think there was another scene this year that made me laugh as hard in the theater as this scene from The Heat. I want to get drunk with Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock and then dance to "Groove is in the Heart" nightly, don't you?
2. It didn't last very long, but amidst all the raucous partying and chest-pumping of Leonardo DiCaprio's Wolf of Wall Street, this wedding reception moment was an oasis of actual fun.
1. The only actual full dance performance I caught on film in 2013, and by far the best, was in Noah Baumbach's glorious Frances Ha. I was a bit nervous when I heard that Frances was a modern dancer, especially since I wasn't aware that Greta Gerwig had a dance background (she discussed her love of dancing with Nathaniel recently). Even during the film I was nervous that somewhere along the way we would see a performance by the dance company Frances apprentices for, and that it would be the sort of deadly serious dreck that has become a clichéd idea of what "modern dance" is.
But thankfully, when Frances finally [slight spoiler alert] gets her act together and choreographs a piece on her own, it's actually quite lovely (just like the film itself). It's also the most accurate representation of a modern dance concert I've seen in an American film. Frances's solo dancing moments throughout the film are also inspiring - you get the feeling that Frances is most comfortable, and most herself, when she's dancing. That's a feeling that dancers know all too well, and something that's worth celebrating in any year.