In Defense Of: Dance Movies

| Cadenza Movie Editor

When I profess my love for dance movies, at least one person usually gives me the “Are you serious?” side-eye glance. Normally, I just shrink back into my chair and pretend that I never said anything, but no more. These movies—like “Step Up,” “You Got Served” and my favorite, “Honey”—are ridiculously entertaining and deserve the artistic respect that they are so often denied.

First, I have to admit that the plotlines of these movies leave something to be desired. The dance movies are the pinnacle of the underdog story line. At least one dancer is ridiculously talented, but isn’t getting the respect he deserves. The dancer then works his or her way up, eventually achieving whatever goal for which he was striving. Yes, this story line might be cheesy or overused, but it is certainly inspirational and engaging. No matter how many movies have this same exact plot, people will watch and enjoy them. I will always be one of those people.

One of my favorite parts of these dance movies is the music. Usually comprised of hip-swaying, booty-shaking hip-hop/R&B songs (with one or two ballads for good measure), the soundtracks to these movies are top-notch. Just as they get the protagonists up and dancing, they will be certain to force you out of your chair and onto the dance floor. The “Step Up 2: The Streets” soundtrack alone featured Flo Rida’s No. 1 single “Low” and two Missy Elliott rump-shakers, “Ching-a-Ling” and “Shake Your Pom Pom.” Its predecessor housed Ciara’s hit “Get Up,” along with club-bangers from Yung Joc, Petey Pablo and Kelis. In truth, these soundtracks (namely “Step Up” and “Honey”) are my favorite soundtracks ever; I like to move.

The dancing stars who grace the screens of these movies also never disappoint. “Honey,” for example, stars Jessica Alba as the eponymous character who tries to cement herself in the hip-hop music video world as a dancer and choreographer. Let’s face it: Alba is hot. She has topped numerous lists proclaiming just that, and “Honey” was her first big role. Without it, who knows where she’d be. The same film also stars Mekhi Phifer from “8 Mile,” Lil’ Romeo, Joy Bryant and Missy Elliott, all of whom only improve the film. Similarly, “Step Up” launched the career of eye-candy Channing Tatum, who is now a bona fide film star, having half-carried the new movie “Dear John.”

Of course, the most important part of the dance movie is the dancing. That is, in fact, the point. Without the dancing, there would really be no point—I admit that. I would have no interest in any of these movies without the promise of some killer dance moves. With each choreographed routine, my heart skips a beat. Every time a dancer does a flip in the air, my soul does one to match. The dances are exhilarating, explosive and extreme. Talented (and attractive) dancers dance awesomely choreographed routines to high-energy hip-hop songs. If that’s not enough to entertain you, then I don’t know what is.

“Honey” and “Step Up” are just two in a series of entertaining, heartening, groove-inducing dance films. They star hot actors, hot music and hot moves, but most of all, they inspire. The stories themselves inspire as the underdogs climb their way up the professional ladder, while the dances inspire in other ways. After each movie, I wish for nothing more than the ability to dance just like Channing Tatum or Lil’ Romeo. While I have never actually followed up on those feelings, I will always be inspired nonetheless. It’s this inspiration that really propels these movies to the top and makes them the quality movies that they are.