The Best Dance Scenes In Film According To A Ballerina

Photo by Joe Lederer – © 2004 Revolution Studios. All rights reserved. imdb.com

Fifth Wall Fest founder and Ballet Philippines’ soloist Madge Reyes shares her favorites.

Dance scenes have the ability to live in cinema infamy. Dirty Dancing‘s iconic lift has been a go-to move since the movie came out in 1987. Jennifer Garner and Mark Ruffalo’s love story in13 Going On 30 is canon, but their “Thriller” performance likely rekindled that romance. There’s something about dancing in movies that pushes the narrative forward while leaving a visceral imprint on audiences. Music pulls the soul, while movement articulates emotions far better than simple dialogue.

In the Philippines, one group celebrates these choreographed sequences in film. The first and only film festival in the country dedicated to dance, FIFTH WALL FEST is a ten-day annual event featuring over fifty carefully-curated dance movies from all over the world. Launched in 2020, the third edition will premiere this October. Madge Reyes, the group’s founder and former Ballet Philippines soloist, is a big advocate of dance on and off the stage—and a big movie buff herself. Reyes takes us on a rundown of her five favorite dance sequences in modern film. Explore her picks below.

Anima, 2019

“Paul Thomas Anderson and Thom Yorke collaborate to visualize this hauntingly beautiful dream—one that you almost never want to wake up from. I can’t describe how painfully human this film made me feel when I first saw it.”

Climax, 2018 

“A drug trip gone really, really bad. The film opens with a delicious 10-minute-long dance scene (which is all one continuous shot) that makes you want to jump right in and be part of the chaos.”

Center Stage, 2000

“Also known as the best dance movie ever made, [Center Stage follows] a group of young ballet students that train to get into a prestigious dance company. What I’d give to be in that jazz class, dancing that final combination.”

Another Round, 2020

“Mads Mikkelsen in the finale of [Another Round was] such a liberating moment to witness. I love Mads even more after discovering he is a professionally trained dancer and gymnast.”

White Chicks, 2004

“The “It’s Tricky” Dance-off in White Chicks. ‘So you wanna talk about mothers?'”

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