10 famous movie dance finales, ranked

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Every dance movie has its dance. Sometimes, those scenes are worth the other hour and twenty-five minutes of footage…and sometimes they're not. We rewatched some of the most notable dance scenes in cinematic history to see if they stand the test of time. Spoiler: pretty much nah. Check out these dance scenes from yesteryear, and judge them with us:

Footloose, 1984

Just a theory, but what if the old people in town didn't want the young people dancing because they were bad at it? I mean, this is what they were fighting for? Confetti and a stylized game of "Red Rover?" *groan*

Grade: F

Save the Last Dance, 2001

Save the Last Dance reminds us we hadn't seen Julia Stiles much before she popped up recently on The Mindy Project. The teen movie genre was great for Stiles, but the fact that Sean Patrick Thomas had to pretend to be super into this sequence for even a single take is such a tragedy. She lost us at the bizarre hop and half-hearted moonwalk.


Grade: D-

Center Stage, 2000

Bold move hiring real-life dancers for acting roles in this guilty pleasure of a New York ballet company drama. The performance at the end is somewhat technically difficult, although it doesn't convince viewers that Jody was a good enough dancer to make it in the New York City Ballet as opposed to off-brand jagoff ballet company she ends up joining instead.


Grade: C

Stomp the Yard, 2007

Okay, is Stomp the Yard a sequel to Drumline? Because this is the exact same movie except instead of drumming they're stepping. The extreme chord change when dude slides on his head towards the opposing team is pretty absurd, and you kind of have to be totally invested in the film as this scene absolutely doesn't stand alone (see Flashdance above). Eight years later, this scene does feel a little dated thanks to stepping and strolling routines made popular on Vine. Womp womp.

Grade: C+

Honey, 2003

In Honey, Jessica Alba is a dance teacher who helps some kids raise money for a dance studio by getting them in music videos. Sean Patrick Thomas must have made quite a mark, because there are three videos on this list that feature a cut to a mostly bald black guy feeling the choreography more than he should. They're kids, so we'll just say it was a great effort and move on…


Grade: B-

Step Up, 2006

It feels wrong saying anything nice about this scene because this woman is working hard in a short dress and heels while Channing Tatum is just phoning it in with sneakers and a damn wifebeater BUT WE DIGRESS. The dance is really great and impressive; the lighting and the songs are lame.


Grade: B+

Slumdog Millionaire, 2008


The video is completely unavailable online, but that doesn't make it any less memorable. The choreography to "Jai Ho" at the end of  eight-time Academy Award Winning film Slumdog Millionaire was really fun. It might be a little silly looking back at it, but the point was not to be ridiculously impressive due to technique, it was just meant to be a good time, and it was. It really really was.

Grade: A-

Dirty Dancing, 1987

This scene will forever be the most overused wedding dance ever, but it's actually pretty solid. There are a lot of twisty hip motions and fancy footwork that continue to wow almost 30 years later. Still not sure how jumping in the air and being caught is a "dance move," but that's neither here nor there.  Swayze, RIP.


Grade: A

Napoleon Dynamite, 2004


While not technically difficult — almost anyone can do it — this is probably the most enjoyable dance scene from any movie ever. No. Contest.

Grade: A+


Flashdance, 1983



Grade: A++

Akilah Hughes is a comedian, YouTuber, and staff writer and producer for Fusion's culture section. You can almost always find her waxing poetic about memes and using too many emojis. 🍕