Programmed by Nora Gonzalez
Dance and film are, at their cores, both concerned with movement and rhythm. This makes film the perfect medium to both showcase the art of dancing and to use it as a plot device. Cinematic dance inhabits its own unique world, by engaging with the physical and spatial elements of dance as well as the visual abilities of film, to create a new medium.
As a sub-genre, dance films are particularly compelling not only because of the choreography, but also because of their ability to tackle and engage with issues like sexuality, race, gender, and power. Perhaps that is why as long as movies have been around, so have dance movies. Starting with earlier examples of dance films from the 40s and 50s, like Singin' in the Rain and The Red Shoes, up until the end of the century, with classics like Dirty Dancing and Strictly Ballroom, this series showcases the diversity in not only dance styles but also the genre of dance films from the 20th century. Some plots are centered around a dancer's ultimate dilemma--to pursue dance or love--like The Red Shoes. Others engage more deeply with the actual form itself and the world it inhabits, like Beat Street, which highlights breakdancing in the Bronx among teenagers.
Ultimately, what unites all of these films is a love of dancing among the principal characters, whether as a passion, a way to express emotions, or even competition. There's something to be said about the joy that comes from dancing, and we hope you'll join us at Doc to enjoy the variety of dance forms from the last century in cinema!
(Gene Kelly/Stanley Donen, 1952) · The legendary Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds shine in this classic romantic comedy! Set in 1920s Hollywood, the film follows Don (Kelly) and Lina (Jean Hagen), a famous silent film on-screen couple, as movies transition from silent to "talkies." Their newest movie is converted from a silent film to a talking one, creating a whole host of problems on set--and a bevy of opportunities for the film's iconic show tunes and musical numbers.
runtime: 103m format: 35mm
(Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger, 1948) · Based on the Hans Christian Andersen tale of the same name, The Red Shoes, is a beautiful classic about a dancer's ultimate dilemma: the desire to dance or the desire for love. Played by Moira Shearer, Vicky Page is an aspiring ballerina who finds herself in this situation when she joins a ballet company and becomes the lead dancer. This visually luscious film has inspired both actors and directors alike, from Gene Kelly to Martin Scorsese, for both its inspired dancing and its brilliant use of Technicolor. 35mm restored print courtesy of the UCLA Film & Television Archive. Restoration funding provided by The Film Foundation & Hollywood Foreign Press Association.
runtime: 136m format: 35mm
(John Badham, 1977) · Every Saturday night, Brooklynite Tony Manero (John Travolta) is able to escape his family and dead-end job by going to the local discotheque, where he reigns as a king. Every week is the same until he meets Stephanie, another dancer at the club, who he becomes infatuated with. Set to the unbeatable music of the Bee Gees, the two of them embark on a mission to win a dance contest, in this iconic disco fil and charming time capsule of the 70s.
runtime: 118m format: 35mm
(Randal Kleiser, 1978) · After becoming a household name thanks to his role in Saturday Night Fever, John Travolta is back, showcasing his dancing skills opposite the equally talented Olivia Newton-John in the musical romantic comedy Grease! Local greaser Danny Zuko (Travolta) and Australian transfer student, Sandy Olsson (Newton-John), have just spent the summer together in love. But now they unexpectedly find themselves at the same high school, and things aren't as easy as it was over that idyllic summer.
runtime: 111m format: DCP
(Alan Parker, 1980) · Set at the elite High School for Performing Arts in New York, Fame chronicles the lives of four talented teenagers at their crucible of a school, from when they first audition to graduation. The students struggle to develop their talent as performers, while keeping up with the demands of school and adolescence, as they seek the ultimate spot in show business. The exuberant energy of the film's iconic dance scenes is counterpointed by its serious treatment of weighty themes.
runtime: 135m format: DCP
(Jerome Robbins/Robert Wise, 1961) · Join us on Valentine's Day for this classic romantic tragedy, based on Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet ! Instead of the Capulets and Montagues, the warring groups are the Sharks and Jets, two rival gangs in New York City who are battling for control over the Lincoln Square neighborhood. Tensions rise when one gang member from the Jets, Tony, falls in love with the younger sister of the leader of the Sharks, Maria--a forbidden love that can only lead to a tragic ending.
runtime: 153m format: DCP
(Stan Lathan, 1984) · Widely considered one of the most influential hip-hop films of all time, Beat Street unites the four elements of hip hop into an unforgettable experience. Bboy-ing, DJ-ing, MC-ing and graffiti all represented by the movement's early stars: Kool DJ Herc, Kool Moe Dee, Doug E. Fresh, Africa Bambaataa, Melle Melas, Rock Steady Crew and the New York City Breakers. Called an "unforgettable, gritty, streetwise musical" by the LA Herald, Beat Street is a true classic with sharp lyrics and powerful moves. 35mm collection print courtesy of the UCLA Film & Television Archive.
runtime: 103m format: 35mm
(Taylor Hackford, 1985) · Part thriller, part dance movie, White Nights follows Nikolai (Mikhail Baryshnikov), a Soviet ballet dancer who has defected to the United States, and Raymond (Gregory Hines), an exiled American tap dancer. After Nikolai's plane is forced to land in Siberia, Soviet authorities take this opportunity to have him stay in the Soviet Union, by forcing him to live with Raymond in an apartment in Leningrad. The two dancers, despite their differences, form a strong bond and seek to escape their situation.
runtime: 136m format: 35mm
(Emile Ardolino, 1987) · It's the early 1960s and the Housemans are spending their summer in a resort in the Catskill Mountains, much to the youngest daughter Baby's dismay. Baby is expecting to waste another summer, before she goes off to college and one day joins the Peace Corps to save the world. However, her summer becomes much more exciting when she meets the camp's dance instructor, Johnny (the magnetic Patrick Swayze), who enlists her help to replace his former dance partner.
runtime: 100m format: 35mm
(Baz Luhrmann, 1992) · In this unconventional dance film, Strictly Ballroom follows the world of Australian competitive ballroom dancing. A young dancer, Scott Hastings, finds himself without a partner right before the regional championships, because of his desire rebel against the strict rules of ballroom dancing. Scott takes a chance on Fran, a beginner dancer who is perhaps too clumsy, in order to create their own unorthodox, even revolutionary, dancing style as they seek to win the championship.
runtime: 94m format: Blu-Ray