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Dance Movies that Inspire Us

If you’re looking to watch something new, but also looking to be inspired, we’re sharing our favorite dance movies that get our creative minds thinking and get us up, dancing in our living rooms. Hopefully, they inspire you, too!

Rita Moreno in the film adaptation of ‘West Side Story’, 1961. (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)

West Side Story Growing up, I watched West Side Story a million times. I love the different styles of dance, especially in the “Dance at the Gym” scene. Each number is so specific and has so much intricate choreography—where every slap of the knee, hands, and every flick of a wrist evokes a feeling. It definitely shows the powerful impact music and dance can have on a culture. What’s even more special is getting to watch it now, through the eyes of my daughter.—Rockette Traci R.

Center Stage As a classically trained ballet dancer, I was—and still am—totally obsessed with this movie. It’s a classic story of perseverance and finding out who you truly are, both onstage and off. I have two favorite scenes (and I think many of you will agree). The first is when Jody is warming up in the jazz class at Broadway Dance Center. She just loses herself in the music. The second, and of course most iconic is the Cooper Nielsen ballet in the final Showcase where Jody fouettés for her life even after the curtain comes down—amazing! —Rockette Tiffany B.

Bye Bye Birdie Since I was a little girl this has ALWAYS been one of my favorite dance films. From the high energy dance scenes to the tongue and cheek musical duets. I find myself reciting all the lyrics, performing all the steps, and remembering what made me love to dance as a child when I watch this film. There are some movies that just remind you of a simpler time, and Ann Margaret created just that in this classic film.—Rockette Sam B.

Chicago Fosse Fosse Fosse! Can’t get enough of the dancing in this movie! Watching two females razzle-dazzle their way into the hearts of viewers is awe-inspiring. I did a jazz solo to “Roxie” the year this movie was released and it was one of my favorites.—Rockette Taylor S.

Burlesque A modern-day dance movie I’m obsessed with. I want to learn all the choreography…actually I already know it. This movie tells a great story—if you really fight for what you want most in life, and put in the work, your dreams will become reality. I love that Christina Aguilera is the lead and puts up that good fight. And I can’t forget to mention Cher who is also a fierce female lead in this story. This movie will have you dancing and smiling in your livingroom.—Rockette Jackie