Top Ten Dance-Craze Movies
As the Harlem Shake lays waste to a civilisation only just recovering from the devastation of Gangnam Style, let’s cower in our shelters from the butt-shaking hordes and remember a time when a dance craze would require a whole 80 minutes for people to get sick of it. Movies based on exploiting a dance craze have been around since the Lindy Hop and Hellzapoppin!, but make no mistake: despite its title, The Running Man contains no footage whatsoever of anyone doing The Running Man.
10. Damsels in Distress
Whit Stillman’s criminally under-watched 2012 return to film-making had, amongst its many and varied charms (“that is a playboy, or ‘operator’ move” doesn’t sound like the funniest thing ever out of context, but trust me) a lead character who’s biggest goal in life was to start a dance craze called The Sambola. A year ago this was a symbol of how charmingly adrift and out of touch with the modern world both she and this film were: post Gangnam Style and with The Harlem Shake sweeping the globe, what was the joke again?
9. Dirty Dancing
Hard as it is to imagine today, prior to the 1980s dance crazes were not entirely about trying to make it look like you were having sex with your partner or some kind of invisible ghost. And then along came “dirty dancing”, AKA “doing whatever you like so long as it looks sex-ay”. As it was never really an official dance as such – any official guide to dirty dancing moves is incomplete without the phrase “dry-humping” - what does this have to do with the much loved movie? Nothing much at all really, apart from providing people with an excuse to grind up against each other on the dance floor. Thanks Hollywood!
8. Dance Craze The Movie
You all know the rules: if a movie has the subject on a Top Ten in the title it automatically qualifies no matter what it’s actually about. Surprisingly for a movie titled Dance Craze, this isn’t about a dance craze per se; rather, it’s a look at 2 Tone / Ska music in the UK in the early 1980s. While you sure can dance to Ska – as Gavin Wood no doubt once said on Countdown, take a look at those crazy guys from Madness! – it didn’t exactly sweep all before it in the way that, say, line-dancing did. So let’s instead direct your attention to one of the funniest things you’ll see today: The Ska-Mitzvah episode of Delocated! Actually, the Ska-Mitzvah joke is the best joke in the episode, but it’s still pretty funny.