Gumdrop Lane

13 Magical Song And Dance Numbers In Non-Musicals

I’ve said it before and I’ll shout it again from these internet rooftops: I love movies with dance numbers. I especially love movies with dance numbers and singing where there shouldn’t be any. Don’t get me wrong: I love musicals. I love musicals more than I probably should. But that’s a discussion for another time. A Bruce Bogtrotter for another giant chocolate cake, if you will.

In this case, I’m just talking regular movies where people start singing and/or dancing. In regular movies you don’t expect anyone to bust out singing or start throwing sweet moves your way. It’s extra-special when it happens. The people performing might not be very good, but their enthusiasm more than makes up for it.

I extend an open invitation to anyone in Los Angeles to recreate any and all of the following moments with me. For public and private screening. Seriously.

In no particular order, the lucky thirteen:

1. First Wives Club – The ladies perform You Don’t Own Me

You’ve got all my favorite ladies a-singin’ and a-dancin’ because they’re independent women who want to sing and dance like the free flying jaguars they are.

Nothing’s better than Bette Midler, Diane Keaton and Goldie Hawn all combining their superpowers. I would love it if they performed together and only did covers of girl group hits. I would pay money to see them tour. At the very least I should finally learn to play one of the many instruments I own and start my own group of ladies and call us The First Wives Club. At the very least. If anyone’s interested, let me know. Let’s do this.

Bette, Diane and Goldie: I beseech you to consider forming a musical group and then to perform and tour. Or maybe a one night only performance. To benefit some charity or some junk. People would definitely go.

 2. 13 Going on 30 Jennifer Garner + a whole party dance to Thriller

Next up is the only scene in which Jennifer Garner almost charmed my pants off. I really enjoy 13 Going On 30 and I’m not going to apologize for it. Please watch Jennifer & Co. as they do the Thriller dance.

Jennifer just needs more roles in which she can be a kid who gets stuck in an adult body. I would see probably at least 3 movies with her doing that.

3. A Knight’s Tale  – Heath Ledger dances to David Bowie in olden times

Medieval times in the movies are probably way more fun than the real Medieval Times were. Case in point, A Knight’s Tale.

I love this whole movie and especially this dance scene. Here we have a man. A man named Heath Ledger. Dancing in his pantsing. And there’s David Bowie music so that’s a nice treat for that era, I’m sure.

I would also like to add Medieval times in movies and Medieval times in history were probably both less fun than a Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament.

4. Spring Breakdown – Expert comediennes sing Wilson-Phillips

Back to the modern day – this song really seems to ring true for us gals. Here we have a song performed by Rachel Dratch, Amy Poehler and Parker Posey to name a few. This is a proud moment for female friendship and this number would be the perfect thing for young ladies to learn to perform at, say, a Bat Mitzvah.

These are some cool women. This song was also performed by the gals in Bridesmaids with Wilson-Phillips themselves. I’m going to be honest here and let you all know I prefer the Spring Breakdown version.

5. Mean Girls – The Plastics do their Jingle Bell Rock

The Jingle Bell Rock will never be the same. This combines ridiculous costumes with the seasonal performance, so it’s a moment to remember. This is would be lovely to learn and bust out come the holiday season.

This is not only a dance, it’s a power struggle. And if there’s one thing better than dance, it’s a power struggle expressed through dance.

6. 500 Days of Summer – Joseph Gordon-Levitt celebrates…love. Through dance!

This is a fantastic number to a brilliant song. It really knocks it out of the park for me before the dance even starts when Harrison Ford appears in the car window as Han Solo and winks. Harrison Ford is basically my favorite man in the whole world. This dance is a perfect physical translation of the emotional moment.

You’ve got  choreography to Hall and Oates and you’ve got yourself a hit.

7. Bande à Part – The gang does The Madison

Almie Rose and I may or may not have attempted to learn this dance to perform in public at a discotecque or night club for youths. We never completed our attempt. It’s our Everest, I guess.

Bande à part – dance scene from Kurt Pittman on Vimeo.

These guys are pretty much too cool for school. I strongly suggest trying this out next time you’re out on the town. If this isn’t quite your speed, though, how about…

8. Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion – The girls dance at a club/Dance for their self-respect at their HS Reunion

This is a movie I hated the first time I saw it. I was young and stupid. I’ve since realized it is in fact one the best films of our times. This film has not one, but two glorious dance numbers. So glorious that I can’t pick just one. And I won’t. Here’s their first routine, another great set of moves for the club. I hate clubs, but if I had this choreography down and someone with which to execute it I think I might just change my mind.

So you see that and think it can’t be topped, right? I don’t know if it can be, actually. But this grand finale from the same film comes pretty darn close.

9. The Jerk – Steve and Bernadette disco the night away

I may have lied when I said Harrison Ford is my favorite man, since Steve Martin is way up there, too. The Jerk is all around brilliant and this dance number between Steve Martin and Bernadette Peters really puts the cherry on the brilliance sundae. Nobody can move it like Steve can, although truth be told Bernadette is completely slaying him dance-wise in this scene.

Gents, take note: if you can’t really dance, just study Steve’s squiggly genius and if all else fails get a girl like Bernadette to do most of the work while you just stand there.

10. Austin Powers – Austin destroys the Fembots

Not only is this a great dance performance, it’s a great example of how to sexily destroy your enemies.

11. Beetlejuice – Dinner party Day-O

Simple and elegant, with spectacular styling and a wondrous cast. Beetlejuice, I salute you: Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice.

12. My Best Friend’s Wedding – The restaurant scene

This is just too lovable. Everyone joins in. I would love to do this with a bunch of people at a restaurant. Denny’s. Red Lobster. Olive Garden. Wherever. Who wants to join me?

13. Young Frankenstein – Frankie and his monster put on the ritz

This is one of my top ten favorite movies of all time. It is the perfect film to hold the magical #13 spot, as it is spooky and elegant and hilarious. Dr. Frankenstein and the monster are truly a dynamic duo.

  • Samantha Peña

    The Sweetest Thing: Penis Song by Cameron Diaz, Selma Blair, and Christina Applegate :)

    • Laura Kadner

      I love that one, too! But I really should stop singing it in public…

  • Anna Dobben

    And more recently, Easy A :) one of my favs. Love your list!!

    • Abbey Lile-Taylor

      Yes, Anna!! I just ADORE that one, too!

  • Jenny Lonussen

    Love these! My favorite is JGL in 500 Days, that was just brilliant, the song, the dance/JLG’s moves, Han Solo and an imaginary blue bird that winks! :-) The companion piece that Zooey & JGL did on Zooey’s song Why Do You Let Me Stay Here, was pretty awesome too. But than again that wasn’t technically in the film, so.. 😛

    • Laura Kadner

      Yes, I love them in that video! I think it should count as part of the movie. I’m counting it. Done. Counted!

  • Molly Jay

    Also: Heath Ledger singing Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You in 10 Things I Hate About You is my absolute favorite! Great list :)

    • Carissa Lau

      i was thinking the same thing!!

    • Sarah H

      Ooh yes! Love that scene in 10 Things I Hate About You – that and the dance scene in 500 Days of Summer are my faves! Every time I hear that Hall & Oates song it makes me smile now.

  • Roli Pancho

    Ain’t no mountain high enough in Stepmom

  • Nicole Renae Sexton

    That Knight’s Tale video just made me so happy. I definitely rewound that “angel” part in the dance every time I watched it as a kid.

  • Jessica Day

    500 days wins for me… one of my favorite scenes of all time (and movies, for that matter!)

  • Joanna Boese

    In the stage ersion of “Young Frankenstein”, that number is a complete showstopper. :)

    BUT, Ewan and Cameron singing “Beyond the Sea” in “A Life Less Ordinary” is my favorite. :)

    • Laura Kadner

      I think my favorite Cameron might be the terrible karaoke in My Best Friend’s Wedding. But her and Ewan’s Life Less Ordinary moment is pretty splendid.

  • Abbey Lile-Taylor

    FANTASTIC!! These all make me so very happy!

  • Melissa Jaquez

    I’m very pleased to see Bande a Part included, especially since I don’t even watch enough modern movies and wouldn’t even be familiar with most of them. It’s not actually one of the 3 Anna K. movies I’ve seen, but I’ll see it eventually anyway. There should really be a foreign movie channel. TCM doesn’t air enough of the French, Italian, etc. movies I want to see.

  • MaryKate Vadala

    What about the scene in Grind where Adam Brody and his posse dance to Bust A Move? It’s awesome.

  • Jade Montez

    You forgot some! The Danke Shoen/Twist and Shout parade in Ferris Bueller. And although it is kinda lame, the prom scene at the end of Encino Man. Brenden Frasier as a dancing caveman=crazy awesome.

    • Larissa Jekimovics

      Yes, Ferris definitely deserves a mention! And Shake A Tail Feather from The Blues Brothers.

  • Allison Frankfother

    500 Days and My Best Friends Wedding on this list just make me jump for joy. Such feel good scenes!!!

  • April McLean

    Can I JUST say, I was having a pretty cruddy day and then I decided to head on over to Hello Giggles. And this post really just changed my mood. YAY!

    • Laura Kadner

      Yay! I’m glad I could brighten your day :)

  • James Stevenson

    I think my favourite dance scene from a non musical movie has to be Mel Gibson’s dance to “I Won’t Dance” in What Women Want. (hopefully I can post links).

  • Kara Nowakowski

    My friend and I may or may not have learned the Time After Time dance and tried to make my boyfriend perform it with us. He refused for some reason! (Let it be known that he is now my ex-boyfriend. Wonder whyyy…. 😛 )

    Fantastic list!!!

    • Laura Kadner

      I was gonna say if he wouldn’t do the dance with you he’s probably not a quality man 😉

  • Allison Georgia Honea

    YES. The restaurant scene from My Best Friend’s Wedding is wonderful, and I just knew it had to be on this list.

  • Katie Schultz

    My Best Friends Wedding is the best movie, and that’s the best scene!

  • Hanna Howard

    What about the prom dance scene in She’s All That? It’s a classic. It even has Usher.

  • Fork Fabz

    Greatness! So hard to pick my favorite! I’m between Beetlejuice and Romy & Michele!

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