The Best Dance Movies, and Why We Love Them!

As a dance professional, I am often asked, “Do you like to watch dancing shows or movies?” “Uh, yes!” is always my resounding answer. You might be like me, and you have seen every movie that has even the shortest dance scene in it. Or maybe you are unaware of the plethora of great dance movies that are out there. In this article, I will describe some of the best. This is by no means an extensive list, but it might pique your curiosity to seek out others!

The Best Dance Movies, and Why We Love Them!

Written by Kristen Perpich

Swing Kids

This is a story of Peter and Thomas, two young men whose rebellion against the conformity of Nazi Germany took the form of a love of American swing music, British fashion, and Harlem slang. This movie combines a little dance with a little history, and of course, a few plot twists to keep us all on our toes (not unlike a swing dance).

Shall We Dance

John Clark (no, not John Clark the traveling consultant) is a middle aged Chicago estate lawyer. He loves his family, but their combined busy schedules after two decades of marriage have left him feeling unfulfilled. While taking the train home every night, he notices Miss Mitzi’s Dance Studio, which specializes in ballroom. He signs up for beginner dance lessons, and as time progresses, John gets caught up in the lives of those at Miss Mitzi’s.

Shall We Dance is a feel-good movie that reminds us life is not only work and the everyday mundane, but about finding what makes us happy.


Saturday Night Fever

Nineteen-year-old Brooklyn native Tony Manero has a rocky home life. He fights constantly with his father, and has to live up to his family’s idealistic view of his older brother. His refuge is the local disco club, where he spies Stephanie Mangano. He and Stephanie team up to train for the club’s dance competition, and soon Tony starts to feel like the king of the club.

This movie is the reason that Bob Long, Arthur Murray Chairman of the Dance Board, and many others started teaching. Thank you John Travolta!


Center Stage

Who doesn’t enjoy a good love triangle? Add to that a story of a comeback kid, ballet dancing, and a great soundtrack… You’ve got a hit. Center Stage takes a peak into the challenging field of ballet dancing. The final dance is worth the price of admission:



When Ren McCormack (Kevin Bacon) moves to the small town of Bomont, Utah, he is shocked to find out that dancing and rock music have been banned. As this city boy acclimates to life in a farm town, he and his new friends decide to throw a high school prom, complete with music and dancing. He has to go up against the town council, including his new love interest, Ariel’s, father.

This movie is a dance classic that reminds us to live a little.


Cuban Fury

Former teen salsa champion Bruce Garrett is now an engineer. Bruce gave up dancing after he was brutally bullied by older boys. When he finds out that his new boss, Julia, is passionate about salsa dancing, he decides that the only way he can win her over is by re-mastering the art of dance. Bruce is able to recapture his lost “corazón” (heart), not only for the dance but for his life.


Take the Lead

Based on a true story, the movie tells of the struggle of a dance teacher, Pierre Dulain (Antonio Banderas), to give a group of problem kids a second chance by exploring their dance skills. Everyone is skeptical, especially the kids. After a few uneventful sessions, Pierre finally catches the students’ attention with a tango demonstration. The group eventually competes in a dance contest, as happens in a lot of these dance movies!


Dirty Dancing

This timeless summer love story is a classic. I grew up watching this movie over and over and over (ask my parents).

There is something about it that just makes it absolutely perfect. The characters, the chemistry between Swayze and Grey, the movie’s direction, the INCREDIBLE dancing, the warm summery atmosphere; everything about Dirty Dancing is on par.

The movie includes one of the best dance sequences cinema has ever given us, and a phrase heard round the world, “nobody puts Baby in a corner”.

The Arthur Murray Stage Show: What a Wonderful World

You should not be anywhere but Finkelman Auditorium on Saturday, June 18th at 7:30 p.m.

The Arthur Murray Stage Show

The Arthur Murray Stage Show: What a Wonderful World

Written by Barbara Haller

A truly great show featuring the top ballroom professionals in the Cincinnati/Dayton Metroplex, amazing vocal and lyrical guest artists, professional & amateur performances that are bound to amaze you and so much more!!!! Even the theater director gets in on this show and that is certainly a rarity!

The Arthur Murray Stage Show
The show, What a Wonderful World, celebrates all things life-affirming. On the heels of the most recent tragedy in Orlando we all need that!

An even greater cause! One hundred percent of the ticket sales ($15 in advance and $20 at the door) go directly to the Greater Dayton Humane Society. This is a no kill, non-profit organization that fosters and places dogs, cats, rabbits and even mice, in good homes while training their people to be responsible pet owners.

The Arthur Murray Stage Show

There will be a pet adoption in the lobby prior to the show and the president of the Humane Society will address the audience, puppy in arms! There is a silent auction as well benefiting this wonderful cause, which is so close to our hearts. You will need to read the program to discover why that is, however.

For tickets contact any of your local Arthur Murray Dance Centers (see info below). We promise you will not be sorry! It is like Dancing with the Stars without having to travel to Los Angeles!


Location: Dave Finkelman Auditorium
Miami University Middletown Campus
4200 N University Blvd., Middletown, OH 45042

Tickets: $15 in advance, $20 at the door
Time: Doors open at 7:00pm, Show starts at 7:30pm

To purchase tickets, contact:
Dayton Arthur Murray Dance Center
Montgomery Arthur Murray Dance Center
West Chester Arthur Murray Dance Center

Top 5 Reasons Why All Nerds Need to Take Dance Lessons

Prepare yourselves ladies and gents as I dip one of my supposedly nimble toes into the realm of blog writing. This first attempt will be on a topic with which I have a great deal of familiarity… being a nerd. First, let me list my credentials on the topic so you can be assured you’re dealing with a fellow nerd. I’m a self avowed superhero enthusiast, former video game addict (I just don’t have the time right now or I would be still), and probably the most compelling credential, a former Mathematics major (basically what everyone stereotypically pictures when they think “nerd”. And yes, I was President of my College Math Club. GO MATHLETES!!). Now, there are millions of reasons dance lessons are awesome for “nerds”, but I’ll do my best to limit this to just the top 5.

Top 5 Reasons Why All Nerds Need to Take Dance Lessons

Written by Brandon Perpich


Atten-TION! (Posture)

I have been there. Countless hours in front of the tv with controller in hand, playing a game for 12-16 hours straight… or being up all hours of the night because you just HAVE to figure out the next math proof. Anyway, all those countless hours hunched over a book or computer screen are absolute TORTURE on your back. Have you ever wanted to be six inches shorter? Unless you’re over 6’7″, the answer is probably no. Staying like that all of the time actually makes you shorter, or at least appear a lot shorter. In dancing you get to do things like stand up straight. Standing up straight not only makes you look more confident, it’s great for your overall health. On to Number 2!!


People!?!? (Social Reasons)

Eh… talking to your friends while playing the newest version of Call of Duty only slightly counts as a social activity. Dancing is one of the few activities left where you actually hold someone and possibly talk to them for three minutes straight (THE HORROR!!!!)… without looking at your cell phone (believe me, I tried, it doesn’t work very well). Being a well adjusted member of society unfortunately includes talking to people once in a while. Not to mention that by dancing, you have a kick-butt conversation starter for everyone you meet in the future!

New Person You Just Met: “Why Hello there, what do you do for fun?”
You: “Oh, me?! Nothing much, just a little something called ChaCha”
New Person You Just Met: “WHAT!?!?” *Face melts from shock….”That is so cool!!”

Let’s move it, move it to Number 3!


Cha-CHING!! (Work Reasons)

Okay, I’m kind of piggy backing off of Number 2 here, but it’s still important. Yes… people are becoming more and more secluded because of cell phones, video games, etc. That means that having superior social skills may just set you apart from any other qualified candidate up for a promotion/new job. Imagine you and some other person are up for the same job but you can actually go into a room and look your terrifying boss in the eyes. It’s HARD! I get it. I only just started looking my boss in the eyes last week (it’s really awkward because my boss is my wife). Being able to stand up straight and look your employer in the eyes goes a lot further in the way of impressing them than talking about the newest edition of Captain America (unless your boss is Stan Lee). SPOILER ALERT, apparently Cap has been secretly working for Hydra all this time… WHAT?!?!
Next… Number 4…


Become a Real Life James Bond (Confidence)

One of the defining characteristics of James Bond, other than the tendency to drive way too fast (probably without wearing a seat belt) and drinking waaaaaaay too many shaken not stirred martinis, is his confidence. Now I’m not suggesting you join MI6 (unless you’re actually playing one of the James Bond video games), that is far too much work and far too dangerous. However, an easier route to confidence is feeling comfortable on a dance floor, a place where most people feel uncomfortable. Again, I speak from experience here. In high school and the first few years of college, I was the stereotypical wall flower. Glasses, void of any muscle whatsoever, and clueless as to how to function when the music comes on at a dance party. What made a HUGE difference was having some structure on the dance floor. Once you have even a vague idea of where to put your feet and how to move to the music, the barriers start collapsing immediately.


Marrying Up!

Alright folks, I’m going to be real with you (and considering I’m a guy, I’m going to speak to the guys here for a second). My wife is pretty amazing. She’s one of the kindest people imaginable, wicked smart, and on top of that a total hottie. What she’s doing with me, I have absolutely no idea. I’ve had friends question me about what she’s doing with me and I honestly have no legitimate answer to give them other than she feels extreme pity. However, it would not have been possible without dance. Now keep in mind that we got together while I was President of the Math Club AND Math Honor Society. You see, girls love to dance. Not just one of them but the vast majority of them. Now, I’m not saying that dancing will guarantee you’ll meet the love of your life. However, you might pick up an awesome hobby that gives you exercise, new friends, more confidence, etc.,etc!