The subject of todays blog – dance movies.
You know the ones ‘How she step up don’t back down make shapes happen save honey served hermasetas’. You have a hero who wants to dance but can’t dance in the way they want to dance. Casual ingredients include: a move of home from country to city, a failed audition, a love story, a misunderstanding, a dance training montage, an opportunity to shine at dancing somewhere unexpected (although entirely predictable), a moment of doubt and then finally Triumph!! a big mega dance number which gets you funding for your youth project/respect/entry into a misspelled Julliard. There’s barely a sense of re-evaluated values in the face of such a grueling 3 and half weeks of life changing events and prejudice bustin’ moves. We’re not talking about Ginger Rogers or even Swayze, we’re on about the modern tales of urban cinder-rinas usually with hip hop soundtracks, and its the sound tracks we’re interested in.
Frequently the biggest song is one which is not part of the film. This is the song played to advertise the film, often it becomes a single released in association with the movie but does not appear during the film. You keep thinking it’ll be the big dance number at the end, but it isn’t. You need to go right to the end to hear it. This big major hit song is usually played over the latter half of the credits – clearly to ensure maximum exposure to people who don’t move very quickly out of their seats in a cinema. As Michael Ellis says in Jessica Alba’s streetwise dance-athon Honey ‘Bitch, how you gonna play me like that?’
Hellagoods top picks for dance movie tracks –
Murder She Wrote – Chaka Demus & Pliers : Save the Last Dance
You Can Do It – Ice Cube feat. Mack 10 & Ms.Toi: Save the Last Dance
Ante Up -M.O.P : You Got Served
Walk it Out – Unk : Stomp The Yard
YaYa – The Empty Heads : Take The Lead
Love Ya – Unkle Jam : Make It Happen
Beware of the Dog – Jamelia : Make It Happen
Eso Ehh..!!! – Alexis & Fido : Feel the Noise
80’s Joint – Kelis : Step Up
Due to the focus on music and dance, often the best part of these films is the soundtrack closely tailed by its sidekick; choreography. There is limited energy to be spent on the actual story structure. Quite often characters suffer dramatic schizophrenia of the plot moving motive variety. Usually our hero is unaffected because her/his needs fuel the final dance off, but note all supporting cast. Witness the fitness of their amazing transformations from bitch to beyatch-you-ma-best-girl-friend or angry dance hating single family member to proud supportive I’m-perfectly-happy-for-you-to-whore-yourself-in-a-burlesque-club-darling guardian, without even the scant veil of a personal journey or reconsideration of their views over time. Just from hate to love in one easy montage. My favourite example of this comes in Mary Elizabeth Winstead sleeveless hoodie vehicle Make It Happen where club dancing rival Carmen casts furious vengence upon lead Lauryn up until the last group scene at the suprise party, where she completely backtracks and accepts Lauryn as a contemporary. I swear to God, its literally as though she’s had some kind of lobotomy the contrast is that stark in its delivery.
I love the music in Dance Movies. Its always going to be a great opportunity for new artists to be heard by 12 year old girls and DJs, then eventually, some months later, the public.