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I Don’t Dance (Really)

by on August 3, 2010
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For every great movie dance scene, there’s a terrible one.  Where a shoddy storyline isn’t even redeemed by fun steps, or an idea was ground into the Hollywood machine until it was nearly unrecognizable from its well-intentioned predecessor.  From the sublimely ridiculous to the laughably campy, here are 5 scenes that represent cinematic dance at its worst.

1.  I Like Boys (“Teen Witch”)

This ’80’s tween dream is mainly known for a supremely shoddy white-boy rap number.  However, the oft-overlooked jewel in the film’s campy crown is this feast of locker-room shenanigans: complete with towel hijinks, high-cut purple leotards, and bouncing poodle-esque hair.  And nothing says “bad dance scene” more than a leading character who clearly can’t dance and is relegated to step-touching awkwardly on the sidelines while her more coordinated peers pirouette and scissor-kick center stage.

2.  Final Dance (“Stayin’ Alive”)

The alternate title to this ill-fated “Saturday Night Fever” sequel could have been “When Modern Dance Goes Horribly, Horribly Wrong.”  Smoke, fake-sweat, screaming and writhing, surprisingly, doesn’t add up to art in this Broadway show featuring Tony Manero and his pals.  This is what happens when you let Sylvester Stallone direct a dance film.

3.  Final Battle (“You Got Served”)

Hip-hop is an intricate, intensely physical art form, and dance battles can effectively straddle the line between silly and breathtaking.  However, this 2004 film fails on all levels–not necessarily because of choreography, but because of the sheer cheesiness that cheapens what could have been seriously cool.  The only good thing that came out of “You Got Served”?  A hilarious “South Park” parody.

4.  We’re Gonna Score Tonight (“Grease 2”)

Fact: both “Grease” films had the same choreographer, Patricia Birch.  However, perhaps Birch’s stepping in as director of the sequel significantly altered her focus.  The result: the charming yet athletic steps that inspired a worldwide phenomenon in the original film soured into clumsy, laughable production numbers in the second.  Not to mention the terrible editing: at one point in the following, Adrian Zmed’s Johnny Nogarelli bowls a strike, then jumps triumphantly off of . . . nothing.

5.  Computer Dance (“Lambada”)

What’s a down on his luck “nerdy” (read: handsome man with glasses) high school teacher to do at night?  Easy: get down with underage students and various unsavory characters through a hypersexual dance that never quite caught on the way it was supposed to.  Oh, and challenge the rich kids to a “math-off.”  Nothing comes together in this mess of a film, least of all the choreography, which is embarrassing in its excess.  Oh, and apparently computers can make you dance.  Who knew?