Every week on My Favorite Slice, a Movie Trivia Schmoedown competitor shares their favorite category on the wheel! This week’s guest is “Miss Movies” herself, Brianne Chandler, Singles competitor, half of title-contending team Sick in the Head, and guru of the Schmoedown Patreon.
Hello Schmoedown and the throngs of patrons and website visitors that have clicked on this article and have decided to read what I, Brianne Chandler, have to say about my favorite wheel slice for the Movie Trivia Schmoedown – Dance.
Full disclosure: I can’t say this is 100% my favorite slice since there are a few that I hold near and dear to my heart. In fact, if we were to do a pie chart of my favorite slices, this one might be even with Musicals and the rest of the pie chart would be completed with Rom-Coms, Romance, and Julia Roberts but I digress. I decided to be a generous individual and leave the Musicals slice to Marc Andreyko or another competitor that is champing at the bit to write about it. (You read that correctly – champing at the bit. This has been your lesson in idioms for the day.) Also, Mikhail Baryshnikov is turning 71 in a week, so I decided to choose Dance over Musicals for my favorite slice.
I’m hoping that one day my face can be on the wheel slice for dance movies because dance in film is something that I frequently seek out and find that it is a genre that is underrepresented. One may turn their nose at the idea of the dance genre of film but I find that most of the people turning their cheeks and noses are people that haven’t really explored the genre and have quickly passed their judgement after watching one scene from Step Up.
So where did it all begin? I first saw the movie Dirty Dancing at my neighbor Kendra’s house when I was in 1st grade. I distinctly remember Kendra’s mother calling my mother on the telephone to ask if I could watch the film (she also asked if I could watch The Lost Boys but my mother said no). My mother told her I could. My sister, Erin, who is four years older than I am, was very upset and asked why Brianne could watch the film but she couldn’t. My mother responded to her saying, “she’s not going to understand what’s going on.” It wasn’t until I watched the movie for the second time in high school that I understood that Penny was pregnant and that she had an abortion in the film. I honestly don’t remember much about my time watching it for the first time but I do remember the opening credits and the closing dance scene. Since high school I have probably watched it well over 100 times, much to the chagrin of my husband.
It was in high school where I really started to become interested in film and where I was also very involved in anything dance related. I was the captain of my high school dance team which was a big deal since we were good. We were the kind of team that won Nationals in every division we entered. At the very least we would be the first place runner up and on rare occasions we ranked second. Some of my favorite dance films to watch with my high school friends included: Flashdance, White Nights, Dancers, Footloose, The Red Shoes, The Nutcracker, and Girls Just Wanna Have Fun. Girls Just Wanna Have Fun was a regular staple on the television and spawned many of us to learn the choreography for the dances that are performed at the end of the film.
It wasn’t until the early 2000s where the dance genre of film really ramped up. Most of my favorite dance films came out in the early 2000s including Bring it On (the entire franchise), Center Stage, the incredible Step Up franchise, Save the Last Dance, and my absolute favorite dance movie for personal reasons – Magic Mike XXL (Alison Faulk’s choreography is insane in this film). I believe that one of the influences of the uptick in dance movies in the later aughs is the popularity of shows like Dancing with the Stars, So You Think You Can Dance, Randy Jackson’s America’s Best Dance Crew, and more recently – World of Dance.
In 2013, I wrote an article for Schmoes Know (feels like forever ago) highlighting dance sequences in film. While this list seems grossly incomplete looking back on it (this was before I watched the Step Up franchise films, Magic Mike, the original Shall We Dance, and Strictly Ballroom; the final dance in Flashdance isn’t mentioned either which is unfortunate) it is still an article I am proud to have written because it highlights a very underappreciated aspect and genre of films. Dance films are love, dance films are life, dance films are global, and dance films will continue to inspire young dancers all over the world for years to come.
Brianne Chandler’s Ten Favorite Dance Movies:
1. Dirty Dancing (1987)
2. Magic Mike XXL (2015)
3. Bring It On (2000)
4. Step Up 3D (2010)
5. Flashdance (1983)
6. Footloose (1984)
7. Shall We Dance (1996)
8. Center Stage (2000)
9. Black Swan (2010)
10. Billy Elliot (2000)