Movin’ Movies: Our top picks of dance movies for the whole family.

With movie night fast approaching and so many choices at our fingertips, it can be hard to make a decision on which film to watch. If you’re a movin’ mom, a dancin’ dad, or a shimmyin’ student we have our top picks of movie night films for you… dance edition! So whether you’re a parent in charge of the remote control, or a teen educating the family on the latest viral dance moves, or a little one discovering the glories of tv time, check out this list of dance movies suited for the entire family.

Tiny dancers can bring their best pointed toes, pirouettes and popcorn to movie night with these fun dance films.

Ballerina (2016)

Ballerina (2016)

Every young dancer can’t help but twirl, leap and pose, which are all reasons they’ll love the animated film Ballerina. The story of a young orphan girl who discovers a passion for ballet. Though Félicie may not be the most coordinated girl, she finds herself at the Paris Opera Ballet School vying for the role of Clara in the production of The Nutcracker. However young an aspiring dancer may be, no one is ever too young to dream about taking the spotlight. This film is a great way to teach children that they can achieve their dreams with hard work, practice, determination and most importantly, passion. Little ballerinas and ballerinos will love this fouetté filled movie!

Singin’ in the Rain (1952)

Singin’ in the Rain (1952)

Known as a musical masterpiece, Singin’ in the Rain takes place in Hollywood during the 1920s. It tells the story of an overlooked young actress aspiring to make it to the top of the film industry. With some of the most famous tap dance scenes in Hollywood history, this catchy and heartwarming film will have the whole family tapping their toes. It’s the perfect movie for any weather, but as the title suggests there is no better way to have movie night than on a rainy day. So cozy up around the television with the entire family and enjoy the charm of Singin’ in the Rain.

Happy Feet (2006)

Happy Feet (2006)

Some tiny dancers can’t get enough of tap dance, so let’s turn it over to the fancy footwork penguins of Happy Feet. Don’t be fooled by the animation of this film, as the dance moves and choreographic formations are as real as a live performance. Though the movie is set in a chilly climate, it is a heartwarming tale about a little penguin named Mumble. Raised in a colony of talented penguin singers, Mumble is unable to carry a tune but soon finds out that he can dance up a storm. Not only is this film filled with some groovin’ tunes and cute dance numbers, but it’s a reminder that talents are never one in the same, and that everyone has their own gift. Make those twinkle toes smile by tuning into Happy Feet on your next movie night.

Trolls (2016)

Trolls (2016)

One of the newer animation films featuring dancetastic tunes and moves for children is Trolls. Though the movie only features a few dance numbers, the music is so catchy you can’t help but get up and dance! Filled with colour, sparkles and punny jokes, this movie is about two trolls who work together to save their village from invasion. Lightheartedly fun, this film features the voices of notable stars such as Justin Timberlake, Anna Kendrick and Zooey Deschanel. Because the party doesn’t stop for the kids or the parents, kick up your feet and get ready to jump up and dance with the cute characters of Trolls.  

Turn it up Teens! Turn up the volume on movie night, because these dance movies are diagnosed with contagious movin’ and groovin’ for your twirling teens.

I Dream of Dance (2017)

I Dream of Dance (2017)

Be moved by dancers with grace and power, who are also models of perseverance and kindheartedness. Following the students, teachers and parents of the dance studio, Denise Wall’s Dance Energy Ltd., this documentary is sure to inspire. Beyond the hardships and triumphs of a dance student’s life of training, competition, finance, sacrifice, expectations and goals, this film captures the glue that holds dancers together, which is the support of teachers, friends and family. The film not only features studio owner Denise Wall, but also brings in her son and So You Think You Can Dance sweetheart Travis Wall. Shedding light on this mother son duo, the energy that Denise Wall brings to the screen as a mother, dance teacher, and mentor is infectious. Spend movie night with your parent or teen by bonding over the love of dance and of one another. This film reminds us why parents support dreams, and why dance students push the limits in their training. I Dream of Dance is currently streaming on Netflix, so check it out and make sure to move the coffee table over, just in case you want to bust out some moves!

First Position (2011)

First Position (2011)

For the bunheads out there, First Position is a must see documentary film that takes us on an emotional journey through the highs and lows of striving for pirouette perfection. Featuring the lives of six young ballet dancers competing in the Youth America Grand Prix, the film looks at diverse backgrounds and training paths of youth who aspire to be professional ballet dancers. There are so many points of conversation for parents and their twirling tweens to discuss when watching the film. Understanding that every dancer is so unique, from their interests outside of dance to how they balance their studies, training and hobbies. Every sweat, smile, tear, and grand jeté on the screen motivates its viewers to strive for excellence regardless of your passion. So whether you need a boost of energy to revive your love for dance, or simply want to be mesmerized by flawlessly elegant movement, turn on your television to either iTunes or Amazon Prime Video and get to the pointe with First Position.  

West Side Story (1961)

West Side Story (1961)

Classic films are notorious for being filled with energetic dance and musical numbers. Containing a fusion of jazz, ballet, and latin dance, West Side Story is a great film for dancers who show an interest in various dance styles. Not to mention, that it showcases one of the catchiest film soundtracks and choreographic ingenuity of all time! It’s not unusual to find this film in the syllabus of university courses within the performing arts. Taking a spin on the tale of Romeo and Juliet, this story takes place in the mid-1950s where two lovers from rivalling sides of New York City take bold risks to be together. Jazz up movie night with West Side Story, where parents can share with their teens what real “cool” dance moves look like.

Step Up 3D (2010)

Step Up 3D (2010)

Now that parents have showed their kids what “cool” dance moves are with West Side Story, teens can bring their parents back to 2019 with the party popping and locking, jaw dropping moves of Step Up 3D. Directed by film director, Jon M.Chu (...yes he is the same director of Crazy Rich Asians and Justin Bieber: Never Say Never) this movie packs in so much energy, fun, comedy and drama into one film. Jon M.Chu has directed various films for dance, along with four other Step Up movies. But what sets Step Up 3D apart from the rest is that it’s filmed like a choreography, capturing angles of dance to best convey the intricacy of movement to its viewers. The film emphasizes the beauty of urban, street and hip hop dance styles, both as an art form and a culture. Though there is a long history that accompanies urban dance styles that is much less commercial than a box office movie, Step Up 3D is a good beginner’s guide to the world of hip hop and street dancing. Start the party with Step Up 3D, and who knows, maybe you’ll master the 2-step by the end of the film.

Zapped (2014)

Zapped (2014)

Part of the Disney family, Zapped is a film that speaks right on the level of today’s teens. In a day and age of phones and drones, this movie is about a teenage girl played by the actress-dancer Zendaya Coleman, who finds her life changing faster than she can even blink. Harnessing her talent as a dancer to find her way through a new school and family, this teen comes across a phone app that puts her in controlled her life. Disney is notorious for delivering family friendly movies, and Zapped does not disappoint, bringing humour, bumping tunes and dance moves to the screen. Dancers are great at the balancing act, even if its about finding a balance between dance, home and school life, so add this movie to the agenda and check out Zapped on Netflix.

Now that the whole family will have something in store for them, it’s time for a movie marathon. Though the choices of movies to watch may require a family vote, the most important thing about dance movie night is that you get to spend quality time with your loved ones while bonding over topics of dance, passion and dreams! Enjoy movie night and start popping the popcorn!