Dance is the art of
movement. It can express feelings, be an exercise, used to perform, and even
used as nonverbal communication. Dance is usually performed with music, but
doesn’t necessarily have to. Sports sometimes incorporate a certain dance. Dance
is also used in sports such as synchronized swimming, ice skating, and
gymnastics. There are many types of dance, ballet, tap, jazz, hip-hop, modern,
and contemporary etc. Most people see forms of dancing every day. Whether its
seeing a dance at a prom, a person jamming in their car, or simply turning on
the television, it’s something that we see every day. But have you ever
wondered where it all started? It was believed that dancing was a ritual in
ancient civilizations. Priests would dance to harps and pipes to tell stories
to the gods. Around this time ballet also began to evolve in places like France
and continued to spread through Italy, England, and Russia. It became a concert
dance seen in movies and events all over the world. Dancing has continued to grow,
and the best way to show how, is though film.

One of the first
movies that involved sing and dance was the 1952 film, Singing in the Rain. The
most famous part is when the main character, Don Lockwood, dances through the
streets with an umbrella as he twirls and sings the title song. He then grabs
onto a pole and swings around it continuing to sing. During the filming of this
scene he had a 103-degree fever, but thankfully this scene only had to be shot
one time. After the production of this movie, dancing became the new trend.
Dances such as, the Bop, the Stroll and the Swing became popular. Poodle skirts
and pony-tails were the style, and “Do Wop” music was what everyone
wanted to hear.

The 60’s rolled
around and with a new decade, came new traditions. A brand new dance became the
new big thing. Chubby Checker released his song entitled “The Twist”
in 1960″. A cheerful dance came out of it. The Twist was the first Rock
& Roll dance in which partners didn’t have to touch each other. Other
popular dances emerged during this time. The “Baby Boomers”
definitely played a role in the explosion of dance in the 60’s. Throughout the
end of this decade many of these dances were seen in movies and on Broadway.

Next we enter 70’s, where
KC and the Sunshine Band topped the charts, and Disco was the new craze. Everyone
knew that sooner or later the sex appeal of disco would make its way to the
film industry. There isn’t a movie that shows this better than Saturday Night. It
became an instant box office hit with the famous dance by John Travolta to Stayin’
Alive. It wasn’t long before everyone wanted to be a part of the disco scene,
eventually groups such as Kiss, and The Rolling Stones were all in on the fun. Toward
the end of the 70’s came the first big Broadway film to hit the box office.
Grease hit the scene in 1978 and it soon became a dance sensation. The dances are
often recreated in dance classes, recitals, shows and other events. Some of
these dances are even trademarked. One of the most famous dance moves from the
movie was “The Hand Jive.” Since then there have been many different
variations of how it is done. Through the years nothing compared to the
Americans love for Disco. It was the last popular movement driven by the baby boomers,
but soon enough came the 80’s.¬† With a
new decade came new traditions, fashions, and of course brand new dances.

The 80’s was the
decade for new moves. From the musicals like Fame and Footloose, to the break
dancing skills showed in the film Breakin’. The 80’s was another step to further
dancing and musicals. In the film industry of the 80’s one of the biggest
successes was Dirty Dancing. Something that most people don’t know was that
Dirty Dancing was a true story based on the screenwriter, Eleanor Bergstein’s
own childhood. Before release actors and creators were scolded saying this may
be the worst movie of its time. Little did they know that Dirty Dancing is
considered today, “the best dance movie ever made”. As of 2007 the
film grossed $213.9 million worldwide. The 80’s has been said to be “the
decade of dance,” there was break dancing, the Worm, the Moonwalk and
more. During the 80’s the dancing took a stepon where we see it today.

The beginning of the
90’s dance styles was very similar to the 80’s. The same dance movies were
being watched and most people were still stuck in the 80’s style. As the 1990’s
continued dance moves such as the Macarena, the Cha Cha Slide, the Running Man,
and the Electric Slide emerged creating group dancing.

Moving forward but
taking a step back¬† the 70’s and 80’s based
musical Hairspray was the fourth highest grossing musical film in US cinema
history, behind Grease, Chicago and Momma Mia! This film is set in Baltimore in
1963; the story is about a plump teenager Tracy Turnblad (Nikki Blonsky) who
seeks stardom as a dancer on a local television show. The 1988 original version
of Hairspray earned 6.6 million and was nominated for 4 awards, while the 2007
version earned 188.8 million in the box office, was nominated for 3 Golden
Globes, won 12 other awards, and had 18 other nominations. This was an
energetic musical, will make people want to get up and sing and dance. The
final and most recent successful 2006 dance movie Step Up. It is a perfect
example of what dance has become today. Step Up is the story of a privileged
ballet dancer who meets a free style dance rebel with a dream of dancing
professionally In this film there was a mix of hip-hop, ballet, modern and
break dancing to make this film perfect for this list of movies that helped our
styled evolve today. This movie earned 65.3 million in the box office, won one
award and was nominated for 3 other awards.

Things
have definitely changed from the 1950’s until today, but one thing in common
with all of these movies is the real message; follow your dreams, and never
give up on the things that you want. Also it just gives most people the urge to
get up and dance.