Thursday, July 2, 2015

How We Learned To Dance: Top 8 Movies That Influenced Our Moves

After I got two articles accepted by The Mid, I was on a writing tear. Then the rest of my articles got rejected. Apparently, the site is developing into something that is not within my writing style or content variety, meaning it seems to be shaping up into a site about parenting and how nostalgia can influence parenting. As we all know, Eddie and I have nothing in our home that we need to keep alive aside from each other--no plants, no pets, no children--so the parenting edge is not in my wheelhouse. Instead of keeping my rejects locked up on my laptop, I present you with this outstanding nostalgia-provoking list. I know I left some out (like Grease 2--let's bowl, let's bowl, let's rock n roll), so feel free to fill in the blanks.

When I was in nursery school, I took tap and ballet lessons. I got to wear a red leotard, sparkly silver vest, white gloves, and a red feathery boa for my recital. Today, while I remember the costume in detail, I do not remember one step. I never took lessons after that. Still, I love to dance. I dance everywhere. And, I can dance. So can you. We all can. Here’s why:

Dirty Dancing (1987)
Baby defied her daddy by sneaking around with Johnny Castle, and we all learned how to avoid spaghetti arms and find the rhythm by listening to our hearts: gu-gung, gu-gung. And who hasn’t dreamed of running and leaping into someone else’s arms to be lifted overhead in glory and awe when “The Time Of My Life” comes on the radio?

Lambada [The Forbidden Dance] (1990)
Baby wasn’t the only girl sneaking around. As kids, we want to see anything that’s forbidden, so this flick seemed like an obvious choice. It was a bit of a letdown since the plot of the movie was about a Brazilian princess coming to America to save the rain forests, but it did present some dance moves that were one level dirtier than those in the “I carried a watermelon” scene in Dirty Dancing.

Footloose (1984)
Ren McCormack wasn’t teaching just Willard Hewitt how to dance. He was teaching the world to dance. Why? Because: “what did David do? [what did David do?] David danced before the lord.” He appealed to the mean Reverend Shaw Moore’s own Bible, and then followed up with every teen’s reason to dance: “Let’s party!”

Can’t Buy Me Love (1987)
Dancing makes you cool. Or if you’re cool, you can do any kind of dance and everyone else will do it. Ronald Miller got cool by bribing the cool girl to fake-date him, and then he got even cooler by showing off his recently-learned dance moves he got from the local publicTV station by accident. Whether we ever repeat his African dance moves in public or not, we all have them in the back of our minds just in case an occasion arises.

Grease (1978)
The musical is a great way to learn how to dance because it’s got lots of dances all through it, and each one goes with a specific song, so we added a lot to our dancing repertoire all within the span of 110 minutes. Hand jive! Dancing on cars! Slumber party dancing and swooning! We’ve got it all.

Beetlejuice (1988)
Harry Belafonte’s chipper groove “Jump in the Line” is one of those songs that sticks around for days when you hear it, and the best way to cope with it is to just shake, shake, shake SeƱora, the same way Lydia Deetz did. Only her way was even better because she got to float up into the air and shake away, complete with backup ghost dancers.

Reality Bites (1994)
Winona Ryder shows off her dance moves a second time years later, and this time it’s not Harry Belafonte, but it is The Knack with “My Sherona” that gets everyone moving. Vickie Miner asks the cashier at the convenience store to turn up the radio and then holds out her hand to Lelaina Pierce, and what follows is some fantastically awkward choreography that taught us we should simply move with the music without caring about what anyone else thinks (a bit too late for Ronald Miller).

The Breakfast Club (1985)
We’ve watched this scene too many times to count, and even though it’s completely and outrageously near impossible, we believe that Andrew Clark can break that class every single time. The best pre-cursor to the awkward moves in Reality Bites, this dance scene is complete with balancing along a banister and hanging off of a statue. While we all have differences, we can all come together in dance. Even in the library where we’re supposed to be quiet. Even in detention when we’re not supposed to move.

So if you ever find yourself frozen on a dance floor, just think back to your favorite dance scene and set yourself free.

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