For those of y'all who don't know, let me tell you a lil something about me: I've been dancing pretty much all my life. All of my baby videos are of me trying to get my groove on. I'm 60% sure that I was two stepping in the womb. As soon as I got old enough to be a pest my mom kicked me out the house like Pam in the summer and put me in the Dance Theater of Harlem camps that lasted up until me joining my dance company in undergrad. Basically, I'm a Dancing Ass Negro - a DAN, if you will.
Now, Misty Copeland I am not. I could never take my talents internationally. My turnout isn't strong enough, my discipline is lacking, and I like too many fried things. So I had to put my plans of hitting my Aunt Jackie all across the world on hold.
What is a fly DAN like me to do? Well rest easy my friends. I have managed to divert my energies into a very important niche skillset.
…I'm pretty sure I've watched every dance-related movie or TV show known to man.
"Shamira, everyone has watched Save the Last Dance", you might be thinking. Oh ye of little faith! You remember when Keri had the flat top? That's cute. Did you watch Save the Last Dance 2 that went straight to VHS and replaced Julia Stiles with another pie faced white chick and acted like we wouldn't notice it in under ten minutes? Have you watched Stomp the Yard 2: Homecoming where we first discovered the glory of Tika Sumpter? Did you know Casper Smart first as J. Lo's new boy toy or as a dancer on Honey 2? Can you recognize Step Up extras by their season of So You Think You Can Dance OR America's Best Dance Crew? I keep it thorough.
A few months ago I paid 4.99 to watch a dance movie On Demand about b-boy crews fighting for a fictional international title. The white guy who played Sawyer from Lost? Josh Holloway was supposed to be a b-boy phenom who threw it all away. I don't regret my choice one bit.
I truly believe life would be so much better if we just broke out into impromptu dance battles when folks are beefing with each other. Imagine Tyrone having to hit an 8-count to let Darryl know exactly how much he got him fucked up. Let him know, Tyrone! Let your feelings be heard! Do your best Chris Brown crump! Beat your feet til you can't beat em no mo'! Do it for Lil' Saint!* **
My loyalty to this genre, as you can tell, is unflappable. With that said, I present to you the power ranking of the Top 3 Dance Movies That Ever Did It:
3. Save the Last Dance - one of the weaker movies from a dance perspective but it gets credit for setting a trend. Race relations! Class struggles! Two worlds colliding is the lynchpin of 70% of all cinematic dance experiences.
2. You Got Served - easily the best thing that Chris Stokes ever did for society if only because the 5 minute montage of Marques Houston trying to recover from a "broken leg" is truly the best comedy out there. Shout out to Lala's original nose!
1. Step Up - Adam Shankman created a franchise of epic proportions. Great dancing AND bad acting? Check. Fine white guy with a fresh caesar? Check. Dude that can't do real choreo but freestyles and does acrobatics so well that you let it slide? Check. Top that off with a dope soundtrack - how much more could you really ask for in life?
There you have it, folks. Questions? Comments? Concerns? Meet me near some cardboard and a boom box and we can top rock it out.
*It is an indisputable fact that a dance movie cannot be elevated into the upper echelon if they do not have a child's death spurring two folks to put their differences aside and JUST DANCE. See: Step Up, Stomp the Yard, You Got Served, etc.
**Also this may or may not have been my dance company's unofficial chant right before we went on stage for a show.