Annette Charles, Classic Western Fashion, Cyd Charisse, Donald O'Connor, Express Yourself, Gene Kelly, Girls Just Want To Have Fun, Holly Gaigner, Janet Jackson, Madonna, Miss You Much, Prom Dresses, Salsa, Sarah Jessica Parker, Seven Brides for the Seven Brothers, Singn' in the Rain
‘I love to dance’. These are the very first words that Sarah Jessica Parker’s character utters in the iconic 80’s dance film- ‘Girls Just Want To Have Fun’. Anyone that knows me knows that I too, love to dance. Growing up I was inspired by all sorts of genres and dance styles. To list them all would make a rather lengthy post, so I’ll name a few. The dance sequences in MGM musicals played (and still play) a huge role in my life because I was introduced arguably to- the best dancers in the world- Gene Kelly and Cyd Charisse.
This clip from ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ still remains one of my favourite dance sequences and truly shows the important role fashion and style can play in dance-
Gene Kelly and Donald O’ Connor introduced me to the fantastic, rhythmic world of tap–
This scene from ‘Seven Brides for the Seven Brothers’ made me want to take ballet and contemporary dance lessons, so I too could look fabulous whilst taking flying leaps into the air. I wanted to take them wearing a classic Western dress with a matching frill petticoat to boot-
I really thank the good Lord for growing up in the 80’s as I believe that era was and still is the strongest era for dance in terms of originality, music scores and charismatic dancers. Even Hollywood seems to think so, as it can’t be bothered to sit down and write an original dance movie, instead it keeps dipping into the ’80’s iconic film well’, but to delve more into that would be to deviate from this post.
Listing all the 80’s films and artists that inspired me to teach myself to dance by replaying certain scenes on my VHS over and over again, would be impossible but I can’t help but list a few.
My favourite 80’s dance films were-
Flashdance, Dirty Dancing RIP Patrick Swayze, Cynthia Rhodes- I adore you), Foot Loose and Girls Just Want To Have Fun. With Hollywood making remakes of almost all of the above, most people are more than familiar with the iconic dance sequences from the above films, so I’ll focus on the one that doesn’t get as much recognition as I would like- Girls Just Want To Have Fun–
As great as Sarah Jessica Parker and her blatant double were, I really feel the dark-haired dancer- Holly Gagnier and her partner should have had lead roles in their own dance movie-
I am also a huge fan of Latin dance styles– Samba and Lambada especially and the 80’s film Salsa, helped ignite that passion. It also made me want to own a red lace 80s prom dress (which I now own, but more on that in a later post)-
Speaking of amazing prom dresses, I can’t help but get a bit side-tracked by this amazing dance sequence by John Travolta and the late Annette Charles in Grease. Both great, charismatic dancers, both dressed in ensembles that packed a lot of pizzazz. Let’s not pretend we don’t know how hard it is for a straight man to pull off the pink shirt John Travolta is wearing.
My favourite 80’s artists who could dance their asses off whilst wearing the most fabulous apparel were-
Michael Jackson, Madonna, Prince and Legs & Co. The latter being an English all-girl dance group that in my mind are seriously underrated. I would love to upload a video from one of their dance sequences, but I can’t seem to access them in Germany.
Bless Madonna for showing me the slick moves a woman could pull in a sharp, tailored suit. That emerald-green long dress wasn’t bad either-
Moving on from the 80’s, certain artists in the 90’s introduced me to the art of hip-hop dance and led me to start taking dance lessons in my late teens. At the top of my list, those artists would be Janet Jackson, Missy Elliott, TLC and Aaliyah.
This chair scene from Janet Jackson’s ‘Miss you much’ video makes me search for a chair to use as a prop in every club I go to-
Artists and films of the above led me to take my first dance class but if I’m being honest, I didn’t really apply myself to my craft and as a result, as cliché as it sounds- I will never be the kind of dancer that I truly wanted to be and could have been. On the flip side, I console myself with the fact that whilst I am not a great dancer, I am a good mover and I love to dance; when I dance I am truly at my most happiest. This I would have to say is the main reason why I am going all ‘Five Find-outers’ (Enid Blyton) and investigating into dance studios in Berlin where I can take Latin, Hip Hop and possible African dance lessons. More on this will follow in later posts, wish me luck!