Throughout the years there have been numerous films centered around dance. To date, the majority have been love or coming of age stories, but have you ever wondered which dance styles are featured most? The recent surge of interest in ballroom dancing is reflected in the number of motion pictures featuring ballroom dance. However, by far, the vast majority of films are centered around a hip-hop or ballet theme. Can you guess the number of films featuring Swing dancing? Let’s have a look.
Dating back to the 1930’s, Swing’s hay day, A film called A Day at the Races by Sam Wood (1937), essentially debuted Swing dance to the masses on film. Not long after in 1941, Hellzapoppin’ featured Whiteys Lindy Hoppers.
Following decades of dormancy, Walt Disney put some pep in the step of his soon to be classic characters with a brief Swing dance scene in The Jungle Book, to a song that became iconic in animated film. Jumping ahead to modern times, after a few decades of silence, groundbreaking filmmaker Spike Lee added a little levity to his profound biographical 1992 film Malcolm X, with a brief yet memorable Swing dance scene.
The 1980′ and 90’s ushered in a time when dance started to become a primary focus of films again. Starting with Swing Kids in 1993, later followed by Love N’ Dancing in 2009 and Leading Ladies in 2010.
From drama to comedy and animation, as strikingly different as these films are, the one thing they share in common is their use of Swing music and dance as a focal point of the story, along with their ability to inspire large audiences and new generations to dance.