Looking for good videos of dancing
April 6, 2019 12:09 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for short videos of impressive dance routines, for people who don't know much about dancing

My kids and I have lately taken to watching Youtube videos of good dance routines. We know nothing about dance; they are 3 and 6 and I am probably about as dance illiterate as it is possible to be in this culture. So I am not sure if what we call "good" would be what people who know anything would call good. I will instead just list some of the kinds of characteristics of videos we've found that have been hits.

- Big emotional music is nice, nothing too slow
- Impressive athleticism in the dancing: flips and acrobatics always go down well
- Videos no longer than five minutes
- Can be individuals or groups
- Complex choreography

As an indication of the kinds of things we've liked a lot:

Take me to church ballet dancer
Dance troupe on America's got talent

Any other great links I can share with the kids?
posted by forza to Media & Arts (32 answers total) 43 users marked this as a favorite
Old Hollywood musicals are full of fun dances. Some classic examples: Moses Supposes from Singin' in the Rain, the ceiling dance from Royal Wedding, and the barn dance from Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.
posted by trig at 12:58 AM on April 6, 2019 [6 favorites]

Fik-Shun rocks a World of Dance event with a brain-melting routine

Thom Yorke's medley of eccentric moves in the music video for "Lotus Flower", plus a spiritual sequel with interpretive dance partner Fukiko Takase in the video for "Ingenue"

Nonstop's incredibly liquid dancing (previously). Slightly over your time limit, but it's so good.

Electroswing dancing peppered with throwback vaudevillian gestures

More recently, It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia made waves when one of the main characters came out to his dad in a spellbinding rain-slicked dance sequence set to haunting music

And an old MeFi favorite: Prisencolinensinainciusol, in which Italian singer Adriano Celentano and a vaguely unsettling troupe of dancers perform a gibberish song about universal love. Includes an early example of headbanging (in black and white!)
posted by Rhaomi at 3:59 AM on April 6, 2019 [3 favorites]

Hellzapoppin with the Frankie Manning dance troupe.
posted by bonobothegreat at 4:18 AM on April 6, 2019 [3 favorites]

The Nicholas brothers in Stormy Weather check all your boxes.
posted by I claim sanctuary at 4:34 AM on April 6, 2019 [3 favorites]

You want acrobatics? This is more contortionists, but try Solid Potato Salad.
posted by LizardBreath at 4:54 AM on April 6, 2019 [2 favorites]

Locking & popping That's part of an annual competition called Battle of the Year (BOTY). So if you liked that video use that as a search term on youtube you find lots of cool dancing.
posted by jouke at 5:32 AM on April 6, 2019

Russ Tamblyn (Amber’s father) was an amazing acrobatic dancer. He’s in the Seven Brides for Seven Brothers clip above and was also in West Side Story. You can search his name on YouTube for more.
posted by FencingGal at 5:33 AM on April 6, 2019 [3 favorites]

Most of what Christopher Walken knows, he learned from Fred and Ginger.
posted by flabdablet at 6:03 AM on April 6, 2019

I find Pilobolus mesmerizing (here’s an example) and the bit I’ve seen of Diavolo is pretty fun.
posted by Empidonax at 6:25 AM on April 6, 2019 [1 favorite]

Search #kpopinpublic in youtube and you will find a ton of videos of amateurs and semi-pros doing some pretty complex choreography. Also a lot of kpop songs come with (official!) dance practice videos. Here's a taste so you can decide if it’s for you not: https://youtu.be/4A2U4Rhrkgk
posted by forforf at 6:44 AM on April 6, 2019

They might also like Bollywood dance scenes, which are often really fun but I haven't seen enough to know the best ones to suggest. Here's one, though! (Pinga from Bajirao Mastani).
posted by trig at 7:21 AM on April 6, 2019

This is fun. Search term: Bhangra
Maritime Bhangra Group
posted by scorpia22 at 7:22 AM on April 6, 2019

You need to see B-GIRL TERRA (6 Years Old) Vs B-BOY LEELOU . So amazing. Watch it not just for the sick moves, but for the amazing way everyone supports and celebrates the great moves. After that, watch this double battle where Terra will tell your kids to eat their fruits and veggies (though that only happens later in the video, so past your 5 min requirement).
posted by Sauter Vaguely at 8:04 AM on April 6, 2019

Here's a fairly athletic West Coast Swing performance: Benji Schwimmer and Nicole Clonch. It's choreographed but still fundamentally partner dance; for a strictly improvised example (these people don't know their partner or the song), here's Benji Schwimmer & Malia San Nicolas.

For salsa: John and Andrew on America's Got Talent has a lot of athleticism.
posted by batter_my_heart at 8:34 AM on April 6, 2019 [1 favorite]

79 year old woman salsa dancing The whole video's 6:57, and absolutely worth watching, but just the dancing goes from about 1:00 and stops about 3:00.

If that wasn't enough, here's a 96 year old woman ballroom dancing. Actual dancing goes from 3:25 to 6::, whole video is 7:09, and absolutely worth watching.

Kenichi Ebina does "Dance-ish" performance. Blows me away every time I watch it. Which is like twice a month.

"Gravity" Wheelchair Dance by Marisa Hamamoto & Piotr Iwanicki makes me cry it's so beautiful and inspiring.

Chinese Ballet does Swan Lake. Another one where I'm blown away every time I watch. Which is also at least twice a month.
posted by The Almighty Mommy Goddess at 10:02 AM on April 6, 2019

Perhaps cheerleading? Real or in movies?
posted by jacquilynne at 10:14 AM on April 6, 2019

I immediately thought of this viral video of PJ and Noah's first dance.
posted by hydra77 at 10:34 AM on April 6, 2019

Might enjoy youtube searches for acro rock and roll (it's a competitive discipline so there are thousands!), for example this one

Could also check out Latin formation dancesport. this one was a particularly memorable routine that won the world championships a couple of times!

Another possible search term is dancesport quickstep and look for the professional showdance routines!
posted by kadia_a at 11:15 AM on April 6, 2019

This early colour musical footage from Gold Diggers of Broadway (1929) cuts out before the end of the song but if you skip the chatty intro and start about halfway through you'll see a glorious mishmash of chorus line, ballet, tap, acrobatics and something startlingly close to modern B boy stylings.
posted by bonobothegreat at 11:21 AM on April 6, 2019 [1 favorite]

A 1907 piece of slapstick, The Piano, set to modern musics. Directed by Alice Guy, a pioneer of cinema, nearly forgotten. The dancing isn't professional, but is totally energetic dancing around the livingroom. (Which, at 3:00&ff, seems to have not changed in a hundred years.)

Milena Siderova as THE SPIDER.

Polka dancers at a traditional wedding.

Daniel Cloud Campos, q.v.

Hip-Hop Tinikling

Russian mens' ballet corps doing unbelievable things with staves, plus other stuff

The Washington Ballet's hardest dance moves, narrated by the dancers
posted by clew at 11:51 AM on April 6, 2019 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: These are so cool everyone!!!
posted by forza at 3:06 PM on April 6, 2019

If you like tap dancing, there's the Tap Dance Archive on YouTube
posted by radioamy at 4:33 PM on April 6, 2019

Fred Astaire considered this dance number by the Nicholas Brothers the most impressive dance routine ever. Every dancer I have ever shown this too has been flabbergasted. The move they do going down the stairs...? Unbelievable.
posted by Jane the Brown at 6:07 PM on April 6, 2019 [3 favorites]

What fun! Here are some wonderful ones that I don't think have been touched on yet:

Baryshnikov is always such fun, but here's a great one that showcases some other dancers too, has many athletic feats, and shows how ballet can be funny.

Gregory Hines (you can skip the first 1-2 minutes of him just singing)

Unfortunately not the best quality, but I think Alvin Ailey's Sinnerman (from the larger work Revelations) is one of the most exciting examples of the drama, athleticism, and emotion in modern dance.

If you want something a little lighter but in the same vein, try Wade in the Water, also from Revelations.

I'll try to come back with more!
posted by CiaoMela at 6:45 PM on April 6, 2019

This Kenzo world ad with Margaret Qualley is always a fun watch.

Along with this random fella doing the cha-cha slide.
posted by ataco at 7:08 PM on April 6, 2019 [1 favorite]

one of my all time favorite things to watch, soloists from the Moscow ballet doing the Arabian dance from the Nutcracker
posted by fingersandtoes at 9:01 PM on April 6, 2019

Shirley Ellis : The Nitty Gritty
Dave Brubeck - Unsquare Dance (Really, we all need more Dave Brubeck in our lives.)
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 10:20 PM on April 6, 2019

this video shot under water blew my mind.

also, that kid in Sia's music videos is a fun dancer. Maddie?
posted by speakeasy at 12:33 AM on April 7, 2019

South Korean variety show Weekly Idol had an reoccurring segment called 2x Dance, in which the guests (various high profile k-pop groups) performed their choreographies at double speed. Quite insane stuff. Here's an hour long compilation. Personally I'm a big fan of NCT's dance routines, so I'd recommend this compilation video of their appearances as a taster!
posted by soundofsuburbia at 9:55 AM on April 7, 2019

I'm a bit late to the party, but this tap-dancing video to Anna Kendrick's "Cups" song is a lot of fun.
posted by octothorp at 11:38 AM on April 8, 2019

Maddie Ziegler and Travis Wall Begin at 7:24 for the polished routine. About two minutes. If you like this, Maddie is featured in Sia's Chandelier and Elastic Heart, but they are both heavyweight emotional content and set with some extraordinary dancing.
posted by effluvia at 10:41 AM on April 15, 2019

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