friends who dance together
April 5, 2021 4:44 PM   Subscribe

What are some examples of platonic dance scenes in film and tv?

I'm looking for examples of dance scenes in movies or tv shows that are purely platonic. So not a couple that gets together later, or a subtextual tension thing, but just friends dancing together. I'd prefer if they're not super silly/just there as a joke, so like a more serious slow dance vs something goofy. This is surprisingly hard to find! Thanks! Bonus points if it's really great dancing.
posted by colorblock sock to Media & Arts (41 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Harry and Hermione dance together in the last HP movie, 7 or 8 or whatever that was
posted by bq at 4:46 PM on April 5 [6 favorites]

I suppose the Romy and Michelle dance to Time After Time is a joke, but it’s quite moving in a way.
posted by kapers at 4:47 PM on April 5 [4 favorites]

There is a lovely, platonic dance scene between Stamets and Burnham in the Star Trek Discovery season 1 episode Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad.
posted by Ideal Impulse at 4:52 PM on April 5 [1 favorite]

Season 1 ep 3 of Girls has Hannah and Marnie dancing to Robyn although the “dancing together” bit is actually quite short.
posted by janepanic at 5:03 PM on April 5 [1 favorite]

The dance at the end of “My Best Friend’s Wedding.”
posted by Pretty Good Talker at 5:10 PM on April 5 [4 favorites]

In Rainman, Raymond dances with both his brother and with his brother's girlfriend.
posted by hydra77 at 5:13 PM on April 5 [1 favorite]

Mikhail Baryshnikov and Gregory Hines in White Nights?
posted by olopua at 5:14 PM on April 5 [9 favorites]

I'd argue that although they are mother and daughter, Lorelai and Rory Gilmore are also friends. So, I'd count Stars Hollow's 24-hour dance marathon in They Shoot Gilmores, Don't They?
posted by The Wrong Kind of Cheese at 5:19 PM on April 5

Apparently the Gray's Anatomy folks dance a lot, but I was inspired to watch this scene with Sandra Oh's character after reading Shonda Rime's autobiography.
posted by hydra77 at 5:19 PM on April 5 [6 favorites]

The final scene of series one of Derry Girls
posted by storpsmop at 5:48 PM on April 5 [2 favorites]

Two of the most famous:

Bande a Part
Vivre Sa Vie

Which directly inspired:

Surviving Desire
posted by dobbs at 5:52 PM on April 5 [5 favorites]

Is The Breakfast Club dance montage too obvious? My friends and I loved replicating the dance scenes by Kid ‘n Play in House Party (I am not good at it but it’s awesome!)
What about the awesome dance at the beginning of Do the Right Thing? Is that Rosie Perez alone or doesn’t someone join her? Broad City recreated that scene at the beginning of an episode. Ilana and Abbi dance together in a few episodes. I’m glad someone mentioned Girls because I thought those friends dancing was the best part of that series.
Also: Donald Glover’s This is America in Guava Island and great dancing in other scenes from the movie too.
posted by areaperson at 6:09 PM on April 5 [4 favorites]

McQueen's Lover's Rock is 80 minutes of this.
posted by PinkMoose at 6:09 PM on April 5 [2 favorites]

Most episodes of Ally McBeal end with the characters dancing together, mostly platonically.
posted by mermaidcafe at 6:30 PM on April 5 [1 favorite]

Mad Men, S7 "Strategy". Peggy and Don dance together. Definitely platonic. Very sweet.

This happens in Grey's Anatomy frequently, but it's more upbeat, fun, party type dancing with a bunch of friends dancing together. So probably not what you're after.
posted by litera scripta manet at 6:57 PM on April 5

Johnny Five and Stephanie in Short Circuit. (Robots are our friends...)
posted by evilmomlady at 7:01 PM on April 5

Random subway passengers dance during the end credits to "The Last Days of Disco".
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 8:46 PM on April 5 [2 favorites]

This brother and sister dance scene from The Skeleton Twins might fit the bill
posted by wowenthusiast at 9:24 PM on April 5 [2 favorites]

That's a tough one, since partner dancing is kinda movie code for 'ooo, they're gonna get together'.

Here's Eleanor Powell and Fred Astaire, keeping it professional on a not-date, one dancer to another.
Do dogs count as friends? Here's Eleanor again, working out some choreography with her roommate.

Wait, is this for inviting friends over for a party? Perhaps you could tell them to Ease on down the road to your place with Diana (Dorothy) Ross and Michael (Scarecrow) Jackson.
Or, I don't know if this counts as dancing, but if you make the blowing of the ram's horn at the beginning into a notice that all your distanced friends have now been fully vaccinated and can come outside and play? I still wouldn't want to get the water from Bethesda Fountain near my face, but it seems joyful.

This one's great dancing for sure, but it needs a little context. In the previous scene, Fred was giving dance instructor Ginger a post-meet-cute hard time by pretending to be the worst dancer ever and unteachable. She told him so, just as her boss walked in, and was fired on the spot (it's 1936, Great Depression, yikes). So he turns it around and shows off everything she "just taught him", having come in demonstrably hopeless an hour ago, in front of said boss. Job saved.
They break the romance rules later in the movie. But I put it in here because Ginger's ability to dance from the shoulders down and act from the neck up, conveys a platonic progression from 'Sayyy!' to 'Oh, you're good, this'll be fun' to 'Ok, I think I just found my new best friend'.
(And I'm in love with that dress, so I always post it.)
posted by bartleby at 10:18 PM on April 5 [1 favorite]

There ought to be some in pre-WWII movies with a lead and a second lead having a conversation as they dance. Hm.
posted by clew at 10:50 PM on April 5

Gene Kelley and his best friend dancing Moses Supposes his Toeses are Roses in Singin in The Rain!
posted by nantucket at 10:57 PM on April 5 [8 favorites]

The series Happy Endings had a number of dance scenes, usually in their season ending wedding episodes, where the group would dance together. On occasion some paired off, like Max and Penny, who were best friends.
posted by kitten kaboodle at 1:31 AM on April 6

Seconding Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor from Singin’ In The Rain as one of the great platonic dance duos. Here’s Fit as a Fiddle (which they started filming the same day they finished Moses Supposes... how???)
posted by Pallas Athena at 1:41 AM on April 6 [3 favorites]

Here is a lovely, lovely French documentary about an annual week-long festival where several thousand people (some friends, some strangers) get together to dance joyously day and night.
Le Grand Bal - review 1
Le Grand Bal - review 2, with sub-titled trailer
posted by The Patron Saint of Spices at 3:38 AM on April 6

One of my favorite scenes of all time: the girls in Girlhood dancing together to Diamonds by Rihanna.
posted by mellophone at 3:50 AM on April 6

From the TV show Ugly Betty, Betty and Daniel (her boss/friend) dancing
posted by Pineapplicious at 5:12 AM on April 6

Season 2 Episode 7 of the Netflix tv show Sex Education features two middle-aged women going out dancing for a night. It's quite lovely (the show, the episode, and the scene).
posted by hepta at 6:01 AM on April 6 [1 favorite]

The fandango dance scene at the end of the movie Fandango only sorta kinda qualifies, but it is a great scene so maybe you will allow it? The Costner character in the movie lost the girl; she has married someone else, so they have devolved to friends of a sort. Youtube video, the dance itself starts about 4 minutes in.
posted by gudrun at 6:04 AM on April 6

Ettore Scola's 1983 movie Le Bal has no dialogue and only features people dancing.
posted by elgilito at 6:13 AM on April 6

posted by theora55 at 6:16 AM on April 6

The "Surprise Party" episode of Schitt's Creek near the end of season one has Stevie and David dance as friends, although the scene is brief.

Schitt's Creek episode "Happy Anniversary" at the end of season two has a lovely scene where the Rose family dances together while awkwardly declaring their love for one another, while in the background Jocelyn Schitt dances with her son Mutt.

This dance lesson montage from Footloose.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 6:27 AM on April 6 [1 favorite]

There's a scene in Shall We Dance where Stanley Tucci and Richard Gere are in the mens' room at work. Gere is just starting to learn how to dance. Tucci has been dancing for years. Tucci decides to show Gere a few steps (before they get interrupted). It's a nice scene. Actually, the whole movie has people who become friends learning to dance together. Yes, Gere and Jennifer Lopez share some will-they-won't-they tension but in the end they don't and stay friends, so any dance scenes between them qualify.
posted by sardonyx at 6:34 AM on April 6 [2 favorites]

For some reason I thought of Black Angel Vol. 1, where the two killers are hanging out in a hotel room, enjoying each other's company. They then break into dance, all done in one take. The film is violent and misogynistic, but that one little bit of happiness in their totally crappy lives shines like a star. Here's the scene.
posted by jabah at 6:55 AM on April 6

It relies a lot on context for its punch, but Doc Cochran and Jewel dancing in the Gem in the season 1 finale of Deadwood is one of my favorite TV scenes of all time. The hints at romance are all between the watchers, not the dancers.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 10:34 AM on April 6

In this episode of Cheers, Sam and Carla enter a dance contest. There are a couple different dancing scenes in it.
posted by _Mona_ at 10:40 AM on April 6

Shall We Dance is a great example of what OP is asking for. In the original Japanese version, none of the dance partners are romantic IIRC.

The male lead, Sugiyama, does start out with a sort of muse/crush on Mai, the studio's star dancer; but they talk it out like adults and he gets over it and they end up as friends. Sugiyama also has a lovely, respectful student-teacher bond with Tamako-sensei, the beginner dance instructor.

On YouTube in full with English subtitles here.
posted by Pallas Athena at 3:14 PM on April 6 [1 favorite]

The scenes in Dirty Dancing where Patrick Swayze dances with his original dance partner (Penny) might work - the movie is very clear that they are purely platonic friends.
posted by yarrow at 3:20 PM on April 6

Fonzie and Mrs. Cunningham dance together (platonically, of course!) on Happy Days.
posted by mefireader at 3:24 PM on April 6

Will Gardner and Diane Lockhart dance together several times in The Good Wife when they're celebrating some coup or other late at night in one of their offices, and they never become a couple.
posted by orange swan at 3:33 PM on April 6

It's not particularly great dancing but I always liked this scene from Person of Interest: A More Perfect Union (season 5, episode 6) between Root and Finch. If you haven't seen the show, their friendship had complicated beginnings (to say the least ...) but it ended in a place of understanding and respect. It was always platonic, though, and it's really one of my favorite woman-man friendships that never felt sexual or romantic. This was a moment of quiet kindness and intimacy between them.

(I got the impression that Amy Acker and Michael Emerson really liked each other and got along well. I don't know if that's true but they are lovely on this show together.)
posted by edencosmic at 3:57 PM on April 6

Not a partner dance, but fun anyway: In Orphan Black there's a friendly dance party scene involving 4 clones all played by the same actor.
posted by doift at 7:02 PM on April 6 [1 favorite]

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