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A (foot)step-by-step approach to great film dance scenes

It’s been a while since I did a film-based list, so I wanted to rectify that oversight, but I didn’t want to skip music altogether, either.

So, I thought I’d share some of my favorite memorable dance sequences from the movies, and I’d welcome your choices, too, in the comment section below.

I can’t go wrong starting with the master, Fred Astaire. Here are three of his countless film scenes — two with astounding dance partners and one unforgettable solo:

• My favorite: “Begin the Beguine,” with Eleanor Powell, from the film “Broadway Melody of 1940.”

“Dancing in the Dark,” his magical Central Park turn with Cyd Charisse, in 1953’s “The Band Wagon.” 

• And his famous dancing-on-the-ceiling scene from 1951’s “Royal Wedding” — and the behind-the-scenes video of how he accomplished the screen magic.

And then a couple of classic dance scenes from timeless Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals:

• Yul Brynner and Deborah Kerr overcoming cultural differences — and falling in love — in “Shall We Dance,” from the 1956 film “The King and I.” My favorite film “couples dance.”

• The energetic “June Is Bustin’ Out All Over,” from the film version of “Carousel,” also from 1956.

And, for some reason, there’s something special about seeing guys dancing in a way that emphasizes the athletic, rather than more aesthetic, side of movement. See if you agree in this wide array of numbers:

• The barn dance number, from the 1954 film “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers,” that starts in a fairly traditional way until about 2 minutes in, when round after round of show-off, macho, “one-up-manship” takes over.

• Even staid business executives cut loose in the “Brotherhood of Man” number from the 1967 film “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.”

And, of course, Gene Kelly makes two appearances:

• His dance with cartoon character Jerry Mouse in the 1945 movie “Anchors Aweigh.”

• And his career showstopper, the title song from 1952’s “Singin’ in the Rain.”

I’ll close with my favorite film ensemble dance (complete with Ann-Margret), the complicated “Lot of Livin’ ” staging from 1963’s “Bye Bye Birdie.”

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