Remember those good, old times when every new day was an adventure waiting to unravel and every movie you saw was a love at first watching? The fact that we’re adults who may (or may not) have grown out of love with Flashdance doesn’t make dance movies any less of an impact on our formative years. As a matter of fact, musicals we’ve seen in childhood were an integral part of our music education, and as such helped our younger selves develop rock-solid linguistic and spatial-temporal skills to go with an admirable IQ, memory, and talents. For all the benefits and enjoyment musicals brought us, let’s give a round of applause to the best dance movies that enriched our childhood and remember the melodies many among us still hum in the shower.
Who could ever forget Annie’s dreamful ‘Maybe’ or her buoyant ‘Tomorrow’? The tale of a little orphan girl and her dog Sandy is one of those that stay with you for a lifetime and inspire a smile every time we go back to them for a fresh dose of childlike faith that everything will turn out just fine in the end. After a series of antics and adventures ranging from dramatic to comical, Annie eventually gets her heart’s biggest desire, and the scintillating smile that seldom leaves her lips never fails to rekindle our faith in happy endings in the face of adversity.
The Sound of Music (1965)
You can’t really say you’ve ever been a kid if you haven’t seen The Sound of Music. As we follow Maria’s path from the convent to her Happily Ever After with Captain von Trapp and his children, we’re reminded of the power of an open heart and positive thinking that can make the world a better place even in the most precarious of times. After the closing credits, Maria’s “confidence in confidence alone” remains in our minds as a private lighthouse we can turn to when the going gets tougher than we’d like it to be.
The Wizard of OZ (1939)
Dorothy Gale sure is a strong girl underneath her meek semblance, and she doesn’t give up on her desires and dreams easily. As we follow Dorothy’s journey to the Emerald City to meet the Wizard of OZ, we’re constantly reminded that all we seek is right there inside us: we’re as gentle as the Tinman, as courageous as the Lion, and as smart as the Scarecrow, and we certainly have all it takes to beat the Wicked Witch of the West. ‘There’s no place like home’ is one of the lessons the movie leaves with us, along with renewed faith in the power of good over evil.
John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John certainly know what romance, dance, and music are all about, and they’re not afraid to show it on the big screen. As the love story between Sandy and Danny unravels, the old adage about love being able to conquer all is put to test time and time again, only to emerge triumphant at the closing scenes of the musical. Even though its plot is up the coming-of-age lane, Grease is one of the biggest movies of the 20th century even folks who don’t normally watch musicals need to see at least twice.
This one goes out to all the rebels at heart who won’t settle with less than rock and dance. Ren McCormack is a teenage boy from the city trying to set his life in a small town on the right foot and coming across obstacles en route. As Ren struggles to make his voice heard and restore the right to dancing and music at the prom to his peers, the adult audience is reminded of all the challenges they’ve gone up against during their teenage years – and kids get to learn a thing or two about the value of friendship, fights for righteous ends, and bopping to rock tunes.
Mary Poppins (1964)
Life can be supercalifragilisticexpialidocious if you’re in good company and know how to find fun and magic in every day. Miss Poppins, a peculiar nanny with a pack of Wow-ing magical tricks in her handbag, will color the life of a cold-hearted banker’s kids in all the shades of the rainbow, reminding us that silver linings can be as real and as dazzling as we want them to be. Even if you prefer to watch documentaries online, Mary Poppins is a must-see: it will clear away the clouds on a rainy day and inspire you to dream big and see a chance for adventure at every corner.
We’ve had the time of our lives watching musicals back when the world was sparkling new – and we should by all means go back to dance movies when the world turns grim and lackluster. After all, growing up is mandatory, but growing old shouldn’t exactly be an option you should jump at just yet. The world may not always be bright, but when it turns a tad more disheartening than usual, it’s as good a time as any to let the musicals play and dance to the classic melodies in your pajamas.