Battle of the Year premieres in theaters this weekend, extending the run of movies created for the sole purpose of showing off fancy dance moves. Dance battle movies break no new ground, and their plots usually leave audiences rolling their eyes. But these movies aren’t out to dazzle critics. They want to inspire fans to get up and dance. Whether you attempt the moves in the privacy of your bedroom or in front of the judgmental eyes of your friends at a party, the following five movies from the noughties made you want to dance.
5. Bring It On (2000)
Bring It On, now a cult classic, asked viewers to believe that Eliza Dushku and Gabrielle Union, who were, respectively, 20 and 28 at the time of the release, were high school cheerleaders. Dushku joins the cheerleading squad at her new high school after learning that gymnastics is not available. Mortified to learn that the team is stealing its routines from another high school, she brings the plagiarism to the attention of the leader of the squad, the eternally perky Torrance (portrayed by Kirsten Dunst). What ensues is nothing short of a classic. “Spirit fingers” were pop culture gold.
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4. B-Girl (2009)
This dance flick starred Julie Urich, a member of the Beat Freaks (MTV’s ABDC), as Angela, a teenager who moves to Los Angeles after being stabbed by her abusive boyfriend. It’s not long before she finds a dance crew and tries to get back into break dancing, but she is limited by her injuries. Eventually she joins the crew as its sixth member and battles other dancers at a competition. The plot is a muddled mess, and Urich isn’t a great actor. But the final dance scene is undeniably great.
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3. Stomp the Yard (2007)
This movie introduced choreographer-turned-actor Columbus Short to the world. He played a troubled teenager, who attends college in Atlanta, after his brother (Chris Brown) is killed. He arrives at school, quickly shows off his dance skills and is invited by two competing fraternities to join their crews. He meets a girl, learns there is no “I” in team, and his frat takes on other groups in a stepping competition. Stereotypes and clichés abound, but the ending battle manages to transcend it all.
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2. Step Up 2: The Streets (2008)
The first installment of Step-Up, though plagued by a contrived plot, introduced Channing Tatum. The second, The Streets, took things a step further, giving us Adam Sevani. Sevani’s “Moose” wasn’t even the main character, but he managed to shine in this film, which revolves around a teenage girl who leaves her old dance crew behind for a chance at a brighter future at the Maryland School of the Arts. Cheesy platitudes ensue and no one cares. Why? Watch below.
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1. You Got Served (2004)
You’ve seen it. Everyone has! So it’s still OK to know all the members of B2K by name. It’s the street dancing competition film that kicked off several actual dance competitions across the nation. It shows the struggles of a group of Los Angeles inner city kids as they fight for their futures, individually and collectively, through dance. It’s got drug dealers-turned-loan sharks, loving grandmothers and a somber warning of what happens when you break the bro-code. Say it with us: “Served! Served! Served!” Too far?
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