It’s not exactly hard to find great dance scenes in films that are all about dancing. However, as a dancer or dance lover, it’s always a wonderful surprise when a dance scene comes out of nowhere in a different kind of film. They tap into the core of dance, in that it can reveal character, story, what a person is thinking and feeling, or what they want deep inside. So, here are 6 of our favourite dancing scenes from non-dance movies!

Pulp Fiction – 50s Dance Competition Scene

You’re Vincent Vega, you’re a mobster, and your dangerous boss has asked you to entertain his wife. Naturally, they go for burgers at a 50s diner – complete with $5 milkshakes – and the loose cannon Mia Wallace demands they enter an impromptu dance competition: “I want that trophy, so dance good.”

pulp fiction dance scene

The dance scene is iconic and highlights the mixture of chaos and sexual tension that drives the conflict in their short snippet of the film. Mia Wallace is rebellious and impulsive, while Vincent Vega is cool and calm enough to win a dance competition with zero prior warning. The dancing starts out as “The Twist”, but Tarantino’s last direction was to dance like they were having a good time.

Related: The Multicultural Blend of Dance and Cinema

The Social Network – Caribbean Night Dance

This is a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment – although apparently it took 18 hours to film due to David Fincher’s perfectionism. Eduardo Saverin’s little dance here reveals what a dork he is, but he’s a more likeable, outgoing and joyful dork than the colder man we see when we flash forward.

Eduardo saverin dancing

This shows his difference to Mark Zuckerberg, who wouldn’t dream of dancing in costume just for the fun of it on Caribbean Night. This dance scene also highlights the lightness of their friendship before all the drama caused by Facebook.

Little Miss Sunshine – Beauty Pageant Dance Scene

All through Little Miss Sunshine, young Olive is practising her dance performance for a beauty pageant behind closed doors, never shown to her family or the audience. Only her grandfather Edwin, also her coach, is allowed to see. As the family finally make their cross-country trip to the pageant, all is revealed.

Little miss sunshine dance

Her dancing style, inspired by her grandpa’s love of exotic dance, is a play on a strip club routine. The result is a hilarious culmination of the little girl confidently being her unique self, her family going on stage to dance and support their youngest member, and shock from the crowds despite the clear implication that this is all beauty pageants are at their core.

500 Days of Summer – You Make My Dreams Come True

Nothing says that you spent the night…dancing with the object of your affection than strutting down the street, hitting an imaginary home run, seeing your reflection as that of Han Solo, cartoon tweety birds wishing you a good day, and of course, breaking into a spontaneous dance number with a group of complete strangers.

500 days of summer dance scenes

When Tom finally wins over Summer, he’s on top of the world. And dancing, above all, is an expression of how you feel inside.

This Is the End – An Afterlife Dance Sequence

What gets you in the mood to dance? Surviving the apocalypse probably doesn’t immediately spring to mind. In Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg’s 2013 end of the world comedy, This Is the End, Rogen and his star-studded cast of colleagues battle a biblical end of days and either end up in heaven or hell.

This is the end dancing

In Jay Baruchel, Craig Robinson and Seth Rogen’s first moments in heaven, they decide to test the limits of wish fulfilment with an impromptu dance performance with the Backstreet Boys, of course!

American Wedding – An Impromptu Dance Off

The American Pie movies have aged about as well over the last 20 years as actual pie. However, there is a truly surprising dance competition sequence that comes out of nowhere in the third outing, American Wedding. The jock Stifler is out to prove he can dance as well as a gay man after being embarrassed in front of everybody. In retaliation he starts a dance off, with some colourful results to say the least.

American wedding dancing

What’s your favourite dance scene in a non-dance movie? Reach out and let us know!