A scene from Dirty Dancing (Photo: Lion’s Gate Home Ent.)
There’s no fighting the urge to dance, because as Gloria Estefan famously sang, the rhythm is going to get you. Some of our favorite movies feature unforgettable dance scenes, and their iconic moves populate dance floors all over the U.S. To aid in planning your cross-country dance road trip (because obviously you’re planning one), here are the locations where some of your favorite dance scenes were filmed.
(500) Days of Summer — California
Nothing makes a person want to dance quite like falling in love. And that’s exactly what spurred this dance scene by Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s character, Tom, in (500) Days of Summer. The day after spending the night with his new love, Summer, Tom walks to work with a little extra spring in his step. The result is an impromptu dance with strangers. If you’re planning your own flash mob dance party, just head to the Civic Center Mall in Los Angeles. The dance scene took place between Hill and Grand streets.
The Civic Center Mall in Los Angeles (Photo: Wikipedia)
Step Up — Baltimore
It was the movie that introduced the world to Channing Tatum. Step Up tells the classic tale of a serious ballerina who falls in love with a street-savvy break dancer. As they overcome their differences, the couple falls in love after dancing together on a rooftop overlooking a river. It is arguably the most romantic scene in the movie, however, it was shot at the least romantic place ever — a power plant. The couple is actually dancing on the Riverside power plant on Broening Highway in Dundalk, Md. We guess the location helped them to be light on their toes… get it?!
The Riverside Generating Station in Dundalk, Maryland. (Photo: Exelon Corp.)
Grease — California
History is filled with great couples. Cleopatra and Caesar, those kissing dogs from Lady and the Tramp, and Sandy and Danny. The musical Grease has so many epic singing and dancing scenes that it’s hard to pick just one. But when we think about the quintessential dance-off moment, it would have to be the Born to Hand Jive contest at the high school dance. While Rydell High School is the scene of the dance in the movie, in real life it was Huntington Park School in Huntington Park, Calif.
Huntington Park High School (Photo: Huntington Park High School Alumni Association)
Dirty Dancing — Virginia
You’ve probably seen Dirty Dancing a million times, and if you haven’t, you’re probably the only one. The movie follows a sheltered girl named “Baby” and her transition to womanhood after meeting and falling in love with her dance instructor played by the late Patrick Swayze. Baby and her family are vacationing at the fictitious Kellerman Resort, which in real life is the Mountain Lake Lodge in Pembroke, Va. That means you can actually visit the place the infamous lift scene took place and where Swayze’s character proudly proclaimed that no one puts Baby in a corner. Swoon!
Mountain Lake Lodge in Pembroke, Virginia. (Photo: Mountain Lake Lodge)
Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo — California
The movie Breakin’ was iconic. So much so that the studio released a sequel titled Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo the next year. This movie is 94 minutes of freestyle moves and pure funk. One memorable scene features two rival gangs in a gritty dance-off under a bridge. That bridge is located on East Fourth Street in Boyle Heights in Los Angeles and is still there. No one will judge you if you visit just to recreate the infamous scene with your friends.
The 4th St aqueduct in Boyle Heights, Los Angeles (Photo: Alissa Walker/Flickr)
“Beat It” — California
We couldn’t make this list without mentioning the King of Pop, Michael Jackson. The music video for “Beat It” was groundbreaking and features two rival gangs preparing for the most epic street battle ever. We don’t know why they’re mad, but their perfectly choreographed knife fight gets interrupted by MJ, who shows them how dancing can solve any problem. It turns out the video’s grittiness wasn’t an act. The dance scene was filmed in a warehouse located at 1013 Fifth St. in Los Angeles’s Skid Row.
The Jing San Food warehouse in Los Angeles (Photo: City-Data.com)
Save the Last Dance — Chicago
It’s a tale as old as time. Boy meets girl. Girl falls in love with boy after he teachers her how to dance. And so it went in the Chicago-based movie, Save the Last Dance. Julia Stiles plays Sara Johnson, a ballerina who has lost faith in her ability to dance. That’s when she meets Derek, a street-smart student and an amazing hip-hop dancer. Their love grows as they dance together, and using her newfound confidence, Sara gives a hip-hop-inspired ballet performance to get into Juilliard. The movie doesn’t disclose where the audition is, but in real-life, that memorable scene took place at the iconic Chicago Theatre on 175 N. State St. in downtown Chicago.
The Chicago Theatre in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo: Jackman Chiu/Flickr)
Footloose — Utah
We dare you to watch Footloose without tapping your toes. Kevin Bacon stars as Ren MacCormack, a spirited Chicagoan who moves to a small town where dancing and rock music have been banned. During the course of the movie, he persuades the townspeople to start dancing again. But before that, frustrated with his new city, Ren dances out his feelings in a barn. The entire movie was filmed at various locations in Utah County, Utah. And this particular scene took place at the Geneva Steel complex in Vineyard, Utah.
Archival photo of the Geneva Steel Mill (Photo: Andreas Feininger/Wikipedia)
Napoleon Dynamite — Idaho
No movie has done more for the popularity of tater tots than Napoleon Dynamite. This movie is about an odd kid doing odd stuff with his odd friends… and it’s amazing. The movie ends with Napoleon dancing to a Jamiroquai song at the school talent show, and it is truly a sight to behold. The entire film was shot in Idaho, and this memorable scene was filmed at Preston High School, which is located at 151 East 200 South in Preston, Idaho.
Preston High School in Preston, Idaho (Photo: Preston High School)
WATCH: The Most Epic Movie Dance Scenes of All Time