Photo by Liz Feder, courtesy of F R E E

For the students at Destiny Arts Center, dance isn't just an after-school activity, it's a lifesaving experience. At the Oakland, California–based program, children and teens ages 3–18 learn to express themselves through dance, theater and martial arts in a safe space. And in the process they build community and self-respect.

Check out F R E E, the inspirational documentary that follows five Oakland teens through a year in the Destiny Arts Youth Performance Company. You'll see how Nee Nee, Tilly, Jamany, Omar and Alaysia confront the realities of violence, poverty, sexual abuse and illness in their own lives, as they work together to choreograph a dance.

Watch the trailer for the film.

Some of the BEST dance scenes happen in nondance movies.

The Breakfast Club (1985): Stuck in a library on a Saturday with nothing to do? Why not bust out your best dance moves? That’s exactly what occurs in The Breakfast Club, when Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall and the rest of the “Brat Pack” begin head banging, jumping, kicking, flailing and playing air guitar to Karla DeVito’s “We Are Not Alone.”

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986): On a day he ditches school, Ferris Bueller manages to get the entire crowd dancing as he sings “Twist and Shout” atop a parade float. Memorable moves include: fist-pumping ladies in lederhosen, grape-vining pedestrians, a step-touching marching band and, of course, a young Matthew Broderick as Ferris Bueller doing the twist.

Pulp Fiction (1994): John Travolta’s dance background comes in handy when he and Uma Thurman enter a twist competition at a ’50s-themed restaurant. As a gangster, Travolta contrasts his tough-guy persona with surprising lightness and humor in this memorable scene.

Slumdog Millionaire (2008): Bollywood dance went mainstream in this rags-to-riches love story set in India that concludes with a fun and uplifting dance scene on a train platform. The dancers step, clap, bounce, wave and nod their heads to the Oscar-winning song “Jai Ho” in this happy ending.

Don't miss a single issue of Dance Teacher.

mailbox

Get DanceTeacher in your inbox