A brief history of music and dance in film.

I grew up on The Sound of Music. As children my sister and I would blast the soundtrack and sing off key but full spirit during long road trips and regularly perform the entire musical for our imaginary (but captivated!) audience. We’d transform our living room into an Austrian abbey in the late 1930’s. I would borrow mom’s skirt to twirl and fall in love for the first time as Liesl during Sixteen going on Seventeen, crawl up the stairs backwards as little Gretl for the final sleepy lines of So long, Farewell and wear a nun’s habit veil made of pantyhose to get into character for the vocal and emotional challenge of Climb ev’ry Mountain. Before I knew I wanted to be a dancer, before I discovered my obsession for music or realized I wanted to spend my life making TV and film I wanted to be Maria von Trapp. The Sound of Music put a spell on me, and since then I’ve loved the performing arts. The timeless choreography and music from movie musical classics like Westside Story are part of the foundation for my lifelong connection and affection for creating and expressing through song and dance.

Like every single person who has seen the film, I am an insane fan of La La Land. No seriously. I mean on some Belieber teenage irrational crying level fan dome. (A LaLander?) The brilliance of La La Land had me snapping out of the theatre and hittin’ a drag-run-run-drag back to the car.

With the international acclaim for the film and it’s complete sweep of last night’s Golden Globe awards I thought it would be fitting to go back in time and take a look at some notable classics which set the standard and revolutionized music and dance in film. They are without a doubt sources of inspiration for films like La La Land and are enduring musical influences for stage and cinema. I had a lot of fun going through the archives and studying the evolution of this genre. Hope you enjoy them too!


Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933)
Choreographer: Busby Berkeley

Rufus Jones for President (1933)
Choreographer: Couldn’t find a credit, but I like to think it’s Sammy Davis Jr. going off https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Im-H6ORoNm8

Top Hat (1935)
Choreographer: Fred Astaire
Isn’t this a Lovely Day (To be Caught in the Rain) https://www.youtube.com/watch? v=dl6FLfHTC68
Cheek to Cheek                                                   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fq0oO-ylU_Y


Swing Time (1936)
Choreographer: Fred Astaire                            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mxPgplMujzQ

The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Choreographer: Bobby Connolly & Dona Massin
Somewhere Over the Rainbow https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PSZxmZmBfnU

Hellzapoppin (1941)
Choreographer: Frankie Manning                    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ahoJReiCaPk

Stormy Weather (1943)
Choreographers: The NIcholas Brothers
Jumpin Jive https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_8yGGtVKrD8

An American in Paris (1951)
Choreographer: Gene kelly
Scene 4 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4P_tyRcAGeg
Scene 5 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wlvzGT1Ta2w

Royal Wedding (1951)
Choreographer: Fred Astaire
You’re all the world to me https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CsoYyDlYU8M

Singing in the Rain (1952)
Choreographer: Gene Kelly
Good Mornin' https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GB2yiIoEtXw
Singin' in the rain https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w40ushYAaYA

The Band Wagon (1953)
Choreographer: Choreographer- Michael Kidd
Girl Hunt Ballet https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2C9CoAbwxy0&t=95s
Dancing in the Dark https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=duLFwcsc6Nc

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954)
Choreographer: Michael Kidd
Barn Raising Dance - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TygmMPbwfjA

Westside Story (1961)
Choreographer: Jerome Robbins
America https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qy6wo2wpT2k
Cool https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xkdP02HKQGc
Sharks vs. Jets https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bxoC5Oyf_ss&t=21s
Mambo https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kokbJvSEMUY


Mary Poppins (1964)
Choreographer: Marc Breaux
Jolly Holiday https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IFGdlSbJAUE

Sound of Music (1965)
Choreographer- Marc Breaux
Sound of Music https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AePRD1Ud3Lw
Sixteen going on seventeen https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hwK_WOXjfc0

Oliver! (1968)
Choreographer: Onna White
Consider yourself https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e0gNMQsImoQ

Sweet Charity (1969)
Choreographer: Bob Fosse
Finale: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rw_M-ai1I0k
Big Spender: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vfSe8UxR9kg