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Bust a Move

10 Awesome Dance Aerobics Scenes from ’80s Movies

Catch Footloose during IFC's '80s Weekend July 29-31st.

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Photo Credit: Mary Evans/Ronald Grant/Everett Collection

Anyone who grew up in the 1980s remembers Jane Fonda’s workout videos, which featured the Academy Award-winning actress in leotards and leg-warmers leading viewers through a series of aerobic exercises. Coupled with films like Flashdance and Footloose, the Jane Fonda Workout helped usher in a rad aerobics and dance craze that lasted throughout the decade and influenced everything from fashion to music to film. To celebrate IFC’s ’80s Weekend, we decided to share a few of our favorite dance and aerobics scenes from ’80s films. Throw on your favorite leg-warmers and get ready to break a sweat!

1. Flashdance

Paramount Pictures and PolyGram
Paramount Pictures and PolyGram

Has there ever been a better film about a welder-by-day-dancer-by-night? Alex Owens (Jennifer Beals) dreams of being a serious dancer at the Pittsburg Dance & Repertory Company, but alas, she has no formal training beyond her frenzied aerobics sessions set to “Maniac” and her job dancing at Mawby’s Bar. Though Flashdance features quite a few seriously impressive dance numbers (“Manhunt” comes to mind thanks to Cynthia Rhodes’ acrobatics and insane amount of body glitter), the best is still Alex’s iconic audition set to Irene Cara’s hit song “Flashdance…What a Feeling” complete with leaps, flips, break dancing (!), and some seriously big hair.


2. Fame

MGM and United Artists

These days, Lin-Manuel Miranda and the cast of Hamilton cause traffic jams daily on Broadway, but back in 1980, the only performers stopping traffic were the fictional students at the New York High School of Performing Arts. When aspiring composer Bruno refuses to play his music publicly, his taxi driver father blasts it out to everyone on 46th St from the speakers of his cab, causing the leotard-clad students to wildly leap on top of cars and dance throughout the street. Well, that’s ONE way to get people to “remember your name.”


3. Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo

The Cannon Group and TriStar Pictures
The Cannon Group and TriStar Pictures

Possibly the most unnecessary of all unnecessary sequels and the inspiration for an enduring pop culture cliché, Breakin 2: Electric Boogaloo may be short on plot and character development, but if you’re watching it for those things, you’re doing it wrong. It’s the dancing and extremely dated hip hop outfits (okay and an appearance by rapper-turned-Law & Order: SVU detective Ice-T) that matter, and in these areas, Breakin’ 2 really delivers.

Whether it’s a gang dance fight with nunchucks (!), popping and locking on the ceiling, or donning berets and harem pants for a celebratory final routine, Breakin’ 2 is actually a pretty solid (dare we say…ELECTRIC?) dance flick in the vein of an overly-long episode of So You Think You Can Dance that is actually supposed to be about saving a community center from bulldozers


4. Perfect

Columbia Pictures
Columbia Pictures

Before there was Tinder, apparently aerobics classes were the way people hooked up in the ’80s, at least according to the plot of the totally inane, guilty pleasure Perfect. While in town working on a story about drug dealers, Rolling Stone journalist Adam (John Travolta) begins investigating the singles’ scene at the L.A. gym where Jessie (Jamie Lee Curtis) is an aerobics instructor. A lot of manic jumping, hip gyrations, and sweaty pelvic thrusts later, is it any wonder Adam and Jessie wind up finding romance? Also, the workout actually ain’t bad either. High-cut leotard is totally optional.


5. White Nights

Columbia Pictures
Columbia Pictures

If you can look past the implausibility of Gregory Hines’ character willingly defecting to Soviet Russia for tap dancing jobs, White Nights is actually a great dance-thriller, which is a seriously underutilized film genre in our opinion. And because this is the ’80s, the best way for Hines and Mikhail Baryshnikov’s character to distract their Soviet captors is obviously by performing a smooth jazz/karate-inspired dance choreographed by Twyla Tharp. Though ballet superstar Baryshnikov and tap legend Hines couldn’t be more different apart, together they make a pretty dynamic duo. The song may be called “Prove Me Wrong,” but this is one pairing that feels oh-so-right.


6. Footloose

Paramount Pictures
Paramount Pictures

Yeah, everyone FINALLY “cuts loose” at the end of this classic flick about a town where dancing is banned, but we’re partial to Ren’s angry meltdown in an empty warehouse. When just driving to the middle of nowhere in your yellow VW bug, smoking a cigarette, and drinking don’t calm your adolescent angst, why not just put on a cassette tape and run, swing, jump, kick, and flip your way through a dangerous abandoned warehouse instead? It’s a bit like watching a manic Olympic gymnastics routine, but it’s hard not to love Kevin Bacon giving it his all. (Click here to see all airings of Footloose on IFC.)


7. Dirty Dancing

Lionsgate

Pretty much everyone had the time of their lives watching Frances “Baby” Houseman (Jennifer Grey) and Johnny Castle (Patrick Swayze) dance and romance in the Catskills all through the summer of ’63. In the grand ’80s movie tradition of dancing for your rights (see also: Footloose), Johnny makes a big entrance at the end-of-summer show as a protest for being unfairly fired, pulling Baby firmly out of the corner and onto the floor for a sexy ballroom number complete with that iconic over-the-head lift. The dancing may be “dirty,” but really, it’s just good, clean fun.


8. Girls Just Want to Have Fun

New World Pictures
New World Pictures

Before she was kicking up her heels as Carrie Bradshaw, Sarah Jessica Parker was just a Catholic school girl named Janey with a dream of dancing on TV in Chicago. In yet another ’80s movie about dads not being cool with their daughters dancing (ahem, see also Footloose, Dirty Dancing), Janey’s conservative military father forbids her from competing with her dreamy partner Jeff (Lee Montgomery) for a spot on Dance TV. The two compete anyway with a seriously athletic routine full of tumbling, lifts, and spins while Janey’s dad watches backstage and comes to his senses about the whole thing. If only we could say the same thing about everyone’s hilariously bad ’80s outfits.


9. Risky Business

Warner Bros
Warner Bros.

Who hasn’t gotten a little too drunk and danced around their living room in just their underwear? High school senior Joel does just that (and much, MUCH more) during a parent-free weekend at home. With a single iconic slide in socks, tighty-whiteys, a button-down, and Ray-Bans to the opening strains of “Old Time Rock and Roll,” Tom Cruise instantly became a full-fledged movie star and inspired frat boy Halloween costumes for years to come. If the whole “risky business” brothel idea doesn’t work out, maybe Joel has a future in show business instead.


10. Heavenly Bodies

This “dancercize” cult classic was co-produced by Playboy, which explains a lot about the overabundance of exercise and sex scenes and the wooden dialogue. However, the choreography and soundtrack are totally killer, as is lead actress/dancer Cynthia Dale who effortlessly high kicks and jumps her way through every routine. Heavenly Bodies may technically be a B-movie, but its dancers and dance numbers are pretty A-worthy.

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Holiday Extra Special

Make The Holidays ’80s Again

Enjoy the holiday cheer Wednesday December 21 at 10P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Whatever happened to the kind of crazy-yet-cozy holiday specials that blanketed the early winter airwaves of the 1980s? Unceremoniously killed by infectious ’90s jadedness? Slow fade out at the hands of early-onset millennial ennui? Whatever the reason, nixing the tradition was a huge mistake.

A huge mistake that we’re about to fix.

Announcing IFC’s Joe’s Pub Presents: A Holiday Special, starring Tony Hale. It’s a celeb-studded extravaganza in the glorious tradition of yesteryear featuring Bridget Everett, Jo Firestone, Nick Thune, Jen Kirkman, house band The Dap-Kings, and many more. And it’s at Joe’s Pub, everyone’s favorite home away from home in the Big Apple.

The yuletide cheer explodes Wednesday December 21 at 10P. But if you were born after 1989 and have no idea what void this spectacular special is going to fill, sample from this vintage selection of holiday hits:

Andy Williams and The NBC Kids Search For Santa

The quintessential holiday special. Get snuggly and turn off your brain. You won’t need it.

A Muppet Family Christmas

The Fraggles. The Muppets. The Sesame Street gang. Fate. The Jim Henson multiverse merges in this warm and fuzzy Holiday gathering.

Julie Andrews: The Sound Of Christmas

To this day a foolproof antidote to holiday cynicism. It’s cheesy, but a good cheese. In this case an Alpine Gruyère.

Star Wars Holiday Special

Okay, busted. This one was released in 1978. Still totally ’80s though. And yes that’s Bea Arthur.

Pee Wee’s Playhouse Christmas Special

Pass the eggnog, and make sure it’s loaded. This special is everything you’d expect it to be and much, much more.

Joe’s Pub Presents: A Holiday Special premieres Wednesday December 21 at 10P on IFC.

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It Ain't Over Yet

A Guide to Coping with the End of Comedy Bang! Bang!

Watch the final episodes tonight at 11 and 11:30P on IFC.

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After five seasons and 110 halved-hour episodes, Scott Aukerman’s hipster comedy opus, Comedy Bang! Bang!, has come to an end. Fridays at 11 and 11:30P will never be the same. We know it can be hard for fans to adjust after the series finale of their favorite TV show. That’s why we’ve prepared this step-by-step guide to managing your grief.

Step One: Cry it out

It’s just natural. We’re sad too.
Scott crying GIF

Step Two: Read the CB!B! IMDB Trivia Page

The show is over and it feels like you’ve lost a friend. But how well did you really know this friend? Head over to Comedy Bang! Bang!’s IMDB page to find out some things you may not have known…like that it’s “based on a Civil War battle of the same name” or that “Reggie Watts was actually born with the name Theodore Leopold The Third.”

Step Three: Listen to the podcast

One fascinating piece of CB!B! trivia that you might not learn from IMDB is that there’s a podcast that shares the same name as the TV show. It’s even hosted by Scott Aukerman! It’s not exactly like watching the TV show on a Friday night, but that’s only because each episode is released Monday morning. If you close your eyes, the podcast is just like watching the show with your eyes closed!

Step Four: Watch brand new CB!B! clips?!

The best way to cope with the end of Comedy Bang! Bang! is to completely ignore that it’s over — because it’s not. In an unprecedented move, IFC is opening up the bonus CB!B! content vault. There are four brand new, never-before-seen sketches featuring Scott Aukerman, Kid Cudi, and “Weird Al” Yankovic ready for you to view on the IFC App. There’s also one right here, below this paragraph! Watch all four b-b-bonus clips and feel better.

Binge the entire final season, plus exclusive sketches, right now on the IFC app.

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Everybody Sweats Now

The Four-Day Sweatsgiving Weekend On IFC

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This long holiday weekend is your time to gobble gobble gobble and give heartfelt thanks—thanks for the comfort and forgiveness of sweatpants. Because when it comes right down to it, there’s nothing more wholesome and American than stuffing yourself stupid and spending endless hours in front of the TV in your softest of softests.

So get the sweats, grab the remote and join IFC for four perfect days of entertainment.

sweatsgiving
It all starts with a 24-hour T-day marathon of Rocky Horror Picture Show, then continues Friday with an all-day binge of Stan Against Evil.

By Saturday, the couch will have molded to your shape. Which is good, because you’ll be nestled in for back-to-back Die Hard and Lethal Weapon.

Finally, come Sunday it’s time to put the sweat back in your sweatpants with The Shining, The Exorcist, The Chronicles of Riddick, Terminator 2, and Blade: Trinity. They totally count as cardio.

As if you need more convincing, here’s Martha Wash and the IFC&C Music Factory to hammer the point home.

The Sweatsgiving Weekend starts Thursday on IFC

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