You know what genre of films I really miss? Dance movies. And I don’t mean musicals, either. Yes, I do love me some dancing AND some singing. But what I miss even more is just the straight up hip thrusting, elbow pumping, neck snapping dance movies that we used to get back in the early to mid-2000s. And if there’s one series that boogied down the hardest, it was probably the Step Up movies, which helped propel Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan to stardom.
And while yes, I do realize that there’s no shortage of dance movies on Netflix, like Work It and Feel the Beat, it’s definitely not the same. In fact, I have five reasons why I really miss the Step Up series and wish that it would make a major come back. Care to dance with me and find out why? Yes? OK! Then let’s do it!
The Plots Were Ridiculously Wonderful
So, here’s the thing. Step Up wasn’t really the first dance movie to the party. Save the Last Dance was. Now, before you jump down my throat and start bringing up movies like Footloose or Dirty Dancing (Or, if you’re one of the cool kids, Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo), let me explain. What I mean is, Save the Last Dance was really the first major dance movie of the early 2000s that tried to meld styles of dance. In Save the Last Dance, we got ballet mixed with hip-hop, and this all came together to create an unlikely romance. For 2001, anyway.
Well, the first Step Up kind of mimicked that idea of the “bad boy” and the ballet dancer, but flipped it. That was the first movie. Pretty simple plot. But later movies saw stories treading paths down everything from underground tournaments to taking back the neighborhood from a rich businessman by forming a dance posse called “the Mob”. Honestly, if there is any series I would compare it to with the path it eventually went down, it would be the Fast and the Furious franchise. And like the Fast series, it arguably got better the crazier it got.
They Made It Cool To Like Dance
Look. I love Footloose. In fact, I think the final dance scene has some of the slickest moves in the galaxy. The thing is, you weren't likely going to find kids in the 2000s going “Ohhhhhh!” at the dorky “kids” dancing at the prom in Footloose. But you know what they might have said “Ohhhhhh!” to? That crazy scene with the light up clothes in Step Up 3D. Or that massive dance scene at the end of Step Up: Revolution.
I mean, sure. Shows like The Masked Dancer and Dancing With the Stars are entertaining, but they’re not cool. America’s Best Dance Crew was cool, but that was on the small screen. Step Up, with its explosive soundtracks and awesome choreography, made all the slaps, kicks, and robot noises, sound and look amazing. Who didn’t immediately want to start dancing after they saw a Step Up movie? I know I certainly did.
There are surprisingly a lot of great characters in the Step Up movies, since the main star is obviously the dancing. But the best character of all is arguably Moose, played by Adam Sevani. Introduced in the second movie, the deliciously titled Step Up 2: The Streets (I still think the fourth movie should have been titled “Step Up 4 Your Rights”, but oh well, a missed opportunity), Moose became a major player in Step Up 3D, and made an appearance in Step Up: Revolution and Step Up: All In as well.
And his dance moves have always just astounded me. It might be because he doesn’t look the part, and I don’t mean that in any bad way. Rather lanky and looking eternally young, Moose always stole the show and was usually front and center because he was just that good. Sure, you can have your Channing Tatum, your “tWitch” or your Drew Sidora. But when it comes to Step Up, give me Moose any day of the week. Ooh wee, that boy can dance!
They Made For Great Date Movies
At the heart of every Step Up movie is a love story. In fact, I would definitely call the first movie more of a romantic dance drama than a dance movie, as there was definitely more of an emphasis on the romance rather than the dance. The later films would rectify this (I’m sorry, but I don’t go to these kinds of movies for the romance), but even so, there was still always a love interest in the middle of these stories, with some being more prominent than others.
That said, I would call all of the Step Up movies great date flicks. The plots were simple enough that you could always sneak in a quick kiss and not miss much of the story, and the sexual tension was often through the roof, with dance being a nice PG-13 substitute for actual sex. And afterwards, you could always talk about which performances you liked the best, as it played well to pretty much every demographic. I believe I took my then-girlfriend, now-wife to every Step Up movie as they were always a good time. We would both want to see each movie in the series. So, why not together?
They Were A Reference Point For Other Dance Movies At The Time
Remember when I said that Save the Last Dance started off the dance party in the 2000s? I lied. That distinction would likely go to Center Stage, starring Zoe Saldana, which came out in 2000 and was about a ballet academy. You Got Served, which was about street dancing, also predated the first Step Up as it came out in 2004.
But Step Up was like the perfect amalgamation of both those ideas, and it pretty much became the de facto dance series of that time period. Just think, most dance movies were one and done, or got a straight-to-DVD sequel like Save the Last Dance 2, or Stomp the Yard: Homecoming. But I would say that Step Up pretty much set the reference point for all other dance movies. So much so, that you could even say, oh, this is like Step Up but on a college campus. Or, this is like Step Up, but with cheerleaders. That’s how big Step Up got in the 2000s, and it’s a huge shame that we haven’t gotten a new movie since 2014. I mean, come on, people! Bring dance back to the theaters! I want my Step Up 666: Dance, Lucifer, Dance! It could happen!
But what do you think? Do you miss the Step Up series as much as I do? Better yet, what’s your favorite Step Up movie in the series (and yes, I know there was a TV series on YouTube Red)? Answer in the poll below. And for information on 2021 movies or even 2022 movies, make sure to dance on by here often.
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Rich is a Jersey boy, through and through. He graduated from Rutgers University (Go, R.U.!), and thinks the Garden State is the best state in the country. That said, he’ll take Chicago Deep Dish pizza over a New York slice any day of the week. Don’t hate. When he’s not watching his two kids, he’s usually working on a novel, watching vintage movies, or reading some obscure book.
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