Who doesn’t love a great Broadway show? For performers, musicals are top-tier entertainment; and for a dancer, the most impactful musicals are those that have excellent dance numbers! Let’s look into just a few of the most riveting, dance-driven musicals on Broadway.
Broadway would simply not be Broadway without Cats. You have likely heard of this classic musical which tells the story of a tribe of cats named the “Jellicles”. On the particular night that this musical takes place, the Jellicles make the “Jellicles Choice”, deciding which cat will get to ascend to cat heaven and return to a new life. Packed with all different dance styles, including Jazz, Tap, Contemporary, and Ballet, the show is a simple display of beauty in all the possible ways that beauty can be displayed.
Do you recognize the name “Bob Fosse”? Perhaps the iconic jazz hands and turned-in knees come to mind. Chicago is a show based on true crime and criminals in Chicago during the jazz age (1920-30). What makes Chicago such a well-known and loved production is the use of Bob Fosse’s Jazz choreography, which was innovative during its time. The movement style features smooth hip rolls, sharp finger snaps, and a pigeon-toed stance, all elements that have influenced Jazz dance as we know it today.
Hopefully you have heard of Billy Elliot, the iconic musical, based on the 2000 coming-of-age film. Billy, an English coal-miner’s son, finds himself in a Ballet class, and thus commences a journey of unlocked potential and self-discovery. One of the most iconic dance moments in this musical is “The Angry Dance”. Billy’s frustrations with the miners’ strike and his family’s lack of support of his dancing come to a head in this torrent of aggressive tap and modern dance. Undoubtedly, Billy Elliot is a must-see for all dance lovers.
“The Cher Show”
The Cher Show is a jukebox-style musical which tells the story of the life and career of American singer Cher. The show utilizes three different actresses who represent Cher through the decades of her career. What makes this show such a fantastic display of dance is the way that dance is accurately portrayed throughout the decades, from the 60’s twists to the 90’s style hip hop. All dances were, of course, set to some of Cher’s most biggest hits; among which is a Fosse-style jazz number to “The Beat Goes On”. If you are a Cher fan, this musical may just be your next favorite!
Are you into spooky vibes? Beetlejuice is a musical based on the 1988 Tim Burton movie. The plot follows a girl whose house is haunted by a deceased couple. The show is chock-full of dance scenes in varying styles – from hip hop, to salsa, to acrobatics; and the dancing is very technically challenging. In a particularly whacky dance scene, ghosts take possession of the characters’ bodies and force them to dance to a Jamaican folk song.