Though dance is included in countless Disney films, these movies showcase it the most, teaching characters to give their best in the dance of life.
Disney likes to keep the magic alive in any way they can. Musical stories of love, friendship, and personal growth are a huge part of the company’s repertoire. Song and dance flood the animated classics and brighten up the live-action department, too.
Though dance is included in countless Disney films, these movies showcase it the most, teaching characters to give their best in the dance of life. Cheerleading figures more prominently into Disney Channel shows than it does the movies, but there are a couple of fun exceptions. Check out these dance and cheerleading-inspired movies on Disney+.
7 The Cheetah Girls: One World: 4.7
The Cheetah Girls: One World is the most dance-focused movie of all the Cheetah installments. All three feature group member Dorinda’s passion for dance, with the first even giving her a chance to leave singing behind and pursue dance full-time.
The third movie, however, gives the three Cheetahs (no Raven in this one) a crash course in Bollywood dance styles. The rehearsals in Mumbai are intense, but the outcome is a wonderful festival of dance, music, and gorgeous traditional clothes.
6 High School Musical 3: 4.8
Aside from the “I Don’t Dance” number in High School Musical 2, the first two HSM movies don’t emphasize dance nearly as much as the third. Of course, there are rehearsals for the school production and then the country club talent show, but the third movie really pulls out all the stops.
Senior Year also brings out the character of Martha (Kaycee Stroh) more, as she brings extra dancers to the seniors’ show rehearsals and joins the ladies in celebrating the joy of dance with “A Night to Remember.”
5 Jump In!: 5.4
Jump In! is known as Disney’s jump rope DCOM, but it is much more than that. Corbin Bleu had already developed a following from High School Musical when he turned to a slightly similar storyline for 2007’s Jump in! In the movie, Bleu plays a young boxer named Izzy Daniels who is following in his father’s footsteps.
Izzy discovers his passion for jumping rope, Double Dutch style. Though it isn’t technically dance, the Double Dutch form of jump rope is incredibly dynamic, rhythmic, and captivating to watch. Like his old pal Troy Bolton, Corbin Bleu’s Izzy must reveal to his dad that he is considering another path. Keke Palmer is also delightful in the film.
4 Prom: 5.4
For those who love letting loose at a school dance, Prom is one of Disney’s best offerings. Prom is the ultimate dance event, one that students normally look forward to all year in their junior and senior years of high school. Aimee Teagarden and Thomas McDonnell make the perfect pair, proving that opposites really do attract.
Teagarden plays a perfectionist named Nova Prescott, and McDonnell plays a bad boy named Jesse Richter. They get stuck working on prom decorations together, but it turns out that they have enough chemistry to light up the whole school.
3 Gotta Kick It Up!: 5.8
Disney sure likes to pack a punch with exclamation points at the end of energetic titles once in awhile. Gotta Kick It Up! (2002) is a DCOM gem starring Camille Guaty, America Ferrera, and Susan Egan. Egan plays Heather Bartlett, a beautiful career woman starting fresh as a teacher. Daisy (Guaty) and Yolanda (Ferrera) are the ringleaders of their middle school’s popular crowd, always busting a move–even during class.
When Ms. Bartlett becomes the girls’ new dance team coach, everyone experiences some difficulty finding a team identity and getting along. The end result is worth watching all the struggle as the realistic young women find their voices and act as a unit. It’s interesting to note that though they look like cheerleaders, the Marshall girls are strictly a dance team.
2 The Game Plan: 6.1
Disney was clever to put ballet and football together for The Game Plan in 2007. The feature film stars Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Maddison Pettis as an adorable father-daughter duo. The only catch is that they don’t start the movie that way. Johnson’s character, Joe Kingman, is a football hotshot who has no clue that he has a young daughter, until she shows up at his doorstep.
Peyton Kelly (Pettis) is supposed to be away at a camp when she sneaks off to find her father. The two have a lot to learn about one another, especially that Peyton is a budding dancer with a serious dedication to her art. The film is sensitive in exploring Peyton’s feelings and dreams, even getting The Rock into some tights for a dance recital.
1 Zombies: 6.3
The Zombies franchise began in 2018 and has been well-received by its young viewers. The first movie guides two unlikely companions to a relationship: a high school cheerleader named Addison (Meg Donnelly) and a zombie named Zed (Milo Manheim).
Zombietown students transfer to a suburban human high school, Seabrook, but the two species can’t come together without Zed and Addison setting an example for their respective communities. Fans love the songs of the Zombies films and regard it as a great addition to Disney’s movie musical genre.
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