Explore the most memorable dance floors in film history – Dazed | Episode Movies

Claire Marie Healy tells us about her new book On The Dance Floor – a visual and literary journey through the most famous dance floors In the cinema

Dance floors are mythologized, charged spaces full of contradictions. Dancing can have a certain artifice, but if it were purely a performative act, why does it often feel so exposed?

Whether we’re supremely confident or achingly confident, we can’t help but give ourselves away on the dance floor—the language of gestures and movements is uncomfortably eloquent, revealing our embarrassment, our latent desires, our hidden truths, or glimpses of our private interiors we remain silent maybe better.

When we encounter dance floors in films, they are arenas primed to bring additional layers of meaning and symbolism to each story, to act as metaphors for the world at large, to explain characters’ untold intentions, to facilitate rituals, rites of passage, and revelation .

On the dance floor: spinning out on screen (published by A24) is a visual and literary journey across the dance floors of cinema history. From famous film sequences to cult classics and more obscure films, this compendium recalls seminal moments throughout cinema and includes literary excerpts, original text and archival photography, as well as interviews with filmmakers and actors. Edited by Dazed’s former editor and AnOther editor, Claire Marie Healy, who has contributed Archives consultants Charlie Fox, Amy Sall (of SUNU Journal) and Miss Rosen, among many other contributors and archives, On the dance floor consists of over 400 pages exploring countless films, texts and photographs, and includes passages from the diary of pulp fictionon’s Mia Wallace (as dreamed up by writer Charlie Fox), Cher’s first-hand memories of dancing at Studio 54, and Charli XCX’s dance floor messages.

“Why does dancing sometimes feel like something out of a movie?” – Claire Marie Healy

“There are many tomes dedicated to the legendary clubs in their heyday, but the difference with this book is what does the dance floor mean to us?” explains Healthy. “How have our reactions affected the movies we watch, the photos we love and the books we read?”

In a conversation via Zoom, Healy describes the creation of the epic project. “Choosing the subject matter was a question of timing, and there was a certain vibe in the air when it was put together,” she recalls. “After coming out of a series of lockdowns, there was a strong feeling not only to get back on the dance floor, but to protect those spaces and to reflect on what the dance floor actually means to us.”

Our relationship with film and storytelling is complex and reciprocal… Films, for the most part, attempt to recreate some facets of real life, but often we convey our lived experiences by seeing them reenacted in the endless, rippling light of the cinema screen. Healy puts the idea: “It’s not just about how to make a scene in a movie seem like an impromptu, energetic dance floor, but also — through people’s posts and people’s memories — why going out dancing feels at times.” like in a movie?”

Dance floors are unique spaces where this intricate and symbiotic relationship between art and life plays out in all sorts of imaginative ways, and the book takes us through them in a way that has a unique momentum of its own. Healy continues, “Another important aspect of the book is how these materials connect…how they flow and how these kinds of unexpected connections come about; How can this feel like a dance floor or a playlist or the energy of dancing?

“There is something special about a dance floor. It’s like a way to get off this planet” – Cher

Thinking further about the structure, Healy also looks at the way dance floors can serve as a magical space throughout the course of a film story: “In a film like The Last Days of Disco (1998), as explored in the book, the dance floor actually becomes a space of its own, set apart from everything else,” she says. “Or if we look at this Wong Karwai Movie Happy together (1997) has the characters dancing in a communal kitchen and it is so different from the rest of the film that it becomes its own moment in time and space in the film.”

In many films, as in life, the dance floor can also feel like a sacred space defined by the ritual of dancing. On the dance floor is a fascinating and invaluable anthology that examines the possibilities of the dance floor as a space of resistance, self-expression, ritual, community, disharmony and transcendence. In the immortal words of Cher: “There is something special about a dance floor. It’s like a way to get away from this planet.”

Visit the gallery above for a closer look at the pages On the dance floor.

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Thinking further about the structure, Healy also looks at the way dance floors can serve as a magical space throughout the course of a film story: “In a film like The Last Days of Disco (1998), as explored in the book, the dance floor actually becomes a space of its own, set apart from everything else,” she says. “Or if we look at this Wong Karwai Movie Happy together (1997) has the characters dancing in a communal kitchen and it is so different from the rest of the film that it becomes its own moment in time and space in the film.”

In many films, as in life, the dance floor can also feel like a sacred space defined by the ritual of dancing. On the dance floor is a fascinating and invaluable anthology that examines the possibilities of the dance floor as a space of resistance, self-expression, ritual, community, disharmony and transcendence. In the immortal words of Cher: “There is something special about a dance floor. It’s like a way to get away from this planet.”

Visit the gallery above for a closer look at the pages On the dance floor.

Join the Dazed Club and become part of our world! You get exclusive access to events, parties, festivals and our editors, plus a free Dazed subscription for one year. Sign up today for £5/month.

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