12 Best Movies like Step Up



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Recently, I watched Step Up one of the most popular dance movies from the mid-2000s.

It is a fairly lighthearted film about Tyler Gage, who got sentenced to 200 hours of community service, mopping the floor at the Maryland School of the Arts.

There, he meets Nora (Jenna Dewan), who is a gifted ballet student, but is trying to combine her classical routine with hip-hop moves.

Since Tyler is an experienced street dancer, she quickly convinces him to try to help her. The film has romance, and the sparks fly from the moment they meet, but more importantly, it left me wanting for more dance films.

This led me to some timeless classics, such as Stomp the Yard, which takes place at the Truth University in Atlanta, Georgia, and Step Up All In, with its glittering Las Vegas.

Then, there was Black Swan, with its dark and mysterious aesthetics, and even StreetDance 3D, where a street dancer and his crew have to share rehearsal space with ballet dancers.

In the end, I came up with a list of top 12 additional movies that you may or may not know, but also movies that you definitely should watch.

If you’re looking for awesome films like Step Up, check these out.

Save The Last Dance (2001)

The first on the list of the best hip-hop and dance movies like Step Up is Save The Last Dance, a film about an aspiring ballerina who has to relocate to an inner city school after her mother dies.

After this white midwestern girl moves to Chicago, she runs into a hip-hop dancer from the South Side, with a semi-criminal past, who teaches her how to relax and loosen up on the dance floor. Along the way, he also manages to win her heart.

Apart from being about dancing, Save The Last Dance also doubles as a compelling love story.

However, the film doesn’t manage to fuse hip-hop and ballet successfully, as Stiles does not look quite comfortable in her dance scenes.

Even so, critics from The Guardian liked her performance, saying that “As ever, Stiles gives an attractive and intelligent performance, and she can obviously dance a bit, too, though there’s a body double in long shot for the trickier moves…”

The film stars Julia Stiles, Sean Patrick Thomas, Kerry Washington, Bianca Lawson, Vince Green, and others.

Save The Last Dance 2 (2006)

In the second spot, we actually have the second Save the Last Dance movie, simply called Save The Last Dance 2.

This time, the young girl, Sara joins Julliard in New York, seeking to turn her and her mother’s dream into reality by becoming the Prima ballerina of her ballet school.

Once again, she gets involved with hip-hop dancing, as her new roommates, Miles and Zoe, teach hip-hop classes.

Meanwhile, she attends her own ballet classes with Monique Delacroix, her idol, who requires discipline, full commitment, and hard work.

However, when Miles invites her to help him compose the music for the dance choreography, sparks fly, and Sara falls in love with both hip-hop and Miles.

The film stars Izabella Miko, Columbus Short, Jacqueline Bisset, Tre Armstrong, Aubrey Dollar, and others.

High Strung (2016)

In the third spot, of the best dance movies like Step Up, we have High Strung.

This is a film about a hip-hop violinist busking in New York who, while playing music in the New York subway, encounters a classical dancer on the college scholarship at the Manhattan Conservatory of the Arts.

The two quickly establish a strong connection, and with the help of a hip hop dance crew, they need to find a way to work together and prepare for a major dance competition that could change their lives.

It is a great dance movie with a young ballerina, a British violinist, and plenty of sparks between them, but also a larger common goal to help them focus on what they wish to achieve.

The film stars Keenan Kampa, Nicholas Galitzine, Jane Seymour, Juliet Doherty, and others.

You Got Served (2004)

Steve Harvey at an award ceremony

Moving on, we have You Got Served, a dance movie that, despite having professional dancer scenes, doesn’t suffer from distracting special effects that became so common in Step Up movies.

Instead, the film simply offers dancing. Incredible dancing, with different dance styles and loud music, but still just regular dancing, performed by talented dancers.

On the plus side, the film also features Steve Harvey in a fedora, who owns the local dance club.

As for the negatives, the plot is not very inspired. It features two friends having a fight, forming rival dance crew, and then reuniting to win a big battle.

Simply put, it is nothing that wasn’t seen countless times. Still, the impressive dancing does make it worth watching the movie.

The film stars Steve Harvey, Marques Houston, Omarion, Jennifer Freeman, Raz-B, Meagan Good, and others.

Center Stage (2000)

Next, we have Center Stage, which is one of the dancing movies filled with memorable content.

The story follows a group of 12 teenagers who come from various backgrounds. What they have in common is that they all managed to reach the American Ballet Academy in New York, and have enrolled in order to become ballet dancers.

Each of them came to the dance school with their own problems, stresses, and methods of dealing with them.

However, they will have to deal with their issues and fight for the spot in the elite company. It is a film about great music, excellent dancing, and acting that is cheesy in a way that lets you laugh, rather than cringe.

Roger Ebert commented by saying that “The movie uses the materials of melodrama, but is gentle with them; it’s oriented more in the real world, and doesn’t jack up every conflict and love story into an overwrought crisis.”

The film stars Amanda Schull, Ethan Stiefel, Zoe Saldana, Sascha Radetsky, Susan May Pratt, and others.

Raise Your Voice (2004)

Raise Your Voice is another great dance movie following Terri, a young girl from a small town, whose brother dies in a car accident.

After that, she feels the need to leave the small-town life, and decides that she wants to attend the performing arts school. However, the performing arts school just happens to be in Los Angeles, and her father forbids her from going.

The young girl discovers that this is her dream, and she will not give up on it. She goes to the performing arts school anyway, under the excuse that she is visiting her aunt in LA.

Once there, she has to prepare for a dance contest that the performing arts academy is known for, but she also needs to keep her attendance a secret from her father.

The film stars Hilary Duff, Oliver James, Sean McNamara, Johnny Lewis, John Corbett, Kat Dennings, and others.

Burlesque (2010)

One of the best dance movies out there is known as Burlesque, and it is a film about the Burlesque Lounge that has seen better days.

It is owned by the retired dancer, Tess, and she struggles to keep the aging theater alive. She struggles with all kinds of financial and artistic challenges, such as the Lounge’s troupe members becoming distracted with personal issues.

On top of that, a wealthy businessman seeks to buy the venue from Tess, and he is not taking no for an answer.

Just when things look worse than ever, a small-town girl from Iowa called Ali starts working as a waitress at the Lounge, only to fall in love with the art of burlesque.

After getting on stage herself, her velvet voice becomes the main attraction, and the Lounge starts coming back to life.

The film stars Christina Aguilera, Cher, Cam Gigandet, Kristen Bell, Julianne Hough, Stanley Tucci, and others.

Honey (2003)

Jessica Alba in a white dress holding a microphone

In the eighth spot, we have one of my favorite movies, among the dance movies, at least, called Honey. Honey Daniels is a hip-hop choreographer who dreams of making a name for herself.

However, she finds ways to keep herself busy, such as hitting downtown clubs with her friends.

She also decided to teach dance classes in a nearby community center in Harlem. Being a dance teacher helps her stay in contact with the things she loves, while the dance school also helps to keep kids off the streets.

When she meets a famous director who offers to cast her in his music video, she thinks she hit jackpot.

However, she gets strongly disappointed when he starts demanding sexual favors in return.

The film stars Jessica Alba, Mekhi Phifer, Zachary Isaiah Williams, Romeo Miller, Joy Bryant, Missy Elliott, and others.

Dirty Dancing (1987)

When it comes Step Up and similar movies, it is impossible to make a list without mentioning Dirty Dancing.

One of the best dance movies, it is a cult classic, and it is one of those films that everyone should see at least once.

It follows Frances ‘Baby’ Houseman, a 17-year-old girl who expects the summer in the Catskills with her family to be just another tedious experience.

However, when she meets a professional dancer who needs a dancing partner, she finds herself enjoying the summer more than she expected.

She also finds herself falling in love. The film ends on a rather triumphant note, making it that much more enjoyable to watch.

The film stars the late Patrick Swayze, Jennifer Grey, Cynthia Rhodes, Kelly Bishop, Debra Messing, Jerry Orbach, and others.

Footloose (2011)

Kevin Bacon smiling

Moving on to the 10th place, we have Footloose. This is a film about Ren McCormack, a newcomer to a small midwestern town that has made both dancing and rock music illegal.

At first, he struggles to fit in, only to then decide to try and change things with his new best friend, Willard Hewitt, and a defiant teen called Ariel Moore.

Together, they seek to help the small southern town loosen up, and turn Footloose into a dancing movie.

There is only one major obstacle on their way, Ariel’s father, Reverend Shaw Moore, who is very influential, and very much against such ideas.

Footloose is another dance movie classic, and one very much worth watching if you have never seen it.

The film stars Kevin Bacon, Lori Singer, Chris Penn, Sarah Jessica Parker, John Lithgow, and others.

Flashdance (1983)

Nearing the end of the list, we have Flashdance, maybe one of the most popular films on this list. It follows Alex Owens, who is a welder by day and an exotic dancer by night.

At the same time, she seeks to join a ballet school and become a ballerina.

Her relationship with the new boss grows into a love story, which becomes even more important thanks to the fact that he is supportive of her dream.

Alex is frightened of failure, but Nick, her boss and new love interest, cheers her on, and so does her mentor, a former ballerina Hanna Long.

The film stars Jennifer Beals, Michael Nouri, Cynthia Rhodes, Lee Ving, Sunny Johnson, and others.

Step Up Revolution (2012)

Lastly, we have another dance film worth mentioning, which is Step Up Revolution.

The film has rather stunning choreography, which more than makes up for the unimpressive storyline about a dance crew that wants to organize flash mobs in order to shut down a real estate tycoon.

The film follows Emily, who arrives in Miami with an idea of becoming a professional dancer. There, she meats Sean, a leader of a dance crew which is endangered by Emily’s father’s development plans, since he’s the tycoon in question.

As mentioned, the film has some excellent dance scenes and while the story is not unique, it is also not that bad.

It certainly doesn’t mean that you should skip the film, especially since dance films are watched for the dancing itself, and that is where the film does deliver.

The film stars Ryan Guzman, Kathryn McCormick, Misha Gabriel Hamilton, Adam Gary, Stephen Boss, and others.

Did your favorite dance movie make my list? Let me know which one you loved the most or if I missed yours, I’d love to know too so drop me a comment below.

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