Kriota Willberg asks: What’s the Worst Dance Film Ever?


“The Bentfootes” by Kriota Willberg & Todd Alcott

At the next Kinetic Cinema on June 2nd, choreographer Kriota Willberg will be presenting a hilarious program of the worst dance films in history. To help her compile her list, she is seeking input from the community. Please comment here with your top picks of the worst dance films, and come out to Kinetic Cinema to see what makes the cut!

From Kriota:

1.  WHAT, IN YOUR OPINION, IS THE WORST DANCE FILM OF ALL TIME, EVER?  It can be a full film or just an excerpt, and any style or type of dance at all, but it has to be on film.

2. WHY?

Please submit your answers in the comments section below by Friday May 16th.
reason I’m asking is that I’m putting together an evening of “Bad”
dance film clips.   As many of you know, I’ve been studying bad and
mediocre dance for a number of years.  As I put the program together, I
am organizing examples of different categories of Bad  (offensive,
inept, confusing, etc.) from the early 1900’s to the present.  As an
acknowledgment to the highly personal perception of bad dance, I’d love
to get your input.  Below is the description and particulars of the
Thanks for your time!

Kriota Willberg

On June 2,
Kinetic Cinema will feature dance films selected by choreographer Kriota
Willberg.  The theme of the evening is The Worst of the Best, a
tour of inspiringly bad dance films from the early 1900’s to the present. Truly
awful dance is powerful art.  We react strongly to it as an audience, we
relate our horrible experiences to our friends and warn them away from it, we
laugh, we seethe, we remember it far longer than “good” dance, and
possibly longer than “great” dance.   Join us for film and discussion
as we chase that ethereal muse, Badness, through the work of generations of
dance film artists.

Monday June
2, 7:30pm (and the first Monday of every month)

$5 Admission
(buy tix at the door)

279 Church Street (just south of White Street)
New York, NY

Trains: 1 to
Franklin; A, C,
E to Canal

Cinema at Collective:Unconscious explores the intersection of dance and the
moving image both on screen and stage. Each month curator Anna Brady Nuse
invites a special guest from the dance community to share the films and videos
that have inspired or moved them. These could be films that feature dance, are
kinetic-based, or have been influential on their work in some way. The guest curators
come from a range of backgrounds as performers, choreographers, critics, and

This entry was posted in artists, history, Kinetic Cinema, screenings/events and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Kriota Willberg asks: What’s the Worst Dance Film Ever?

  1. Martin says:

    It’s easy, just show pretty much any dance film ever made and you’re golden! might take a while though!

  2. Anna Brady Nuse says:

    Thanks for your comment Martin. Your love for the genre has been duly noted!

    I will offer up for nomination my beloved “Girls Just Want to Have Fun”, which I’m not ashamed to admit was my favorite dance film in 1985 when I was 8 yrs old. See my post: “Something for the mid-winter blues” on Jan 24, 2008 for a clip of the final dance routine starring a young Sarah Jessica Parker. The choreography is unbelievably trite, the music, lights and costumes are gag-a-rific, and the plot is so cliche it needs not be explained. Still, this film got into my consciousness during my pre-taste era (that magical time before one has developed any powers of discernment), and I may not have gotten into dance at all if I hadn’t been exposed to this work of abomination. So all hail the bad dance film, and if you want to mess your children up forever, make sure they get exposed to a few early on!

  3. Marilyn says:

    I know this is way late for you deadline, but this is the first chance I’ve had to read Move the Frame. I’d say “Stayin’ Alive”. The choreography was weird, but worse, the frenetic film editing left very little dancing on the screen. If this hadn’t been a movie, it might have been all right.

  4. Anna Brady Nuse says:

    Excellent nomination Marilyn! “Staying Alive” truly is one of the worse films ever made, let alone the worse dance film. I just watched the final dance scene on YouTube and could barely make it through the 4 minutes, it’s excruciating:

    This is definitely worthy of the top ten list.

  5. Marilyn says:

    It has been a long time since I saw this piece of crap. I take one of my statements back. If it had been a stage production, it would have been just as bad, if not worse.

  6. Maria says:

    I have also missed the deadline, but I would be remiss if I did not submit “Lambada.” It’s got it all: bad ’80s latin pop (think miami sound machine put to muzak), racial stereotypes, misogyny, big permed backlit hair, and shots that are so short or close up that to this day I have no idea how the lambada is actually danced.

  7. Anna Brady Nuse says:

    Wow, the ’80s were just so rife with bad dance films! This is great because Kriota mentioned most of her choices were from the 40’s, so this may help balance out the program. I wonder how history will view the dance movies of this decade?

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