My Favorite Dance Numbers From Musicals

So, I don’t know exactly why but I got to thinking about what my favorite dances from musicals are and so that’s what I’m writing about. This might be a kinda weird blogpost but… let’s do it! Achtung, fertig, los!

· THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA’s “Hannibal Ballet” Sequence – So… I get chills even just thinking about this one. As a kid my parents took me to McCaw Hall (The Seattle Opera House) to see ballets at least once a year (my favorite is and was the Maurice Sendak version of “The Nutcracker” but that’s beside the point) and I always have had a soft spot for ballet. This is just overall an entrancing scene and I wish that we could have seen more of the ballet choreography for “Hannibal”. The lack of this ballet sequence (and I mean this exact one that is used on stage) is one of the reasons that I just don’t like to watch the 2004 movie (among other things). It’s a kind of dumb reason, I know, but I just love this scene.

· THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA’s “Masquerade” – So the obvious dance from PHANTOM to mention is “Masquerade”. How could I possibly not mention it in this post? This scene was a dream to see on stage. Seriously. My mom and I had pretty good seats so we could see every detail of every costume and man, that was awesome. Chills all around and definitely, definitely, definitely a wonderful beginning to Act II.

· THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA’s “Il Muto Ballet” Sequence – So, I couldn’t not mention this ballet sequence. This one is a lot more like the ballets that I am used to seeing and let me tell you: it’s beautiful. And the costumes? Man… I’m just getting really excited even just thinking about this scene.

· STARLIGHT EXPRESS’s “Starlight Express” – Does this even count as a dance? Maybe? Maybe not? Well… I’m counting it. Rusty does do some twirls on those roller skates of his. And seriously, this is just a really awesome scene. Love it to death. And Kevin Köhler is awesome as Rusty. If there’s a revival on Broadway, they’ve got to bring Kevin over from Germany. Seriously.

· STARLIGHT EXPRESS’s “Ne Lok Mit Lokomotion” (“A Lotta Locomotion”) – This one definitely counts as a dress. In this scene, we get to meet Dinah the dining car, Buffy the buffet car, Ashley the smoking car, and Pearl the observation train. Seriously, the use of the skates in this musical is awesome. Can’t express that enough. Wish it was still on Broadway. But it’s not so… one day, I’ll just have to fly to Germany to see this musical.

· WICKED’s Opening Sequence / “No One Mourns the Wicked” – I’m not sure if this one really counts as a dance but there is some dance action going on. And I just like it. The choreography for WICKED is done in a way that makes the show just transport you to a different world—Oz. And that’s awesome.

· WICKED’s “Dancing Through Life” – I first fell in love with WICKED when I heard Mark Seibert as Fiyero singing “Tanz Durch die Welt” (the German version of “Dancing Through Life”) on the German cast recording of WICKED. Ever since then, I’ve been hooked. And the choreography for this scene is utterly ridiculous and I mean that in the best way. It’s just so fun and whimsical to watch.

· OLIVER!’s “Fine Life” – Nancy is one of my favorite musical characters of all time and I think that I first fell in love with her character when I heard this song. This song is so vivacious and the way that Nancy just runs around and makes the best of her life is so wonderful and it’s impossible for me not to smile while watching this scene.

· OLIVER!’s “Who Will Buy?” and “Consider Yourself” – I’m gonna lump these together because I fell in love with them for the same reason. Both are large scale ensemble dance numbers and they were the first dance numbers that I ever really fell in love with (or saw). To this day, I still get excited while watching these scenes.

· SOMETHING ROTTEN!’s “It’s a Musical” – So, tap dancing is always fun. But I have never, ever, ever seen something so large-scale in musical theatre than “It’s a Musical”. Seriously. This song gets a standing ovation in the middle of Act I. The show stops for a little while to let the crowd just calm down. In the middle of Act I. How amazing is that? It’s the literal epitome of “Showstopper”.

· ELISABETH’s “Wenn Ich Tanzen Will” (“If I Want to Dance”) – I’m grinning like an idiot right now, just thinking about this scene. The first song from ELISABETH that I really, really got stuck in my head was “Wenn Ich Tanzen Will” and it’s stuck in my head to this day. Awesome, awesome scene and just really fun to watch, really. And the costumes? Man… those are beautiful costumes. I might even say that they’re the nicest costumes that I’ve ever seen.

· ELISABETH’s “Mayerling-Walzer” (“The Mayerling Waltz”) – So, this scene isn’t so much of a dance number as much as a scene that is super well-directed and choreographed. I’m gonna count it as a dance. Seriously. This scene. Chills. It’s a creepy scene. Definitely. But goodness gracious… it’s effective and it’s super awesome. Man, I love this scene.

· ELISABETH’s “Sie Passt Nicht” (“She Doesn’t Fit (In)”) – Besides “Wenn Ich Tanzen Will”, “Sie Passt Nicht” is the most obvious dance in ELISABETH. This scene takes place right after Sisi marries Franz Joseph and it’s clear that everyone in the Austrian Court thinks that Sisi doesn’t belong there. Also, the set here is awesome. It looks almost like a fairytale book and I’m getting a tad bit emotional just thinking about it.

· ELISABETH’s “Alle Tanzten Mit Dem Tod” (“Everyone Has Danced With Death”) – So… this might be my favorite symbolic dance of all time. And this scene is loaded with symbolism. The most obvious of the symbolisms in this scene? The obvious depiction of every character in the musical as being a puppet of someone whether that’s Luceni, Death himself, or someone else. And it’s just super powerful and kinda creepy. The set works really well with this scene as well.

· ELISABETH’s “Der Letzte Tanz” (“The Last Dance”) – This dance is kinda like “Wenn Ich Tanzen Will” in that Death is dragging Sisi around. Like usual (at least until the end). But this dance is almost… violent in a sense compared to “Wenn Ich Tanzen Will”. In “Wenn Ich Tanzen Will”, we more see Sisi as being used as a puppet by Death. In “Der Letzte Tanz”, Death is promising to claim Sisi and kinda throwing her around the stage. But it’s super well done. And seriously, I never cease to be amazed by how Mark Seibert doesn’t miss a note during this song. He’s running up and down the stage. He’s sliding across the stage. He’s running up a pretty steep lamp all the while and flinging himself down it again at pretty fast pace. All of that (the actions just described) happens within forty-five seconds. And he’s singing that whole time. Seriously. It’s amazing.

· ELISABETH’s “Die Schatten Werden Länger” (“The Shadows Grow Longer”) – Again, more puppet imagery. Except this time, Rudolf is the puppet and Death is (still) the puppet master. And it’s a frightening scene to watch as Rudolf is dragged around the stage by Death and being pushed and pulled around by him. Not to mention that in this scene, Death is practically trying to force Rudolf deeper into his despair and move him to suicide.

· TANZ DER VAMPIRE’s “Totale Finsternis” (“Total Darkness”) – This scene is so elegant. The dress that Sarah wears is practically a dream and all of the vampires are decked out in beautiful, beautiful costumes. Love it. And it’s just a really intriguing scene to sit back and just watch. It’s seriously amazing.

· TANZ DER VAMPIRE’s “Der Tanz der Vampire” (“The Dance of the Vampires”) – And here, we have the awesome, awesome finale to TANZ DER VAMPIRE. Granted, it’s not really a happy ending. But it’s definitely satisfying in this weird, weird way. And this dance number is pretty drop dead awesome (pun 100% intended).

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Okay, so I’ve made dumb jokes about vampires and went on and on about puppets today. Man… the things that I do before seven o’clock in the morning on a Monday. Anyways, what are some of your favorite dances from musicals? Did you find any of your favorites on this list? Tschüss!

Il Muto Ballet Sequence from THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
Mark Seibert and Annemieke Van Dam performing “Wenn Ich Tanzen Will” from ELISABETH
Christine Daae performing the Hannibal Ballet Sequence
PHANTOM Oberhausen, Germany – Masquerade
Kevin Köhler as Rusti in STARLIGHT EXPRESS in Bochum, Germany
Mercedesz Csampai as Sarah in the Finale of TANZ DER VAMPIRE
Mark Seibert as Death and Annemieke Van Dam as Sisi in ELISABETH

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12 thoughts on “My Favorite Dance Numbers From Musicals

  1. On this list, love the dance numbers of “Dancing Through Life” and “Masquerade”. I even love the dance of “What is This Feeling”, “Carrying the Banner”, “The World Will Know”, “Seize the Day”, and “King of New York”. I know I just listed four dance numbers from Newsies, but the show just has mind-blowing dance. Dancing in one of the most unique things when it comes to musicals

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    1. Don’t worry–I’m pretty sure I rattled on and on about how much I love the dance numbers from Elisabeth and the puppet imagery in this post. Some musicals just have better dance numbers than others, I think and it’s super cool to see the different styles used for different musicals.

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      1. Dancing Through Life is a special moment in Wicked. It is when Fiyero arrives and that is where the friendship between Elphaba and Glinda truly begins. Glinda made something magical for Elphaba that night and they truly bonded so it is a very important time for the musical. I think that is the number where the storyline truly begins

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      2. She doesn’t, thats for sure. It is unclear on when Elphaba friends Fiyero or when she fall in love with in him. Because literally like two or scenes after, Fiyero and Elphaba free the lion cub.

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      3. That scene wouldn’t happen the day after. Because I don’t think she would have friended Fiyero the next day. It is crazy how it took her until that scene to realize that she loves Fiyero. I want to say it has been at least a month or at least six months

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