In honor of my novel Cosmic Dancer—a metaphysical tale of dance, love, and dancing between lifetimes—I am announcing the winners in the first annual Cosmic Dancer Dance in Film Awards for English-language films released in 2012.
Joseph and I love dancing, and therefore dance movies.
Give us any kind of dancing: West Side Story, Dirty Dancing, Flash Dance, The Turning Point, Boot Men, Dance with Me, Saturday Night Fever, Center Stage, Step Up, Bollywood movies, and on and on. We’ve watched all three films titled Shall We Dance? Not to mention documentaries and television celebrations of dance and dancers, along with a number of movies that we suffered through only for the dancing.
Can’t leave out the old films with Fred, Ginger, Gene, and others hoofing it all over the silver screen: on ships, over furniture, up walls, around hotel rooms, among parades, and in the rain.
More recently, we’ve had to rely on television series to keep our dance mania alive while some real stinkers have shown up at the cineplex.
But in 2012 we noticed filmmakers using dance in exciting new ways, featuring choreographers we’ve come to love. We wanted to honor and applaud those efforts to bring quality dancing into movie theaters.
Hence the Cosmic Dancer Dance in Film Awards, which we hope to make an annual tradition, encouraging more good dancing in excellent films.

If you love dance, dancers, and dancing,  please join us to promote better dancing in the movies by sharing our winners list around the Net via Facebook, Twitter, your own blog, or wherever! And be sure to support the makers of the following films.

Which were your favorites this year? Or for all time? We’d love to hear your opinions in the comments section below! Did we miss any good ones?

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2012 Winners of the Cosmic Dancer

Dance in Film Awards

Best Dramatic Use of Dance: Anna Karenina, directed by Joe Wright.

For a stunningly clever Viennese waltz choreographed by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, and for the director’s overall use of choreographed movement. Apparently, we’re not the only ones who noticed how extraordinary the Wright/Cherkaoui team was:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/24/arts/dance/sidi-larbi-cherkaouis-choreography-for-anna-karenina.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

Best Choreography: Travis Wall, Christopher Scott, Jamal Sims, and Chuck Maldonado, choreographers of Step Up Revolution, directed by Scott Speer

For their wild, daring, passionate, and innovative numbers.

Kathryn McCormick and Ryan Guzman in Step Up Revolution
Best Dancing: The dancers of Step Up Revolution, especially Kathryn McCormick
     For keeping up with those choreographers and pushing the envelope.
Most Therapeutic Use of Dance: Silver Linings Playbook, directed by David O. Russell, choreographed by Mandy Moore

You’ll understand why if you watch the film!

Scene from Silver Linings Playbook

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Now it’s difficult to choose “bests” without coming across a few disappointments, and sometimes the disappointment is so harsh, you just have to mention it in the hope that you can discourage such missteps by future filmmakers. That’s my excuse anyway.

 

Most Underused Dancer: Julianne Hough in Rock of Ages, directed by Adam Shankman, choreographed by Adam Shankman and Mia Michaels

It’s a fun movie, but she’s a dancer we’d like to see more from. We had to find her edited-out dance scene with Tom Cruise on YouTube, where it seems to be very popular (and R-rated).

Most Ill-Used Dancer: Channing Tatum in Magic Mike, directed by Steven Soderbergh, choreographed by Alison Faulk.
     His talent deserves better than this dark mess.
Fastest Turn-Off:  Battlefield America, directed by Chris Stokes, choreographers’ names withheld to protect the innocent.

Joseph and I used to brag that they’d never make a dance movie we couldn’t enjoy but we were wrong. A trite script is one thing, but too many unlikable characters and odious plot lines and it becomes this year’s reject, winning the dubious “Fastest Turn-Off” award after only 34 minutes! The dancing might have been good, but we wouldn’t know because of the poor camera angles and editing on the little bit we could stand to watch.

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I’m happy to say Julianne Hough must have a great sense of humor and made up for her lack of dancing in Rock of Ages at an after-party for the Golden Globes. Wish we’d been there to see it! Here’s the photo she posted on Instagram: http://instagram.com/p/Udpboaifw4/

Happy dancing and movie-going!
We’ve got high hopes for 2013!
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