12 of the best musical songs to dance to
A musical’s longevity or excitement around it often comes from a stellar dance number, capturing the imagination of audiences who watch the show, as well as inspiring future talent. From simplistic movement to technical steps, we take a look at musicals from the West End and Broadway with the best songs to dance to that have had incredible choreography performed to the songs.
Best dance songs from musicals
Do you want to get dancing?
Want to learn choreography from a West End show? Here’s original Six cast member Aimie Atkinson teaching the routine for “No Way”. Previously starring as Katherine Howard in Six at the Arts Theatre, she’s now leading the cast of Pretty Woman: The Musical as Vivian Ward. Why not try to master this choreography in an afternoon and impress all your friends and family who wish they were in the Queendom.
Or, if you’re wanting to take part in dance classes streamed to your home, take part in a Pros From the Shows masterclass. Created by Layton Williams who previously starred in Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, join industry professionals as they teach live singing, dance and acting classes. There’s lots of classes to get involved with each week, so discover a new style of performing today!
Musical theatre songs to dance to
Step In Time – Mary Poppins
Mary Poppins has returned! Back at the Prince Edward Theatre, Mary, Bert and the Banks children go over the rooftops in “Step in Time”, a high-energy dance number. With slow-motion movements and characters seemingly being able to walk on the ceiling, the production won the best choreography award at the 2005 Olivier Awards. Now, don’t miss Mary Poppins as it’s back in the West End, with songs including “A Spoonful of Sugar” and “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”.
Dancing Through Life – Wicked
While it may not feature the most difficult choreography, “Dancing Through Life” is a dazzling number in Wicked, as Boq and Nessarose grow closer together while Elphaba is gifted a black “witch hat” by Glinda. This musical number is one of the longest in the production, yet features the entire company and is led by Fiyero. Adam Garcia originated the role of Fiyero in the West End production, which has gone on to win audience choice awards in recent years, showing how the musical is still popular with audiences today!
Dancing Queen – Mamma Mia
Filled with ABBA’s greatest hits including “Take A Chance on Me” and “Waterloo”, Mamma Mia! has had audiences dancing in the aisle for two decades. As Sophie sets out to uncover the true identity of their father, Donna and the Dynamos reunite on the sunny, Greek island, performing “Dancing Queen”. So, if you’re wanting the time of your life in the West End, then Mamma Mia! is definitely the place to go.
Haus of Holbein – Six
The five-time Olivier Award-nominated musical sees the wives of Henry VIII share their stories at the Arts Theatre, and it’s packed with catchy songs including “Ex Wives” and “No Way”. But it’s the group number “Haus of Holbein” that really stands out. Bringing the German painting style to life, get ready to see the Queens really let loose in this number.
You Can’t Stop the Beat – Hairspray
Tracy Turnblad ushers in a progressive era for the Corny Collins show in Hairspray‘s “You Can’t Stop the Beat”, a spectacular dance number celebrating their new way of life. Get ready to see Edna Turnblad take to the stage, as well as the entire company performing an incredible routine – we can’t wait to see it at the London Coliseum in September 2020!
Turn It Off – The Book of Mormon
Elder McKinley leads the other elders serving in Uganda in a show-stopping performance of “Turn It Off” in The Book of Mormon, where everything should be as easy to control as turning a light switch on and off. As well as hilarious lyrics written by Matt Parker and Trey Stone, “Turn It Off” ends with a tap routine performed by the Mormons where their usual get up is transformed into something that’s a bit more showbiz. Casey Nicholaw won best theatre choreographer at the 2014 Olivier Awards and the show continues to entertain audiences at the Prince of Wales Theatre today.
Cross the Line – Bring it On
There’s so many energetic routines in Bring it On, thanks to the cheerleading moves and high-energy songs in the musical. But, if you’re looking for an empowering song to dance to, then you’ll want to play “Cross the Line”. See the kids of Truman High and Jackson High come together in a celebratory number that’s complete with flips and tricks. The musical’s coming to London later this year, starring Amber Davies as Campbell, so you’ll want to book tickets now.
42nd Street – 42nd Street
42nd Street is packed with tap routines throughout the show, with memorable dance routines including “Lullaby of Broadway” and “Getting Out of Town”. Yet, it is the final routine to “42nd Street” that showcases the talents of Peggy Sawyer as she transforms from chorus girl to a Broadway starlet. Revived in the West End in 2017, the production was nominated for best choreography. 42nd Street played its final performance on 5th January, but you can still relive the memories with this video.
Hot Honey Rag – Chicago
Velma Kelly and Roxie Hart put aside their differences and come together as a formidable Vaudeville duo in “Hot Honey Rag”. The pair showcase their dancing ability and synchronicity in choreography performed side by side. Bob Fosse choreographed Chicago, later nominated for best choreography when the production first opened on Broadway. Chicago ran at the Phoenix Theatre to celebrate the musical’s 21st anniversary, which closed on 5th January 2019.
Anything Goes – Anything Goes
Last revived in the West End from 2013 to 2014, Anything Goes blends authentic sounds from the 1930s with tap, ballet and jazz into a smooth musical. Nightclub singer Reno Sweeney travels on board the SS American from New York to London, entertaining the passengers with her musical performances. However, the stage is lit up when the entire cast come together to perform “Anything Goes”, a rousing dance number full of fun. Anything Goes was last revived on Broadway in 2011, starring Sutton Foster in the lead role and went on to win three Tony Awards including best choreography.
Dance at the Gym – West Side Story
There are so many dance numbers in West Side Story that have gone to become musical theatre favourites. From “America” to “Cool” and “Somewhere”, each song conveys dramatic storytelling through dance at its finest. However, the Dance at the Gym brings the Sharks and the Jets together in a frenzied dance battle where Tony and Maria meet for the first time. Raising pulses of audience members thanks to the high octane movement on stage, “Dance at the Gym” was performed at the 2009 Tony Awards, with the production receiving a nomination for best revival of a musical.
An American In Paris – An American In Paris
While An American in Paris is bursting with exquisite dance routines throughout the production, the majesty of the dancing in the title song cannot be rivalled. This 11 minute dance is a masterclass in ballet, as the lead characters Jerry and Lise perform a heartwarming pas de deux which catapults Lise to stardom. After premiering on Broadway in 2015, An American in Paris opened in the West End in 2017, closing on January 6, 2018.