Anyone who has been on a team can attest to the fact that more than half of the fun of teams is the bonding that goes on outside the studio.
With my team, I try to hold movie night once or twice a month. Here’s a few I think you and your team will enjoy.
The Spirit Moves
The classic. Someone gave up years of their life to bring you a representation of the dance done at the Savoy. Watch it all, not just the well-known parts. There’s a lifetime of influences and inspiration in here.
* Bonus: Track down a movie called “In a Jazz Way” which is about the making of Spirit Moves, and you’ll see some footage with original savoy dancers.
What Happened Miss Simone
Prepare to be moved, saddened, and to understand her music in a whole new way.
Swing (2002) by Tony Gatlif
Arguably the hardest to find of the lot, this movie will give you a lifelong love for Jazz Manouche. Swing played in the style of Django Reinhardt. One of the highlights is an interview caught by accident with someone who lived through the jazz era, and they weaved it into the story line. One detail you might not know is that in the Romani culture, after people have died they are never spoken of again, so unearthing this history is pretty special.
Slim Gaillard, a Traveller’s Tale
A rare BBC documentary about Slim Gaillard. Strange, fun, and another dose of strange; you’ll never dance to another Slim and Slam tune the same.
No Maps On My Taps
If this movie doesn’t make you want to tap, nothing will. The music is phenomenal, and you’ll learn a few names you might not have known before.
Understanding the progression of street dance into the modern age is part of being able to understand the dance we do today. Plus, the physicality of these dancers is downright inspiring.
Sometimes we all need a little motivation to think outside the box. This is a movie honoring the life’s work of Pina Bausch. They use different body types, interesting stages and themes that will expand on what you thought dance could do.
There were a lot of ballrooms besides the Savoy, and some of them even went on to have a history beyond the swing era.
An extremely well done movie with a sequence done by Ryan Francois. Besides the dancing, it’s a really interesting historical piece.
Watch Queen Latifah bring Bessie Smith to life in this film. A bit racy, so be warned, but you’ll never hear her music the same way.
The Margaret Batiuchok films
Margaret Batiuchok did a master’s thesis on Lindy Hop a long time before most of us had even heard of Lindy Hop. They are really worth a careful watch, you’ll be more connected to the history than you were before watching.
What’s better than a movie with people that you actually know in it?
A movie about the history of Louis Armstrong.
Ken Burn’s Jazz
You’ll learn _so_ much. Totally worth the time investment
Queen of Swing
A documentary about Norma Miller.
Swing! The Documentary
We would love to add your suggestions to our movie list! Post below with your favorite (must be at least 30 minutes long, please no clips or short videos)