10 most underrated music video dance routines

We’re gonna let Sia finish, but these are some of the best music video dance routines of all time!

by i-D Team
13 February 2015, 3:05pm

Dance routines are the absolute best. Not just mesmerising (and often emotional) to watch, they're also hugely fun to participate in. While retaining important information is often a struggle, complex steps to the Macarena, Saturday Night, 5,6,7,8 and if you're really good, a couple of Bring It On routines, are lodged deep down in a fun part of our brains. No disrespect to Sia - seriously, we're still watching Chandelier and Elastic Heart on a daily basis - but let's take a look back to the less appreciated dance routines that are more than deserving of our fictional awards. Twist, shout, let it all out… and for a fun night in this weekend, why not attempt to learn the routines? Don't lie, we know you're into that too.

Most obviously beautiful video: Hozier, Take me to Church
It must be strange being branded the "bad boy of ballet" because who's your competition, really. Starring the British Royal Ballet's Sergei Polunin in a naturally lit beautiful sort-of-barn and directed by none other than David LaChapelle, this video was bound to be beautiful, it couldn't be anything but. The choreography responds so directly to the passion and depth of Hozier's track, it's an absolute pleasure. SR

Most unexpectedly uplifting video: Flying Lotus,Never Catch Me
Directed by Tokyo-born Hiro Murai, the video for Flying Lotus' Never Catch Me opens with several very sombre shots of two small coffins in a church. With a cymbal crash, the kids rise from their deathbeds to dance the lindy hop at their own funeral. Carried by Kendrick's vocals, the musical collaboration came about thanks to a suggestion from Dr Dre and comes peppered with perfectly-timed clapping. Happy and free, the departed duo dance unseen out of the church and into the playground. Their moves are super fast and dead impressive. FD

Best-cast celebrity guest: Arcade Fire, Afterlife
Spike Jonze directed a live music video for the 2013 Youtube Music Awards featuring Greta Gerwig at the height of her Frances Ha fame dancing around a fake flat while Arcade Fire played Afterlife. Greta's character dances off her break up and performs a routine about relief, leaping enthusiastically like it's Year 1 PE class and lunch is next. Leaving the flat set, she enters a nearby corridor forest where Arcade Fire are playing, and finally lands on stage joining the full band and a troupe of excitable girls. Good, clean fun. SR

Most inspiring performance: Robyn, Call Your Girlfriend
We're not entirely sure how Robyn does that first sequence - the sort of forward moonwalk across the room - but it looks awesome and is a lot more difficult to copy than you might think. With a lovelorn look in her eyes and fire in her heart, she swings her arms like she was born to do it and packs a hell of a punch. BOOM! One minute in, the sports hall turns into a school disco and things gets a little more experimental with plenty of floorwork and some definite thrusting. It's worth pointing out that the Swedish queen does the whole thing wearing huge platform trainers. What is Robyn ultimately trying to teach us with this number? Channel your negative energy into something beautiful! We could all learn a thing or two from this babe. FD

Most original choreography: OK GO, Here It Goes Again
Just yes. If only this is what people did at gyms. Everything about this video is right; the awful loafers, shirts, trousers, waistcoats, beards and people pass through because the choreography is probably the most perfect thing that person ever did. Who needs budget for a music video, you just need imagination and a large piece of silver paper, although it might have worked better without the silver paper. What fun. SR

Best unlikely male lead: Fatboy Slim, Weapon Of Choice
Starting with a few slight head moments, Captain Koons soon jumps up and stuns less initiated followers with his moves. Completely deadpan, he click-steps and taps his way through an empty hotel, even making dancing down an up escalator look smooth. Following a succession of stag leaps he walks with a hell of a lot of rhythm, doing things with his hands that drive us wild; the jazzy T-Rex arms at 2:14 being our particular favourite. As if the regular dancing wasn't quite enough he starts to fly around the lobby because why the hell not? "Well, that was fun..." he thinks as he sits himself back down in his sensible suit to contemplate life some more. Christopher Walken fans united. FD

Best expression of a feeling: Breach, Everything You Never Had
This video is about the not particularly existential journey of a night out. Specifically, the period where you start to feel hot, start rubbing your thighs and arms for comfort, start to drop off and lose your sense of time, and then something happens and you're back in the game. At which point, with any luck, you'll look like this. The choreography is especially good here because it's about six or seven moves in a sequence, like the Macarena, Saturday Night or 5,6,7,8. It's learnable, unlike Chandelier, and that's satisfying. SR

Best arthouse dancehouse: Chairlift, Amanaemonesia
It is amanaemonesia? We're undecided because we're not entirely sure what that word means. Amanae, according to google, is a "powerful body work that that facilitates the release of old, sometimes unconscious traumas and emotional blockages." Amanaemonesia however… the action of? A resulting elated feeling? Either way, the beautiful Caroline somehow looks stunning in her shiny mint green bodysuit as she tries to let go of her past and rediscover her self through dance. The twinkly, downward, face-framing jazz fingers at 1:12 are very Labyrinth and will undoubtedly be making an appearance at the next i-D Mix night alongside 1:54's bum shake. If Kate Bush had released a dance video in 2011, we like to imagine it would have looked a little something like this. Bonus feature: Karaoke. FD

Best unofficial music video: Nicki Minaj, Anaconda
Try and take your eyes off the girl in yellow. She's Kaelynn Harris. She's fucking amazing. It's a dance video of a music video so it's not really suitable, we just want you to watch it. For a no budget video shot on a phone at a dance studio, 8.5 million views isn't bad. The choreography is exceptional; thanks be to Tricia Miranda. To be fair, the actual music video, featuring Nicki Minaj, has nearly 400 million hits, but that's because it's Nicki Minaj and the song is great, not because of the choreography, which is basically sex positions. So for the love of dance, here this is. SR


Text Francesca Dunn and Sarah Raphael

music video
Nicki Minaj
Fatboy Slim
Weapon of Choice
Dance Routines