- The Washington Times - Friday, September 18, 2009

Patrick Swayze died Monday at 57 after a public battle with pancreatic cancer. The actor, dancer and singer-songwriter put all his talents to use in one of his most iconic roles, the instructor in “Dirty Dancing.” That movie’s finale, in which Mr. Swayze finally lifts Jennifer Grey up in the air, has been described more than once as “goose-bump-inducing” and is one of the best dance scenes in a nonmusical film.

1. Pulp Fiction - The 1994 Quentin Tarantino gangster flick resurrected John Travolta’s career. The twist contest his character enters - and wins - with Uma Thurman is a sly nod to the actor’s former fame in dance films including “Saturday Night Fever.”

2. Risky Business - They say this 1983 film launched Tom Cruise’s career, but really, it was just the scene of him dancing in a pink shirt and underwear to Bob Seger’s “Old Time Rock and Roll” that did it. It’s so iconic that Heidi Klum re-created it for a Guitar Hero ad - and then brought a few supermodel friends along for the sequel.

3. Picnic - Perhaps the key to stardom is getting into a movie with a distinctive dance number. It worked for Kim Novak, who fell in love with William Holden to the tune of “Moonglow” in that 1955 Oscar-winning film.

4. The Full Monty - The best scene in this 1997 comedy isn’t the climactic one, in which the down-on-their-luck blue-collar Sheffield guys finally perform the Chippendales-style act they’ve put together to make some dough. It’s when they spontaneously break into dance in the dole line when Donna Summer’s disco classic “Hot Stuff” comes on the radio.

5. Zorba the Greek - By the end of this 1964 film, the British Basil (Alan Bates) and the Greek Zorba (Anthony Quinn) have witnessed death, both natural and unnatural. And though the invention they’ve spent the movie working on has turned out to be an utter failure, they still find comfort in each other’s friendship. Basil sheepishly asks Zorba to teach him to dance, and the famous “Zorba’s dance” was born.

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