See these Broadway musicals featuring show-stopping dances

See all types of dance from classic musical theatre to signature moves coined by pop icons.

Gillian Russo
Gillian Russo

We've all walked out of a musical awed at the actors' powerhouse singing, humming the show's catchy tunes, and running to add the complete score to our playlists. They're called musicals for a reason! But also...can we make "danceicals" a thing? While the music is (obviously) key to the greatness of a musical, you've probably also found yourself marveling at a gravity-defying leap or intricate, fast-footed steps on stage. In plenty of Broadway musicals, dance is king. Or queen, in the case of musicals like Six.

You can't experience Broadway dance routines with a cast album. You have to be there — and in many cases, dance is a major part of the storytelling that takes the Broadway show to a whole new level. There are so many dance styles you can see: classic musical theatre, jazz, ballet, hip-hop, and the unique choreography pioneered by pop icons like Tina Turner and Michael Jackson. Sure, you can see Broadway dance tutorials online, too, but not a whole show's worth! Nothing beats the fun of seeing award-winning choreography live.

So, what are you waiting for? Shuffle off to the Theatre District and see these Broadway shows with dancing galore. Get ready to groove along in your seat!

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Six reimagines the six wives of Henry VIII as a pop group, each of whom sings an infectiously catchy song about Henry's mistreatment of them to determine who will lead the group. The five not singing their solo at any given time support with background vocals and movement — even if they're not very supportive of each other. (Or are they?) It's impressive to watch the Queens move almost as a unit, with every head nod, step, and hip perfectly synchronized, thanks to Carrie-Anne Ingrouille's choreography.

In a nutshell, watching Six is like watching a pop star and their backup dancers at a high-energy concert. And you know when you're at a concert, you want to stand up and groove, too! Unfortunately, you can't dance along during the show, but the best part of the Six choreography is that it's simple and clean. With a quick few YouTube tutorials (and a trip to see the show live), you can learn the dances move-for-move and pretend you're a Broadway queen at home.

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Photo credit: Chicago cast (Photo by Jeremy Daniel)


Chicago is almost synonymous with one of the most iconic Broadway choreographers of all time: Bob Fosse. Sharp, angular arm movements (like the above); hip rolls; snaps; and small, specific movements define his signature, sultry style of jazz. It's all on display in every moment of Chicago, a thrilling story of a wannabe vaudeville star-turned-murderess whose crime gets her on the front page of every newspaper in the city.

Fosse choreographed the original Chicago Broadway production in 1975, but he died before the 1996 revival was in the works. So Ann Reinking, who originated the role of Roxie, choreographed the new production in his style and won the Best Choreography Tony Award (Fosse only got nominated!). That revival is still running 25 years later, so Chicago is just as much Reinking's show as Fosse's — but he'll always be known for all that jazz.

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Moulin Rouge! The Musical

You can-can-can expect to see plenty of energetic choreography at Moulin Rouge! The Musical, and the 36 kicks each can-can dancer has to do in succession in the opening number are just the start of this mind-blowing dance musical. Choreographer Sonya Tayeh incorporates multiple different styles into this story of love and showbiz in bohemian, 20th-century Paris. Oh, and did we mention Tayeh won a 2020 Best Choreography Tony Award for doing so?

You'll see plenty of jazz and musical theatre choreography, but there are also elements of ballroom dance, as in the iconic number "El Tango de Roxanne," and even classical ballet-inspired moves. Like the award-winning film it's based on, Moulin Rouge! The Musical features dozens of pop songs from various decades mashed up into medleys. It's fitting, then, that the choreography is just as diverse and eclectic as the music and the show itself.

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The Book of Mormon

The Book of Mormon

Casey Nicholaw is the master of modern musical comedy choreography. His work is bouncy, fun, and often infused with physical humor and/or at least one instance of tap dancing. If you've seen AladdinSomething Rotten!, or Mean Girls, you're familiar with his Tony-nominated work, which he often also directs. Another case in point is The Book of Mormon, the irreverent comedy about Mormon missionaries that's been on Broadway for 11 divine years.

Take the song "Two By Two," for example — Elders Price and Cunningham are hoping to get sent on mission to Disney World, so Nicholaw invented "cheesy theme-park choreography," as he himself describes it. And in "All-American Prophet," the Book of Mormon ensemble dances their way through the true story of Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon religion, truthfully yet comically. As David Schmader of The Stranger puts it, "If you want to economically underscore the ridiculousness of someone's argument, have them make it while doing an aggressively energetic 'funky strut' dance."

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MJ The Musical

MJ The Musical

There's a reason Michael Jackson is the only musical artist in the Dance Hall of Fame: He was a dancing machine. His dancing versatility was almost as expansive as his catalogue of hit songs: He popularized dances from the sharp, rigid robot to the totally opposite, smooth moonwalk. These signature moves and plenty more are all on display in MJ The Musical, which takes audiences through Jackson's life and career as he rehearses for his 1992 Dangerous World Tour.

Though Jackson's hit music is obviously a key part of MJ The Musical, it's really a dance show. Many of the rehearsal scenes and flashbacks alike feature Jackson and his backup dancers performing on stage, and dance numbers let the actors move smoothly through scene transitions. Plus, director/choreographer Christopher Wheeldon teamed up with "movement consultants" Rich and Tone Talauega, brothers who actually danced with Jackson, to make the movement as authentic to Jackson's style as possible. If you come out of MJ The Musical feeling energized, blame it on the boogie! (Not that that's a "Bad" thing — you can't help it.)

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Hell's Kitchen

You may come to Hell's Kitchen eager to hear the songs of Alicia Keys, who co-created this musical loosely inspired by her coming of age in NYC. But you're going to want to stay for the electric, explosive choreography of two-time Tony Award nominee Camille A. Brown.

Her movement blends Juba, step, contemporary, hip-hop, ballet, and more, capturing the energy of the city and its diverse residents. That's fitting for a show told through the eyes of a 17-year-old who sees her community as a vibrant place of art and opportunity.

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Back to the Future: The Musical

Choreographer Chris Bailey got a large ensemble for this stage adaptation of the cult-classic time-travel film, and he uses it to the fullest. Dance isn't the first thing you may think of when you hear Back to the Future (save for the Enchantment Under the Sea Dance), but it will be after you see this show.

The name of the game here is whimsy as Marty McFly travels from 1955 to 1985. The ensemble conveys youthful energy as they portray dancing high school students. Things take a more tender turn at the aforementioned school dance, where Marty's parents fall in love. And Doc Brown, the eccentric scientist who invents time travel, gets a full troupe of leggy chorus girls as backup for all his numbers. Why? The better question is, why not? "They show up every time I start singing," he nonchalantly explains.

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Illinoise is a dance theatre piece — there's very little dialogue, but much of the story is told through choreography by Tony Award winner Justin Peck, known for his work on the recent West Side Story film and with the New York City Ballet. Alongside his dance moves, the show's rich portrait of the people of title state unfolds through the music of indie folk sensation Sufjan Stevens, as the show is adapted from his celebrated 2005 album of the same name.

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