“You’re an angry dancer. I’m the same way.” Fred Astaire reportedly said those words to Michael Jackson in 1983 after he premiered his signature move, the moonwalk, at Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever. Dancing has long been used to convey emotion in television and film—love, sadness, that feeling when the dry cleaner gets the mustard out—but in the early ‘80s we were treated to a new kind of dance, the Angry Solo Dance. Spotting an ASD is easy enough. Watch for the intensity and speed of Michael Jackson mixed with the lyrical movements and technical skill of Fred Astaire. Throw in a dash of father-based angst and you’ve got a scene that gets to the bottom of a character’s true feelings, without all that boring soliloquizing.
Here now are the best Angry Solo Dances of the past 30 years.