10 Classic Rooftop Dance Sequences Inspired by the New ‘Annie’ Trailer

Tomorrow has finally arrived, and it has brought with it the trailer for the upcoming Annie remake, starring Quvenzhané Wallis as the titular orphan and a supporting cast that includes Cameron Diaz as Miss Hannigan and Jamie Foxx as the modern-day Daddy Warbucks, Will Stacks. In this version of the classic story, Wallis’ Annie lives with her evil foster caretaker (Diaz) and several other over-worked, unappreciated girls in Harlem before she is plucked out of her apartment by the billionaire mogul Stacks, who is running for mayor and looking for an attention-grabbing photo opp. After she moves into his penthouse apartment, the two grow closer and both of them find the family they’ve been searching for.

Of course, any time a beloved classic is remade or updated, people are bound to be apprehensive. But no matter how you feel about the score getting a vaguely hip-hop remix or Diaz chewing the scenery as the obnoxious Miss Hannigan, Annie fans can take comfort in the fact that the trailer shows the new film featuring an important staple of musical cinema. We are instead referring to the scenes of Wallis and the rest of the cast dancing around the rooftops of New York City, which has long been a feature of films, movies and musicals. 

In honor of the new Annie trailer, we’ve decided to salute Wallis and her castmates for their bravery and and well-executed choreography with a list of ten great rooftop dance sequences from film and television. Although please, don’t actually try this home. We really don’t want to be responsible for inspiring a wave of severe injuries just for the sake of a light-hearted dance routine. We’re including clips, just live vicariously through them.

Empire Records 
After you’ve damned the man and saved the Empire, what better way to celebrate than with a rooftop dance party? Joe owns the store now, everyone’s forgotten about Lucas stealing the money, Warren has a job, Corey and AJ are officially together, Gina and Deb are finally getting along and Mark… well, he’s Mark, so everyone gets to spin around the roof in the glow of the newly-fixed sign. If you’re looking for a way to celebrate Rex Manning Day, this is it. 

10 Things I Hate About You 
If we’ve learned anything from the teen movies of the ’90s, it’s that a story has never properly ended until someone gives a rooftop performance while the credits roll, and 10 Things I Hate About You wrapped up the love story of Heath Ledger and Julia Stiles by having Letters to Cleo perform a Cheap Trick cover on what appeared to be the tallest castle spire in all the land. And lest you worry that this scene doesn’t fit the “dancing” criteria of this list, we’d like to remind you of the two guys in this band whose sole purpose it is to arm-dance behind the lead singer. Don’t shatter their dreams.

The Princess and the Frog
Teen movies aren’t the only ones that like to wrap up a story with some well-lit, rooftop dancing; Disney has fallen victim to the same urge, and The Princess and the Frog ends with Tiana and Naveen dancing a giddy Charleston in the skyline over New Orleans at sunset. You know how people say that Disney films have given them unrealistic expectations about love and life? This scene is one of the reasons why. 

West Side Story 
Yes, the main character of this film is technically sweet, innocent Maria, but everyone knows the real star was Anita, who was played to perfection by Rita Moreno. The scene that established her dominance over the movie musical genre is the rooftop-set dance off “America.” She gets all the best lines, all the best dance moves, and once she starts sassing the boys and twirling her skirt, it’s impossible to care about Tony and Maria’s sappy romance anymore. If you watch carefully, you can pinpoint the exact high kick that earned Moreno that Oscar. 

Friends, “The One With the Ballroom Dancing” 
In order to keep the superintendent, Mr. Traeger, from evicting Rachel and Monica, Joey sucks up to him by helping him learn how to dance for “The Super Ball,” which culminates in a tender, beautifully choreographed dance sequence between the two on the roof of the building. Who knew Joey was so smooth? 

Annie, TrailerCBMTrailers/YouTube

Mary Poppins 
When you think “dancing on the roof,” it’s almost impossible not to think about the chimney sweeps tap dancing and high kicking around the roofs of London. Thanks to the repetitive lyrics, everyone can learn to do this dance (once you figure out what Dick Van Dyke is saying through that terrible accent), and everyone did when they were little, stomping and twirling their way around the living room along with all of the chimney sweeps. And if you were really adventurous, you probably threw in some couch-hopping as well. 

Clerks II
No matter how foul-mouthed your characters are, there’s always an opportunity to work in a romantic rooftop dancing scene, and so Kevin Smith managed to work on into Clerks II with Becky attempting to teach Dante how to dance to “ABC” by the Jackson 5. Unlike the rest of the films on this list, this one turns into an all-out, elaborate dance party, but it all started with Rosario Dawson shimmying around the roof. 

High School Musical 3 
Sometimes the rooftop dance sequence is important to the plot, sometimes it’s a fun moment of celebration, and sometimes it’s just there to look pretty, which is the case with Troy and Gabriella’s number in High School Musical 3. Theoretically, it’s part of Troy asking her to the prom, but mostly it’s just in there because Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens hadn’t sung a touching ballad to each other since the pervious movie. However, we do give director Kenny Ortega bonus points for managing to work in a second rom-com staple: dancing in the rain. 

Victorious, Multiple Episodes 
What can we say? Tween movies and television shows love to feature people dancing on top of roofs. No show made more use of this trope than Victorious, where seemingly every performance took place on the school’s roof, including a prom number featuring Victoria Justice and a pre-pop stardom Ariana Grande singing a song about having a crush on your best friend’s older brother. Again, bonus points to Dan Schneider for managing to work a thunderstorm into this performance, which surprisingly doesn’t concern the kid playing the electric guitar at all. 

Moulin Rouge 
In a film that featured characters singing, dancing and falling in love all over Paris, it’s no surprise that the biggest, most romantic moment occurred on a rooftop that was covered in flowers, fairy lights, and a giant windmill that was often utilized for dramatic moments. We are, of course, referring to the “Elephant Love Medley,” which is less formally known as the moment that everyone fell head over heels in love with Ewan McGregor. Forget “Come What May,” this is the dance sequence that teenage girls the world over dream about.