Every time John Travolta dances, it makes the movie better. It makes the world better. Since his early years as a Hollywood heartthrob, Travolta showed that you can be a leading man... who also leads on the dance floor. There's always been a rhythmic, cool quality to Travolta's acting style, which seems to pulse from his signature dance moves. Travolta hits all the beats -- with a sense of humor. He's so good, he can't help but smirk while he's doing it! So in honor of that rare talent, enjoy this comprehensive list of John Travolta dancing. In no particular order.
My personal favorite John Travolta dance scene is in Michael. The 1996 chick flick stars Travolta as the archangel Michael whose mission from heaven takes him on a cross-country road trip with a pair of unlikely lovers (Andie MacDowell, William Hurt.) The film, by Nora Ephron, marked a foray into fantasy for the writer/director. But most memorably, Michael showcased Travolta's dynamic range. His wayward angel is studied, hilarious, and sexy... entirely bringing to life this ridiculous rom-com concept.
In the wonderful dance scene, Michael wreaks havoc at a country bar. Replacing The Mavericks on the jukebox with Aretha Franklin, he leads every lady in the joint through a smoky, gyrating group groove. Chain, chain, chain... The scene was filmed at Gruene Hall in Gruene, Texas. And the historic location still stands today! Gruene Hall is Texas' oldest continually operating dance hall.
Naturally, the dance scenes in Urban Cowboy delight any classic country fans. When Bud (Travolta) and Sissy (Debra Winger) take to the honky-tonk dance floor, early on in the film, they fall in love doing the two-step. But check out this deleted scene from the film, above, in which a bearded Travolta dances solo. The spirited jig is an awesome display that highlights Travolta's perfectionist tendencies -- he repeats the near-perfect number five times!
Of all the iconic dance scenes in Grease, it's Danny Zuko's effortless hand jive which really takes the cake. Compared to the rest of Grease's highly choreographed numbers, it's here that Travolta exhibits a more personal flare. He wins the high school dance-off handily -- no pun intended -- thanks to rhythmic body rolls and fun partner play. Even when he's clearly distracted by Sandy (Olivia Newton-John), Zuko's got the moves.
1985's Perfect follows the story of a journalist (Travolta) assigned to write an exposé on Los Angeles fitness clubs. The movie was a critical flop -- it's plain to see why -- but one scene with co-star Jamie Lee Curtis that's emerged as its own cult music video of sorts. Curtis plays the nimble, spandex-clad aerobics teacher, leading an eager class. As one of the few men in the room, Travolta's cocky confidence is on full, hilarious display exercising to "Wear Out the Grooves."
Saturday Night Fever
When Saturday Night Fever premiered in 1977, it immortalized New York City's colorful disco craze, put the Bee Gees on the map, and turned the young John Travolta into a groovy Hollywood A-lister. Its place in both cinema and dance history is unquestionable, from that spirited intro strutting down the streets of Bay Ridge to the final dance-off which popularized white suits and Travolta's classic "point move." Watch him groove out, above, to "You Should Be Dancing."
The dance scene from Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction is, easily, the most epic duet of all time. As the bolo-tied, pony-tailed gangster Vincent Vega, Travolta meets his match: the wily Mia Wallace, played by Uma Thurman. Together, their cheeky sock hop jive wows the crowd. Every move is silly, every expression so serious: that tone effectively characterizes the pair. It's a skillful scene. Being told through vignettes, Pulp Fiction follows many colorful characters but there's a reason why Mia and Vincent remain vivid to viewers. Even 27 years later!
Taking Diana For a Spin
In 1985, John Travolta and the late Princess Diana shared a waltz at White House gala hosted by Ronald Regan. Although there is no video footage available, stunning photographs have immortalized the unlikely moment. Speaking about the experience in 2019, Travolta said: "I was awestruck with her. She led the way, and I thought: 'Well, that's not going to happen! I've got to go back to my school days of learning ballroom dancing and show that I can lead her.'"
?Even a 2021 Super Bowl Ad?!
This recent Super Bowl Commercial for Scotts Miracle-Gro was absolutely star-studded with celebs. But Travolta showed them all up simply TikTok dancing with his 20-year-old daughter Ella Travolta. Tragically, both Travolta's son Jett and late wife Kelly Preston have passed; Preston died of breast cancer just last year. But even in this goofy clip, the close bond between the father-daughter duo is clear. No wonder the video was trending after the Super Bowl. "He's still got it," Martha Stewart remarks in the ad. And she's right!