See incredible dance shows in the West End

Perform a tantalising tango in Moulin Rouge, or tap dance your way through Guys and Dolls by watching these dance musicals with high-energy routines.

Marianka Swain
Marianka Swain

Come and meet those dancing feet! Yes, 42nd Street is tapping its way back into the West End, but it’s far from the only musical playing in London with irresistible dance routines. Of course, dance is a foundational part of musical theatre, and traditionally every big show would involve fancy footwork. Now, we have a range of approaches in a genre that grows increasingly eclectic; some musicals are less jazz hands (and feet), while others are more cerebral.

That variety is one reason we love the art form, but sometimes, you just want a big, expressive dance show performed by an incredible company. Look at the jaw-dropping choreography and movement in recent productions like Newsies to see the remarkable talent in this country. So, start planning your trip to these tip-top toe-tapping dance shows.

Ain't Too Proud - 750 - LT

Ain’t Too Proud - The Life and Times of the Temptations

When it comes to smooth moves, you’d be hard-pressed to beat The Temptations — especially as presented in the winning Motown bio-musical Ain’t Too Proud. A huge part of the band’s appeal was their super-slick, perfectly synchronised choreography: the finger snaps in unison, the way they each used a mic stand like a dance partner. It’s mesmerising to watch.

Sergio Trujillo, who won a Tony Award for his brilliant work, cleverly honours The Temps’ original moves while upping the voltage and impact for this stage show. The West End cast are all impressively slick – although the show-stealer is definitely Tosh Wanogho-Maud, phenomenal as the great (but troubled) showman David Ruffin. Watching him deliver “My Girl” with swagger and pizzazz is a treat.

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Crazy For You - 750 - LT

Crazy For You

This gloriously silly Gershwin musical is basically an excuse to perform s’wonderful songs like “Someone to Watch Over Me,” “I Got Rhythm,” “They Can’t Take That Away From Me,” and “Embraceable You.” There is a plot (we need to put on a show to save the town’s theatre; there are also disguises and romance), but it’s secondary to the dynamite singing and dancing.

You’ll find exhilarating moves in this Chichester Festival Theatre revival, now coming to the West End. It’s helmed by Broadway legend Susan Stroman (who also gave us Anything Goes at the Barbican recently) and stars the fleet-footed Charlie Stemp, Carly Anderson, and Tom Edden. Prepare for serious dancing delights.

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Guys & Dolls - 750 - LT

Guys & Dolls

Pretty much all of Nicholas Hytner’s dazzling revival dances — including the set — as multiple platforms come whooshing out of the floor to create different staging configurations all over the auditorium. The spectators are part of that flow, too, with some of the audience promenading among the actors. It’s Guys & Dolls as you’ve never experienced it before.

But that seemingly effortless staging takes serious thought from its choreographers, Arlene Phillips and James Cousins, who marshal the movement right from the start, not just in the big numbers. Although there are some fantastic set-piece highlights, too, like the sexy Hot Box performances led by Marisha Wallace’s Miss Adelaide, or the gamblers competing in the sewers in “Luck Be a Lady.”

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Moulin Rouge - 750 - LT

Moulin Rouge! The Musical

Baz Luhrmann’s movie was renowned for its lavish dance sequences — not surprisingly, given the director’s dance background. So, when the film became a stage musical, audiences clamoured to see the vibrant can-can number at the Moulin Rouge, Satine’s “Sparkling Diamond” entrance, and the sultry, dramatic “El Tango de Roxanne” all transported to the theatre.

Happily, you can see those and much more in the explosive West End production, choreographed by Sonya Tayeh (who picked up one of the show’s 10 Tony Awards, including Best Musical). There are also thrilling new numbers, like the steamy rehearsal medley – which features “Bad Romance,” “Tainted Love,” “Toxic,” and “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This).”

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Cabaret - 750 - LT


Another sizzling-hot nightclub in town is the Kit Kat Club — aka the Playhouse Theatre, home to the acclaimed revival of Cabaret. Rebecca Frecknall’s immersive production places the audience close to the action; dancers even weave into the crowd. It makes us deliciously, then disturbingly, complicit in what follows.

Julia Cheng’s choreography captures that dichotomy. Her diverse chorus, which elides gender and sexual orientation to reflect Weimar-era Berlin's freedoms, is both tantalising and challenging, playful, and eerie. But the real horror comes from their climactic transformation into “conventional” figures when liberation and individuality are all stripped away.

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