This month, Hong Kong gets to see two hip hop dance movies: Step Up 3D, the third part in the successful series, and Street Dance, a British attempt at the genre. The dance movie has been particularly popular in recent years, but it is far from being a new idea. While dance features in many types of movie, in particular the musical, it is usually used as the main focus of a film, where the characters are dancers and the storyline often involves victory of some kind, whether in a competition or finally mastering the skills. Stretching back to early last century, one of the most familiar names associated with film in dance is Busby Berkeley. The director and choreographer is remembered for his geometric patterns of women, creating a kaleidoscopic effect. A huge number of musical films were made in the 1930s and 1940s. One of the most memorable stars of the period made almost every film he was in a dance film: Fred Astaire. Named by many of modern history's greatest dancers and choreographers - Rudolph Nureyev, Jerome Robbins and even Michael Jackson - as an inspiration, Astaire is often credited with popularising dance films with movies such as Top Hat. Frequently paired with Ginger Rogers, his solo turns, especially tap dances, are also legendary. One of the most famous dance movies, and one which remains influential even today, is the 1952 release Singing In The Rain. It features one of the most referenced dance sequences ever filmed, which required a feverish Gene Kelly to splash through the puddles and swing around lampposts. The late 70s and 80s were another time for an outpouring of dance films, and the movies that were produced remain some of the most important souvenirs of the period. The dances from films like Fame, Footloose and Flashdance not only amazed audiences, but directly affected what people did on their nights out. Saturday Night Fever, for example, had a huge influence on the popularity of disco music. The 90s were somewhat quiet in terms of dance flicks, but they were back with a vengeance in the new millennium, with movies like Billy Elliott, Save the Last Dance and Shall We Dance? using dance as a medium for the protagonists to overcome hardships and follow their dreams. Yes, they're cheesy, but with routines that often will leave you gobsmacked, dance movies are the perfect form of entertainment.