Bruce Springsteen is a man of many talents. Dancing is not one of them.
This was somewhat evident in the 1984 video for “Dancing In The Dark” but became brutally clear when home-video rehearsal footage for the video surfaced online a bit back. (In case you haven’t seen it, we’ve embedded it below. One highlight is actually after the routine, when Springsteen mockingly imitates the “guitar face” of someone they’d seen playing at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park.) Without any context, the dance just seemed like a series of moves Springsteen (and the late Clarence Clemons) were testing out, to see how they’d look on film.
Newly surfaced footage, above, suggests otherwise. Apparently these proto-Carlton Dance-meets-Jets from West Side Story moves were choreographed! The clip above is clearly either the raw footage for Jeff Stein‘s rejected cut of the video, or at the very least, on-set in-costume test footage. No wonder Stein was replaced (by Brian de Palma, no less); the concept, featuring dancing in the dark may as well have been dreamt up by the DeMarco Brothers (the literal-minded choreography duo played by Chris Parnell and Chris Kattan on Saturday Night Live). The addition of Courteney Cox, a backing band, and a large crowd definitely improved this video.
The home-video rehearsal footage: