Raw “Dancing In The Dark” Footage Reminds Us That Bruce Springsteen Does Not Have Moves


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:

Springsteen’s Embarrassing Moment: Lost ‘Dancing in the Dark’ Footage Surfaces [Billboard; HT Popdust]

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  1. To get the real scoop on this video, go to The Golden Age of Music Video blog and get the story from the director and cinematographer. The Golden Age of Music Video features amazing stories about the greatest music videos of all time.

  2. Beverly Nuttall says:

    Thanks for the videos. I love Bruce Springsteen’s dancing. I saw the “Dancing In The Dark” video and thought that maybe I could be the fortunate woman who got to dance with that accomplished man. When I wasn’t able to get onto a tour flight either in Canada or in the United States, I packed my things, said goodbye to my friends and family and traveled 2000 miles. I moved in wtih my parents since I had no savings, drove to Toronto to the house of a scalper and attended Bruce Springsteen’s concert at the Exhibition Stadium. It was a life altering event.
    I owned “Nebraska”, “Darkness At the End of Town” and “The River” however, at the concert, I was amazed that the audience knew the words to “Hungry Heart”” and every other song for that matter. I was not that kind of “fan”. As a person who desires safety and goodness for all people and animals in God’s creation, Mr. Springsteen inspires me. He is not naive. He is a person of rich intelligence and knows of life’s hardships and yet his music, work ethic, connection with Bono (my heart) and his moves (sorry, is the reviewer blind by any chance?) help me keep a healthy attitude. I read that sales of tight jeans rose substantially following the release of the “Dancing in the Dark” video, just as the sales of umbrellas rose with Rhianna’s song. Perhaps if the companies that profit from the Arts could contribute to the causes of food and homefulness for all that Mr. Springsteen has promoted all these years, clearly we could move on to other issues by now. Thank you Bruce Springsteen. I love you. Sincerely, Beverly N.