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Sensational Staircase Sequence

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I'll build a stairway to Paradise,
With a new step ev'ry day
I'm going to get there at any price,
Stand aside, I'm on my way
I've got the blues, and up above it's so fair
Shoes go on and carry me there
I'll build a stairway to Paradise,
With a new step ev'ry day!
Georges Guétary, An American in Paris
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Something about stairs apparently makes people want to dance. Never mind the threat of stubbed toes, broken ankles, or tumbling all the way down them to the bottom, or the fact they don't really end up anywhere other than the stage rafters. When there's an opportunity to showcase the lead's dance skills, what better way to do it than with a dance number set on a staircase? And hey, some of those older staircases are gorgeous.

The musically inclined version of a Grand Staircase Entrance, and a more reserved kind of Busby Berkeley Number. Often a fixture of Spontaneous Choreography, especially in more "grounded" musicals. May include Chorus Girls.


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Examples:

    Films — Animated 
  • Coco: During the opening narration, Ernesto De La Cruz sings "Remember Me" while on top of a moving staircase, with girls dancing on the stairs surrounding him. It's also where he dies, crushed to death by a giant bell at the top.
  • Pictured above from Oliver & Company: The finale for Georgette's big number "Perfect Isn't Easy" has her strutting down a grand spiral staircase topped by a crystal chandelier.
  • Steven Universe: The Movie: The finale musical number ends with Steven, Connie, Greg, and the Crystal Gems dancing down a staircase, dressed up in fancy suits reminiscent of the Takarazuka Revue.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • An American in Paris: One of the most memorable in cinema, courtesy of Georges Guétary dancing up a lighted staircase to George Gershwin's "I'll Build a Stairway to Paradise".
  • The Big Lebowski: During a Dream Sequence, The Dude stars in "Gutterballs" and briefly swaggers his way down a glittering staircase.
  • In Billy Madison the title character randomly starts dancing on the staircase to Culture Club's "I'll Tumble 4 Ya''
  • Blazing Saddles: "The French Mistake" was set to be this, based on its rehearsal and the pink staircase the dancers are assembled on until the Battle for Rock Ridge spills over onto the set.
  • 42nd Street: Part of the title song involves a giant staircase with lots of dancers performing on it.
  • In the 1932 film Harlem is Heaven, Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, one of the grandfathers of tap dance, taps on a short set of stairs to the tune of "Swanee River".
  • Joker (2019): A decidedly unorthodox one, when Arthur fully embraces his dark side and dances down the same set of stairs he trudged up near the start of the film to Gary Glitter's "Rock and Roll (Part Two)".
  • The Signature Scene of The Little Colonel is Shirley Temple and Bill "Bojangles" Robinson performing a tap dance routine on a staircase.
  • Magical Mystery Tour: The Beatles perform "Your Mother Should Know" while jauntily stepping in syncopated fashion down a staircase in matching white suits.
  • Singin' in the Rain: During the "Good Morning" number, Don, Cosmo and Kathy dance down the stairs at Don's house.
  • Stormy Weather features "Jumpin' Jive," sung by Cab Calloway, and the Nicholas Brothers in what's often called "the ultimate stair dance." They dance on the floor, on the orchestra members' bandstands, and an extended series of split-leaps over each other down a giant staircase.
  • Yankee Doodle Dandy: Done by James Cagney near the end, dancing down a short flight to the tune of "Yankee Doodle Dandy". Also a case of Throw It In!.

    Live-Action TV 

    Theatre 
  • The Phantom of the Opera: The masquerade ball features a dance on a staircase.
  • During Takarazuka Revue finales, the actresses descend the Grand Staircase, and some shows may have numbers that require cast members to dance on the staircase itself. Baddy has a choreographed fake stumble on the staircase, but at least one actress have actually fallen and injured herself.

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    Western Animation 
  • Animaniacs: In "A Christmas Plotz", the Warners play the Spirits of Christmas in Yet Another Christmas Carol. When Yakko, as the Spirit of Christmas Future, makes his entrance, it's as a flashy musical number in a stairway flanked by beautiful Chorus Girls.
  • Family Guy: The opening sequence to each show parodies Old Hollywood films by having the Griffins dress up in sparkly outfits and dance on top of a giant staircase, and deconstructs it in one instance when Peter falls and crushes one of the backup dancers beneath his girth.
  • My Friends Tigger & Pooh: In the movie Tigger and Pooh and a Musical Too, Tigger sings a song about how he loves bouncing. He ends up dancing on a staircase with a bunch of other Tiggers, and it becomes a more elaborate Busby Berkeley Number.
  • In the Animated Adaptation of Shopkins, "Paint the Town Rainbow" ends with Rainbow Kate and Apple Blossom descending a staircase with top hats and canes.
  • The Simpsons parodies this trope in "A Star Is Burns". Moe Szyslak does this in Moe's Better Booze, a parody of Cabaret with a parody of the song "Money, Money, Money" from that film, but in reality the movie is actually just an advertisement for his bar In-Universe.

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