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'What The F--k Is This?' Barbie's Dance Scene Has Earned A Lot Of Praise, But I'm Losing It Over Issa Rae's Account Of Filming It

 Issa Rae dancing in Barbie.
Issa Rae dancing in Barbie.

One of Barbie’s most memorable qualities has to be the music. Audiences cried hearing one of Billie Eilish’s “best vocal performances” singing “What Was I Made For?” and Ryan Gosling’s “I’m Just Ken” was one of the best moments in the movie. But the scene that brought us to our feet was Dua Lipa’s “Dance the Night” when the Barbies and Kens of Barbieland danced to the top-tapping song at the Barbie Mansion. This infamous dance sequence may have gotten a lot of praise, but I felt like I was going to lose it after President Barbie’s Issa Rae shared what it was really like filming that scene.

Issa Rae has been known for portraying awkwardness in characters like J in Awkward Black Girl and the HBO series Insecure where she got tons of award recognition. It looks like awkward situations haven’t escaped her in real life as she explained to The Hollywood Reporter that filming the “Dance the Night” dance sequence wasn’t as fun as it looked in the Warner Bros. film. Prepare to laugh hysterically with me as the comedic actress shares what it was really like dancing the night away in Barbieland.

Dancing to it was my worst nightmare. It was the worst day of my life. It was the best day of my life being on that set. It was exciting, and then literally the first day, I had to learn the choreography to shoot the [following] day. And it was terrible.

I find it hilarious to hear that Issa Rae described dancing in Barbie as “the worst day of my life.” But I guess if you’re not a confident dancer, it makes sense not wanting to dance in front of everybody. As Dua Lipa’s love of “dance-crying” was expressed throughout her song, something tells me the Golden Globe nominee was crying on the inside while filming her sequence. Especially when the choreography of the pop-disco song was completely abnormal. The whole cast had to dance similarly to dolls controlled by kids who would have them dance.

Not only did Issa Rae have to learn the choreography of the Grammy-nominated song, but the actress/writer revealed there was another challenge she had to tackle when first working on the scene.

We also didn’t have the lyrics to the song. Greta was like, 'Oh, it’s going to be a Dua Lipa song.' But all we had was the instrumental, so I was just like, 'What the fuck is this? What am I dancing to?' (laughs).

This proves that what we see on screen is a completely different ballgame compared to what happens behind the cameras. It must have been incredibly awkward to dance to such a bopper song and have no lyrics. I can imagine the song sounding very low-key without Dua Lipa’s beautiful vocals and lyrics to accompany it. On the bright side, at least rehearsing the song had instrumentals. I’m sure it would have been more cringe dancing without the music.

President Barbie already had a very important job running Barbieland and keeping everything in tip-top shape. But as director Greta Gerwig ran the ship of the Barbie cast and crew, she told E! News she naturally had to give the President of Barbieland a dance solo, of course.

Because of scheduling, we had been rehearsing the dance for a long time, but I was like, ‘Well, President Barbie needs a solo,' and she was like, ‘Okay, when am I going to learn it?' And I was like, ‘Right now!' And she did, she did it great and she's such a good dancer.

Just when Issa Rae felt that learning the dance sequence to Dua Lipa’s “Dance the Night” was “the worst day” for her, she was told she had to have a solo! I feel like this fun fact is the cherry on top of an already hilarious story. But luckily, Greta Gerwig praised the Emmy nominee for the moves she brought for the Golden Globe-nominated film. And you better believe she slayed them all! You can watch President Barbie and the rest of the characters “dance the night away” in Barbie on your Max subscription. You can also make sure to look at our 2024 movie releases in case the Los Angeles native has any new projects in store.