[[quoteright:330:[[Film/DirtyDancing http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/6128b0ecf7db67dce3f468fa7ca38f90.jpg]]]]

->'''Girl:''' I'm rich and you're poor, but let's dance together!\\
'''Guy:''' Society won't like it.\\
'''Girl:''' ''[grabbing him dramatically]'' I don't care!
-->-- ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'' (parodying this trope)

Some media works feature people dancing. This makes a whole lot of sense when the scene is set in a nightclub, a prom, or even a concert. Other times, however, there is an elaborate plot going on upon which the story is concentrating, and there's no time for frivolity because serious business is afoot. And yet dancing has been shoved in there somewhere, even when it feels (or at least ''should'' feel) out of place.

Very common in music videos and in films that are ''about'' dancing. And naturally, this trope does not apply if the work is a musical.

Naturally a SubTrope of SeriousBusiness. May feature an AngryDance.



[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* In ''Manga/Brave10'', for the fourth of the [[TournamentArc Ueda Castle 10 Matches]], reputed shrine maidens Isanami and Izumo no Okuni get into a dance-off before their fight as Isanami is absolutely determined to prove the latter is a pretender to the Izumo name.
* ''Anime/PrincessTutu'' is made of this. Angry wili ghosts trying to take your boyfriend with them into death? Monster crows trying to destroy the city? [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking Helpless baby birds falling out of their nests?]] Then it's time to ''dance your goddamn heart out.''

[[folder:Fairy Tales]]
* Cinderella's salvation more or less comes from dancing at a ball.

[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/HappyFeet'' pegs the survival of every Emperor Penguin on Earth on the penguin's ability to impress humans with their tap-dancing skills.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* In the middle of ''Film/{{Footloose}}'', Ren [=McCormick=] invades a train-yard just so he can work his dancing {{Angst}} out. And impress the girl, apparently.
** Parodied on ''Series/FlightOfTheConchords'' with "Bret's Angry Dance." When the band breaks up, the only way to vent his frustrations is by dancing masculinely in a warehouse. Unlike Bacon, Bret [=McKenzie=] is a trained dancer, so he did the heavy lifting and heavier dancing himself.
** Also parodied in ''Film/HotRod'', although it's in a forest and the dancing...isn't that great.
** Also parodied in ''WesternAnimation/RickAndMorty'' by Gazorpazorp
* In ''Film/DirtyDancing'', much more is riding on Baby learning to dance than Johnny not being able to do a dance exhibition at another resort and thus suffering professional embarrassment.
* ''Film/CMeDance'' is about a girl whose faith in God is apparently dependent on her ability to dance. When she can't dance due to some rare blood disease, she loses faith. Her father prays that she returns to Christianity and regains the strength to fulfill her dream of dancing. God apparently not only obliges by making her better, He makes her gift of dance so great that people who see her dance apparently have religious epiphanies and convert to Christianity instantly! Satan, upset by her ability to bring people to God that easily, then aims all his evil energy at preventing her from dancing. It should be noted that this film '''''is not a parody or a comedy'''''; they were trying to be serious. Quite clearly, Dancing Is Serious Business.
* Baz Luhrmann's ''Film/StrictlyBallroom'' takes a tongue-in-cheek approach to this trope by having everyone treat a professional dancing competition with the same level of seriousness most people reserve for wars, deaths in the family, and epidemics.
* In ''Film/SaturdayNightFever'', Tony Manero (played by John Travolta) basically pins his entire future on winning a dance contest. Justified as Tony is from a poor, slightly abusive family, is stuck in a dead-end job, and is affected by gang violence. He has nothing else to enjoy and pin his hopes on but dancing.
* ''Film/FlashDance'' has Alex (played by Jennifer Beals) pining her own entire future on her audition for the Pittsburgh Conservatory.
* The movie ''Film/{{Breakin}}'' featured the classic "pinning of all hopes and dreams on a dance routine," but its strangely-titled sequel ''Film/Breakin2ElectricBoogaloo'' ratcheted up the crazy by not only using breakdancing as a means to save the [[SavingTheOrphanage perpetually-imperiled youth center]], but also as a form of ''combat''. No, not like a DanceBattler, but rather two teams of enemies facing off, breakdancing, and then deciding --as a group-- who won the battle. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=boL9o0u0Dig What, do you think we're kidding?]]
* There was a rash of these in the '00s: ''Take the Lead'' and the Creator/DisneyChannel movie ''Gotta Kick It Up!'' were SaveOurStudents stories; ''You Got Served'', the ''Step Up'' movies and ''Save the Last Dance'' all involved gang violence wherein somebody got shot; ''Stomp the Yard'' (which also started with a murder) and ''How She Move'' had pulling-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps-and-the-magic-of-dance plots. In 2009 The Wayans brothers made a parody movie for {{Creator/MTV}} called ''Dance Flick''.
** At least in the case of ''Take The Lead'', it was BasedOnATrueStory, though the real-life Pierre Dulaine [[HistoricalBeautyUpdate wishes he looked like Antonio Banderas]]. And the real kids were in many cases younger (see ''Mad Hot Ballroom'' for the real program.)
* ''Film/BillyElliot'' qualifies as this at the point where the striking miner father almost becomes a scab for the money to send Billy to ballet school so the kid can have a better chance at life.
* ''Film/TheyShootHorsesDontThey?'' is a {{Deconstruction}} based on actual exploitative dance contests during the Great Depression.
* The {{documentary}} ''Film/{{Pina}}'' is about the late choreographer, Pina Bausch, and her dancers speak about her in awe as an artist the way a sculptor would speak about Michelangelo as they perform the dances she developed.
* ''Film/AnotherCinderellaStory''. It's a modern version of Cinderella (see above), so it actually makes sense to be about a dancer.
* ''Franchise/{{Zorro}}''
** In 1940 movie ''Film/{{The Mark of Zorro|1940}}'' the elaborate and energetic dance of Don Diego Vega (Tyrone Power) and Lolita Quintero (Linda Darnell) brings the two lovebirds closer together.
** As does the (far too sensuous for the time it is set in) dance of Antonio Banderas and Catherine Zeta Jones in ''Film/TheMaskOfZorro''.
* In ''Film/NeverSayNeverAgain'', James Bond (Sean Connery) turns Domino (Kim Basinger) away from Emilio Largo in an elaborate tango. The right to which he won by defeating Largo in a game.
* In ''Film/GuardiansOfTheGalaxy'', with the fate of an entire planet at stake, Quill challenges [[spoiler: Ronan the Accusser]] to a dance-off. [[spoiler: It is a distraction. Ronan is extremely confused and temporarily stops his attempt to destroy the planet while he tries to figure out what is going on. This give Rocket time to fix his BFG and destroy the source of Ronan's power.]]

* Miss Price saves the children in ''Literature/BedknobAndBroomstick'' from a CannibalTribe by having a magic-infused dance-off against the tribe's shaman.
* Abdul's salvation in ''Literature/TheKid''. His interest in dance seems to be the only thing keeping him from spiraling into violence, mental illness, and addiction.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* What ''Series/{{Bunheads}}'' is all about
* As is ''Series/FleshAndBone''.
* The ''Series/DoctorWho'' episode named, appropriately, ''The Doctor Dances''. In this case, the dancing subplot seems to be a veiled reference to sexuality.
* Cited in the ''Series/ColdCase'' episode "Shuffle, Ball Change'', about the murder of a young man who aspired to be a dancer. When Vera makes disparaging remarks about the profession to one of the suspects (the kid's rival), the guy hits back with a blistering description of how difficult dance is and the commitment it requires. Later, when they are interviewing another suspect (the kid's teacher), he gives a similar speech and a flashback shows that he gave yet another similar speech to the kid himself.
* ''Series/HomeImprovement''. After Tim takes one of the boys to both the ballet and a basketball game, he later admits to Jill that he was genuinely impressed by the skill and athleticism demonstrated by the dancers.
* Both seasons of ''Series/{{Fi}}'' feature significant subplots related to Duru's dancing career and Deniz's work as a composer, director, and teacher.
** Season one focuses on Duru's ambitions as a lead performer and Deniz's struggle to open a performing arts center for his students.
** The second season brings Duru and Deniz together again for the production of ''Afife'', a new musical.

* Music/MenWithoutHats's "Safety Dance":
-->We can dance if we want to\\
We can leave your friends behind\\
'Cause your friends don't dance and if they don't dance\\
Well, '''they're no friends of mine'''
* "Do the Strand", from Music/RoxyMusic's ''Music/ForYourPleasure'':
-->''There's a new sensation''\\
''A fabulous creation''\\
''A danceable solution''\\
''To teenage revolution''
* Music/TheBeatles: "Little Child"
--> ''Little child, little child won't you dance with me?''

[[folder:Music Videos]]
* Music/MichaelJackson was the king of this trope. It started when he was still a part of Music/TheJacksonFive with songs like "Dancing Machine", "Blame It On The Boogie" and "Shake Your Body Down To The Ground" and went on as an adult superstar on ''Music/OffTheWall'' with tracks like "Don't Stop 'Till You Get Enough", "Off The Wall" and "Burn This Disco Out". You might think a ZombieApocalypse horror movie might be the wrong time to suddenly break out into dance, but somehow he made it work in "[[SugarWiki/AwesomeMusic Thriller]]". In "Beat It," he actually puts a stop to a gang-war through the power of dance. [[SerialEscalation Think that's enough]]? The film for "Smooth Criminal" boasted fantastic cinematography that accentuated the dancing to the max.
* The video for Music/KatyPerry's "Hot & Cold" features her as a bride at the altar, where the groom hesitates before saying "I do." She, and some other spurned brides, arm themselves with baseball bats, corner him... and then break into dance.
* Music/PatBenatar's "Love Is A Battlefield." Pat and the other taxi-dancers horse the sleazy pimp-like Guido who runs the dance hall to back off through the power of dance. Or something...
* The video for [[Music/SophieEllisBextor Sophie Ellis-Bextor]]'s "Murder On The Dance-Floor'' involves a dancing contest with an unscrupulously competitive contestant.
* The video for "Helena" by Music/MyChemicalRomance begins with mourners filling a church for a funeral and then dancing around the coffin. At the bridge, they all bow their heads in prayer and the corpse gets up and does a ballet dance through the center aisle.
* The video for "Dark Blue" by Music/JacksMannequin features a dance marathon. It lasts [[spoiler:over 47 days]] before [[spoiler: [[{{Tearjerker}} couple 55 loses.]] [[MindScrew And then]] [[DownerEnding they jump]] [[DramaBombFinale off the pier.]]]]

[[folder:Pro Wrestling]]
* Wrestling/{{ECW}} had a lot of dancing. The 1998 feud between the team of Wrestling/TheBlueMeanie[=/=][[Wrestling/MikeBucci Super Nova]] vs. the FBI (Tracy Smothers, Wrestling/LittleGuidoMaritato and "The Big Don" Tommy Rich) was centered around it. A typical match between the two teams would start like this: Smothers would "dance" poorly and get booed. Meanie would dance and get cheered. Repeat until the FBI attacks.
* After the Meanie [[BewareTheSillyOnes surprised everyone]] by defeating [[TheFightingNarcissist Jason "The Sexiest Man on Earth"]] at ''ECW Ultimate Jeopardy 97'', [[Music/VillagePeople "YMCA"]] started playing and the whole ECW Arena crowd, notorious for being tough to please, did the "YMCA" dance along with Meanie and Nova.
* Wrestling/{{CHIKARA}}. Dance-offs between wrestlers could break out in the middle of matches, often started by the Osirian Portal. Sometimes it wasn't even to see who was better, it was just for fun.
* At ''Wrestling/{{CZW}} Last Team Standing'' 2006 the crowd demanded to see a dance of between Wrestling/ClaudioCastagnoli and Human Tornado when Castagnoli and Wrestling/ChrisHero took on Tornado and Ruckus.
* Before she managed to score victory in Wrestling/{{WSU}}, it was suggested Athena hadn't won yet because she wasn't doing spinaroonies like her school's [[Wrestling/BookerT namesake.]]
* At the unauthorized ''Wrestling/{{R|ingOfHonor}}OH A Night Of Hoopla'', Davey Richards expressed his frustration with a "pants off dance off" being held between the "Hoopla Hotties" Scarlet Bordeaux, Seleziya Sparx and Val Malone, taking about the promotion's efforts to present a quality wrestling product, before concluding the only proper way to defend the honor of all the great wrestlers that came before him was to enter the contest himself and out dance the House Of Truth's [[PerkyFemaleMinion minions]] while leaving his pants on!
* Shane Strickland vs ACH at the International Wrestling Cartel. More people seem to remember their dance off than any match they had.

* Spokane area radio personalities C. Foster Kane and Jim Arnold (the "Radio Men") often reduce summaries of upcoming movies to the conflict being resolved via a "secret underground dance competition".

* Pretty much every musical that isn't a comedy is made of this trope. ''Theatre/WestSideStory'' is a notable example. The gang-rumble at the center of the show is either a well-choreographed but very stylized knife fight that involves dancing, or else a well-choreographed but very stylized dance-off that involves knives.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* ''TabletopGame/ForgottenRealms'' has the spelldancers, who use dance-based magic rituals. In the 2nd Edition AD&D version, they are variant wizards unable to use Invocation/Evocation or Necromancy spells, but who are ''not'' bound by the {{Vancian|Magic}} rules that control all other magic in D&D. (This means such characters aren't much use in a dungeon crawl, but otherwise tend to be overpowered). In 3rd Edition, any spellcaster (arcane or divine) can become one, and they only use the dance to amplify the spells they can cast normally.
* ''TabletopGame/WarhammerFantasy'' battles have Woodelf Wardancers.
* ''TabletopGame/Warhammer40000'' has Eldar Harlequins that use acrobatic dances amplified by mystical technology. They use this during wars as well.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''VideoGame/GhostTrick'':
** When trouble strikes (such as a prisonwide blackout), prison guard Bailey is compelled to do the [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UcHWh2JUIOs Panic Dance]] as passed down in his family for generations. Why? Because someone has to.
** Inspector Cabanela also has a fondness for dancing everywhere, including up and down stairs. One of the officers is shown in the credits trying to copy that dance, in an attempt to get his power.
* ''VideoGame/OsuTatakaeOuendan'' and its American counterpart ''VideoGame/EliteBeatAgents''. In EBA, only dancing can cure a sick athelete and stop an alien invasion.
* ''VideoGame/SpaceChannel5'' is all about a reporter fighting aliens with the power of dance. In fact, the ''entire galaxy'' is powered by dance.
* In ''VideoGame/BrainDead13'', Lance has to do this to "[[{{Pun}} stay]] [[Music/TheBeeGees alive]]" while dodging [[MoreDakka a hail of bullets]] that TriggerHappy Fritz shoots at both our hero and Neurosis. And it all takes place entirely in the [[EvilIsNotWellLit darkness]], where the only tiny pillars of light are used as a {{disco}} dance floor.
* {{Exaggerated|Trope}} in one of the {{Alternate Universe}}s in ''VideoGame/{{Portal 2}}'''s Perpetual Testing Initiative, where the law apparently mandates dancing constantly.
* The Vanu Vanu of ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIV'' treat the Sundrop Dance with the upmost importance. The Sundrop Dance is a dance performed before battle that is a measure of the dancer's strength and can cow weaker opponents without any violence.
* In ''Unison'' on [=PS2=], dancing has been ''[[CulturePolice outlawed]]'' by Emperor Ducker. Doctor Dance puts together a performance group comprised of three girls to hijack television broadcasts of Ducker's own singing to show Unison dancing, inspiring the people of Twin Ships to take back their right to dance.
* Playing ''VideoGame/DanceDanceRevolution'' might make you feel this way, especially with its oh-so-enthusiastic announcer.
-->"Everybody's '''waiting''' for you!"
* In ''VideoGame/SidMeiersPirates'', formal balls are an integral component of the RomanceSidequest with Governors' daughters, and the player character needs to perform adequately on the dance floor in order to impress the daughter enough to develop their relationship.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* Parodied by Website/TheOnion: [[http://www.theonion.com/articles/dancer-risks-everything,2416/ "Dancer Risks Everything"]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'' parodied this in [[YouGotServed "You got F'd in the A!"]]
* Parodied in a ''WesternAnimation/RobotChicken'' sketch that was a pastiche of "dance movies".
* The ''WesternAnimation/WeBareBears'' short "Panda's Dream" features a series of [[ImagineSpot increasingly bizarre daydreams]] by Panda about dealing with a guy who cut in line at the game store, which culminates in a K-Pop dance-off.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/WanderOverYonder'' episode "The Party Animal", Emperor Awesome tries to literally party a planet to pieces, but gives up on his scheme when he's bested in a dance-off by Wander.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* Many cultures' ritual dances were this because they were, well, [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin ritual dances.]] To make a mistake was to show disrespect, incur the wrath of ThePowersThatBe, etc.
** This is why, for example, novice hula dancers were secluded until they learned the moves correctly and could perform the ritual dances perfectly.
** In a modern version, the New Zealand national rugby team performs a Maori ''haka'' dance before each of their games. [[BerserkButton Don't tell them that they look silly]]. Also, because it looks as intimidating as hell.
** The Fiji and Samoan teams also have their own, based on their respective tribal dances: the Cibi and the Siva Tau respectively. See this [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=osu-UpecXWU video]] for a comparison of the three.
** During the 2005 Lions tour, Brian O'Driscoll was believed to have disrespected the haka by picking up a blade of grass and throwing it away. He was spear tackled in the 90 seconds of play, rushed to hospital with a dislocated shoulder, and didn't play again for five months. Much controversy ensued in rugby circles, but suffice it to say that the haka is taken very seriously.
* Male animals (such as certain birds) that use a mating dance to woo a female. She's judging the way he dances; if he does it right, she will allow him to mate with her. But if she doesn't like what she sees (for whatever reason), she will judge him as unsuitable. In certain species of spiders, failing to dance impressively enough is grounds for being eaten by the female.
* The Wagah border ceremony on the India/Pakistan border is a daily military practice which involves dance-like aggressive walks from both sides, almost like a dance battle. It was so aggressive that in 2010 Major General Yaqub Ali Khan of the Pakistan Rangers decided that the aggressive aspect of the ceremonial theatrics should be toned down. It was described by Michael Palin as "carefully choreographed contempt."
* After a terrible Philadelphia Eagles game, a Website/{{Facebook}} member snidely commented that "the Eagles played like they were wearing tutus." Incensed at this, a member of the Pennsylvania Ballet offered up a [[http://www.someecards.com/news/sports/pennsylvania-ballet-eagles-play-like-they-were-wearing-tutus/ blistering editorial]] that described how difficult the life of a ballerina was and suggested that the comment was an insult to the dancers rather than the football players, capping it off with this gem: "So no, the Eagles have not played like they were wearing tutus. If they had, Chip Kelly would still be a head coach and we'd all be looking forward to the playoffs.
* The Norwegian folk dance movement is rigidly working for the preservation of the "correct" traditional dance modes, including details like when and where to "bounce" in a 3/4 dance (often called a "springar" or "pols"). Woe betide those who screw this up. The fact that the dancers enter a number of contests each year, may heaten this tension many notches. To list a couple of examples: Early in TheNewTens, a fist fight nearly broke out over which dancer ''should'' have won the traditional male dance "halling". In 1992, an ''entire valley'' ended up in a severe FlameWar over how to dance the 3/4 dance correctly. It involved, among other things, exclusion, threatening letters, a lot of mental bruises and a number of performers just up and quitting for ''years''. Norwegian folk dancing is ''definitely'' serious business.