->'''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!
-->-- parody of this trope from '''''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'''''

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.

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!!Examples:
[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: Anime ]]

* ''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]]

[[folder: Fairy Tales ]]

* Cinderella's salvation more or less comes from dancing at a ball.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Film ]]

* 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.
* 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.
** Similarly, ''Film/FlashDance'' has Alex (played by Jennifer Beals) pining her own entire future on her audition for the Pittsburgh Conservatory.
* The movie ''Breakin''' featured the classic "pinning of all hopes and dreams on a dance routine," but its strangely-titled sequel ''[[Film/{{Breakin 2 Electric Boogaloo}} Electric Boogaloo]]'' 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 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 {{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.
* In 1940 movie ''The Mark of Zorro'' 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.]]

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Literature ]]

* Miss Price saves the children in ''Literature/BedknobAndBroomstick'' from a CannibalTribe by having a magic-infused dance-off against the tribe's shaman.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Live Action TV ]]

* What ''Series/{{Bunheads}}'' is all about
* The ''Series/DoctorWho'' episode named, appropriately, ''The Doctor Dances''. In this case, the dancing subplot seems to be a veiled reference to sexuality.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Music ]]

* 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'''

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Music Videos ]]

* Music/MichaelJackson was the king of this trope. 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 force 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]]

[[folder: Professional Wrestling ]]

* 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.
* Wrestling/{{ECW}} had a lot of dancing as well. 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.
* 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.
* Shane Strickland vs ACH at the International Wrestling Cartel. More people seem to remember their dance off than any match they had.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Radio ]]

* 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".

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Theater ]]

* 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]]

[[folder: Tabletop RPG ]]

* ''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.
* WarhammerFantasy battles have Woodelf Wardancers.
* TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}} has Eldar Harlequins that use acrobatic dances amplified by mystical technology. They use this during wars as well.

[[/folder]]

[[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.
* ''OsuTatakaeOuendan'' and its American counterpart ''EliteBeatAgents''. In EBA, only dancing can cure a sick athelete and stop an alien invasion.
* ''{{Space Channel 5}}'', where the ''entire solar system'' 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.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Web Original ]]

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

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* ''HappyFeet'' pegs the survival of every Emperor Penguin on Earth on the penguin's ability to impress humans with their tap-dancing skills.
* ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'' parodied this in [[YouGotServed "You got F'd in the A!"]]
* [[WesternAnimation/RobotChicken WE DRESS LIKE THUGS BUT WE KEEPING IT CLEAN / YOUNG BLACK PEOPLE ON A RHYTHM TEAM]]

[[/folder]]

[[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. [[SchmuckBait 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.
* 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.
* 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."

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