It's all in the timing.
When Boy Meets Girl
at a party or a club, and music (often performed by a live band) is playing, the next number that comes up will
be a slow dance. Usually, it's a Contrived Coincidence
, but Genre Savvy
characters will make sure beforehand to tell the band to make it a slow dance at the right moment.
This will also happen with two people who already know each other, and who have unspoken feelings for one another.
- Soul Eater, when Maka and Soul are with the Black Blood demon. Come on, Animators. You just inspired about 2,000 romantic fanfiction ships. Literally.
- A Scooby-Doo comic has Fred tell a boy that he orchestrated one of these at his school prom. He bribed the disk jockey to switch to a slow song when he started dancing with Daphne.
- Public Enemies: When John Dillinger chats up Billie Frechette, the next dance is "Bye Bye Blackbird", which will remain a cherished memory for both of them throughout the story.
- Groundhog Day
- Inverted in Get Over It when the generic moderate-tempo background music gets turned up to high-tempo music in a club scene the second a character asks another to dance.
- The final scene of Casper (the movie).
- Back to the Future
- Enchanted has one, which also happened to be a convenient "dance with somebody other than your date" song.
- Love Actually: When Sarah and Karl dance at the Christmas party.
- Always: While Pete is dancing with Dorinda, he signals to the band and they start playing "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes", which is "their song".
- Of all the possible movies, The Siege had one of these.
- The Bridges of Madison County has one slow dance scene between Robert Kincaid (played by Clint Eastwood) and Francesca Johnson (played by Meryl Streep).
- In West Side Story, Tony and Maria first see each other during the wildest part of the Mambo in the Dance at the Gym. Soon enough, though, the lights fade and the Mambo abruptly dies away to segue to the Cha-Cha. The Cha-Cha is only moderately slow, but then the dance actually halts for a few moments so Tony and Maria can exchange their first words.
- Parodied in Disney's Hocus Pocus: While the Sanderson Sisters are in "the Master's" house, Sarah goes to "the Master" and says, "Master, wouldst thou dance with me?" She then makes a tender slow dance with him... until his wife shows up and sees them both dancing, which triggers her Berserk Button.
- Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle in Batman Returns, while at Max Schreck's Charity Ball. Averts the normal occurrence when everything about the dance itself, from the music to the conversation, is only one part romantic but three parts sinister.
- Right up until the Penguin blows up the dance hall and drags Schreck into the sewers on his giant Duck of War.
- Bonus points for having the first song be reminiscent of Prince's hi-tempo music for the first Batman film, then transiting to Siouxie and the Banshee's melancholy song that accompanied Returns to emphasize the difference between the two movies, and even the two relationships between Bruce and the Girl of the Week.
- In Top Hat Maude tells Dale and Jane to dance together just as a slow song starts so they can bond.
- This was referenced in The Tomorrow Series - Lee is telling Ellie about the first time they danced together, which she doesn't even remember; they were at a school dance and he asked her to dance during a slow song, hoping that they could be close and intimate and romantic, but because of the time it takes for him to ask her, they end up dancing to "Convicted Of Love", which isn't especially intimate and romantic.
- This happens to Face and Dia in Iron Fist; they are each dancing with another partner to more energetic music, and are then maneuvered into dancing with each other in time for a slower song and a Heartwarming Moment.
- Happens with Adama and Laura Roslin in Battlestar Galactica.
- The second season episode "Plan B" of Veronica Mars. As Veronica just tries to save Gia from Logan's rather not-friendly honest opinion, they end up dancing to "Sway" by The Perishers.
- Buffy, surely? "When She Was Bad", the slow-dance scene with Buffy and Xander?
- Also with Angel in Season 3 in "The Prom"
- House, "Known Unknowns", House and Cuddy at the conference's 80s party.
- Subverted in Mr. Bean, which has an Inconvenient Slow Dance.
- The X-Files ("The Rain King"). Although Scully and Mulder don't dance, they appear to be as they unconsciously sway in unison to the music, while watching another loving couple doing the slow dance.
- The episode "Post Modern Prometheus" has this too; Mulder pulls Scully out of her chair for a dance while Cher sings "Walking in Memphis".
- In The Mentalist episode "Rose Colored Glasses," this happens to Lisbon and Jane at a high school reunion. They take the opportunity to play the trope straight.
- There's a specific sub-trope where two characters are already dancing to a fast song, when the music abruptly switches to something slow, and there's an awkward "Do we keep dancing or not?" moment.
- In the Bones episode "The Death of the Queen Bee," this happens to Booth and Brennan when they're undercover as a married couple at Brennan's high school reunion.
- iCarly for the Carly/Freddie Dance of Romance. Firstly, that the Groovy Smoothie was playing slow music just perfect, when you'd expect pop or Top 40 music, and secondly, the fact that the other 12 customers inside all vanished within the space of the 2 minute conversation that caused both their dates to leave.
- The pilot of Freaks and Geeks contains another mid-song tempo change subversion ("Come Sail Away" by Styx. Sam asks Cindy to dance while the song is still slow and everyone else is slow dancing to it, but once they get on the dance floor together, it picks up speed, much to Sam's frustration.
- Played with in one episode of The Vampire Diaries. The slow dance is scheduled to happen as part of the Miss Mystic Falls pageant. However, Damon is not scheduled to be Elena's partner. Cue a three minutes long UST filled scene that brought millions of watchers to their knees.
- There's one at the high school reunion the Leverage team crashes. Nate and Sophie dance, as do Hardison and Parker, the latter being suspended from the ceiling. (Long story.)
- Played With and Zig-Zagged in Glee. In the Prom episode, Kurt and Blaine, boyfriends for a couple of episodes as of this point, go together and specifically avoid slow dances for fear drawing the attention of homophobic bullies. Then Kurt's crowned prom queen (Long story). So Kurt decides to accept the crown, which means dancing with his closeted former bully who has a crush on him. Sound like an opportunity for a one sided Dance of Romance for the former bully? Nope. Can't bring himself to go through with it. So poor Kurt is alone on the dance floor with no one to slow dance with, till Blaine steps in and asks him "May I have this dance?" The soundtrack for all of this? "Dancing Queen" Because nothing says romance like disco!
- Played with in the episode "Henderson, Nevada Adjacent, Baby!" from Raising Hope. Jimmy and Sabrina slow dance for the third time to "an upbeat song that really shouldn't be slow-danced to".
- This is played with rather nicely in an episode of That '70s Show. Jackie and Kelso start slow dancing at their prom. When the song changes to a more lively, upbeat tune, they simply continue to slow dance.
- On NCIS, Tony and Ziva get one in "Berlin." What starts out as a way to throw their suspect off their surveillance soon turns into a very intimate moment.
- Played with by Five Iron Frenzy on their first live album. Reese Roper introduces one of the songs with a monologue, saying that he knows what it's like to be a lonely guy at a show, hoping that the band plays a slow song so he can dance with that pretty girl. "Well my friends, now is your chance! Take that girl in your arms and slow dance like there's no tomorrow!" The band then plays "Blue Comb '78", which is only a slow song for the first 30 seconds.
- Final Fantasy VIII subverts this trope with Squall and Rinoa's dance at the See D Ball. The song, "Waltz for the Moon" is a Viennese waltz, which is twice as fast as the traditional romantic dance. (Plotwise this makes sense, as the whole point of the scene is to introduce Rinoa with her zippy Genki Girl personality.)
- Danny Phantom had one for Danny and Sam in Parental Bonding.
- Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot: At the Quark Shareholders Ball, Lt. Hunter and Dr. Slate get about 2 seconds of lively dancing in before a slow song started.
- An episode of Dexter's Laboratory shows that Dexter and Dee-Dee's parents met in college, when Dad was helping Mom work on getting over her Super OCD. At one point they go to a dance together, and when this situation crops up, Dad helps Mom through it by presenting her with her trademark rubber yellow gloves.