"But something happens when we slow dance."So Alice and Bob, who either don't know each other very well, or are Just Friends, are attending some fancy party. For some reason, they wind up dancing to some slow romantic song that requires waltzing or some other dance typified by close body contact. Hey, that's ok, nothing special — except she's starting to blush, and he's getting all nervous. Could it be? Are they in love? This often pops up during high school dances and fancy parties, the kind with hooped skirts and masks. For some reason, waltzing with a friend, or friend-of-a-friend, always winds up with one or both participants acquiring (or realizing) feelings of love towards the other, as though it were some kind of movement-driven truth/love spell. Often prefaced by an observation that She Cleans Up Nicely, and frequently occurs during a High-School Dance, though it is by no means exclusive to teenagers. A subtrope of Dances and Balls, obviously. When adding examples, keep in mind that this trope is about the dance being the first indication of romance between the dancers, not just a romantic dance between two people who are in love (or in denial). Chances are a Love Theme will be playing. Compare Mating Dance, Convenient Slow Dance, Flight of Romance.
— Keri Hilson, "Slow Dance"
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Anime & Manga
- The Familiar of Zero: After catching Fouguet, the academy holds a ball where Louise asks Saito for a dance. In the novels, at least, Saito declares that that was the time when he fell in love with Louise.
- The Adolescence of Utena: Utena and Anthy, a clear starlit sky, a rose garden covered in water creating a mirror-like floor, and of course, the song as they reach to each other and dance, "Toki ni, Ai wa (At times, Love is)."
- Descendants of Darkness: For Hisoka and Tsubaki, the start of their interaction consists of her bumping into him and then getting him to dance with her. Cue slow, romantic music, and Gaussian Girl effects as they stare into each other's eyes.
- The Magic World Ball chapters of Mahou Sensei Negima! had two sets of these going with variations. The straight one is Kotaro/Natsumi, and the oddball one being Negi/Asuna, because it isn't really Asuna, but her doppleganger Shiori. However, by that point Shiori was already developing feelings for Negi.
- Honoo No Alpen Rose:
- Jeudi gets dolled up in a red gown to dance a waltz with the Romantic False Lead instead of the guy she has loves from childhood. Said dance turns out to be plot-relevant, as it triggers the return on one of Jeudi's lost memories: dancing with a man who seems to be her father... before the plane crash that left her orphaned and amnesiac.
- In the OP of the series, she's seen dancing with both the False Lead and the Victorious Childhood Friend.
- Berserk: While Casca insist that she can't dance with her crush Griffith in the manga and in Berserk (1997), Berserk: The Golden Age Arc II takes it in a completely different direction with her and Guts dancing together, both parties very clearly enjoying their interaction.
- Candy Candy has three moments like those:
- One of the most Ship Tease-ladden moments for Candy and Anthony was their dance in the Andree Big Fancy House. Even more so because they were this close to miss it thanks to Eliza and Neil's machinations. The sight of Candy dancing with Tony in a Pimped-Out Dress that belonged to his Missing Mom sent Eliza into a sobbing fit.
- In that same episode Candy also dances with Anthony's cousin Archie, but that one goes more into Crowning Moment of Funny as she steps on his foot and he makes a really hilarious face. (Later, he's briefly in Unrequited Love with her... before getting together with her best friend Annie.
- Also, one of the first hints about Stear and Patty's mutual growing feelings was their... very Adorkable dance in the School Festival. Where they both proved to be Blind Without Them, but still tried to go through it. Too bad he perishes in World War I, leaving her all heartbroken.
- Subverted in Tokyo Mew Mew, where Ichigo was asked for a dance by Shirogane when the Mew Mews are attending a cruise party. Despite being very embarrassed with herself for enjoying the moment, the two never ended up together, because Ichigo only has eyes for Aoyama.
- In the Netherlands arc of Hana no Ko Lunlun, there's a dance contest where Lunlun is supposed to participate to counter the influence of a corrupt klomp (traditional Dutch wooden clogs) maker, but she has no partner. In comes Serge, her handsome Mysterious Protector whom she has a huge crush on; he agrees to dance with her and help her.
- The Rows of Cherry Trees subverts this when Yukiko has an Imagine Spot where she dances with her dear Chikage... but then she sees other girls shooing her away, and her rival Ayako takes her place.
Films — Animation
- Pictured above: Nearly the whole of Cinderella's romance occurs as Prince Charming and the titular heroine dance to "So This Is Love".
- Beauty and the Beast is one of the most famous examples as they dance to "Beauty and The Beast".
- The Swan Princess at the end of the song "This Is My Idea".
- Tiana and Naveen in The Princess and the Frog; "If I can mince, you can dance." (Unique in that they are frogs when they dance, rather than humans.)
- Anastasia: Anastasia dances with Dimitri as part of her "princess lessons" after he gives her a dress in the Waltz Reprise of "Learn to Do It". Vladimir notices the dance's romantic undertones long before they do ("I never should have let them dance...").
- Sleeping Beauty. Though Prince Phillip is drawn to Aurora by the sound of her voice, her first introduction to him is when he sneaks up behind her and starts waltzing with her to "Once Upon a Dream".
- Subverted in Tangled where Rapunzel and Flynn were trying to reach each other during the "Kingdom Dance" but don't come together until the song has ended.
- Rio. After dancing a samba duet, Blu and Jewel are on the verge of kissing... until the bad guys turn up.
- This happens in The Princess and the Pea when Daria and Rollo dance to the movie's Award-Bait Song.
- The Scarecrow: another example where the love interests dance to an Award-Bait Song.
- Ro and Prince Antonio are dancing in Barbie as the Island Princess when Antonio tells Ro he loves her.
- In Frozen, Anna and Hans do this. Well, Anna falls in love....
- In Chicken Run Rocky and Ginger start having romantic feelings after a fast swing dance scene.
- Don Bluth's Thumbelina has one between Thumbelina and Prince Cornelius on their first nighttime flight.
Films — Live-Action
- This is the way Robert and Giselle both realize that they were meant to be with each other in Enchanted. It's also the only possible way they could justify Edward and Nancy, even though both of them were glaring at their respective partners the whole time.
- It looks like this is happening to Janis and Damien towards the end of Mean Girls, but thankfully the pair quickly think better of it.
- Played straight after Damien runs off. Kevin slips into Janis's still-open arms and starts dancing with her while asking about her ethnicity.
- In Iron Man, Tony Stark first seems to notice Pepper romantically when he gets her out onto the dance floor for a nice slow waltz. They have an awkward and comedic conversation about it afterwards.
- Crumb and the old guy do this in The City of Lost Children.
- James Bond and Domino dancing a tango in Never Say Never Again. Does not quite cross over into Mating Dance territory, but one can see why Largo interrupts it at the first possible moment.
- Happens in Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day:
Joe: I am making you uncomfortable?Miss Pettigrew: This is the most comfortable I've been all day.
- Played straight at the beginning of Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005) when John and Jane dance in Colombia, and then subverted later on in the ballroom when they use the dancing to cover the fact they are removing each other's weapons.
- In When Harry Met Sally... at the first New Year's party.
- There's a cute one in the 1987 film adaptation of Anne of Avonlea between Anne and Gilbert. It deeply affects Anne, who jerks away quickly after a few moments and makes an excuse to leave. Up until that point, she'd been oblivious to both Gilbert's feelings for her and her own feelings for him. She still remains oblivious to her feelings for him for a few more years.
- "Night and Day" in The Gay Divorcee: Mimi has been very standoffish to Guy until this point, but after they dance together, she is clearly attracted to him—so much so that she's hurt when she thinks he was just romancing her for his job.
- "Cheek To Cheek" from Top Hat.
- In Carefree, Amanda first realizes her attraction to Tony after she dreams about dancing with him; she confirms it by getting him to dance with her in real life.
- At the end of Elizabeth's first dance with Mr Darcy in the Keira Knightley version of Pride and Prejudice, Mr Darcy says that he hopes to afford Elizabeth more clarity of his character in the future. This must have been significant to Elizabeth because at that point everyone in the room disappears and Mr Darcy is the only one she notices.
- In The Artist, when George and Peppy film the dancing scene for "A German Affair", they keep screwing up the takes because they can't stop staring at each other or making each other laugh. It culminates in a Held Gaze, after which a visibly unsettled George walks off the set. In the film's screenplay, this is actually pointed to as the precise moment where the two fall in love.
- Almasy and Katherine's dance in The English Patient film. It's romantic in that the mutual attraction between the two becomes apparent, but it is also extremely uncomfortable because of the sheer intensity of their connection coupled with the fact that Katherine is another man's wife. And he's sitting not far away.
- Sort of in Stardust when Tristan and Yvaine dance on the ship and Yvain starts to glow as she begins realizing her feelings for him.
- In Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street Sweeney Todd and Mrs Lovett get one during the song "A Little Priest".
- In The Dark Knight Rises, Bruce Wayne gets to do one with Selina Kyle about 30 minutes into the movie.
- While Scott and Fran dance together several times during the course of Strictly Ballroom, their feelings for each other truly start to emerge when they dance to Doris Day's "Perhaps Perhaps Perhaps".
- In Holiday, Linda and John share a dance just before midnight on New Year's Eve. It's supposed to be an innocent future brother- and sister-in-law moment, but for Linda, at least, it turns into something more.
- Some Like It Hot has Jerry/Daphne go from hating Osgood, to wanting to marry him, after enjoying a night-long tango with him.
- In Remember the Night, Lee and John share a lovely barn-dance waltz which ends in a steamy kiss.
- Subverted in the 2014 French-German La Belle et la BÍte. Belle's dance with the Beast is a clear homage to the Dance of Romance in the Disney adaptation listed above, but given that Belle asks the Beast to dance only because she wants to make a deal with him to see her family again and that the dance ends with the Beast refusing to honor his end of the deal and Belle shouting at him that he disgusts her in response, it ultimately doesn't turn out very romantic.
- Wonder Woman: Steve and Diana "sway" during the celebration of Veld's liberation and the romantic tension is high. It also leads to a kiss later that night... and possibly more.
- Deconstructed in A Brother's Price: Kij dances with Jerin, compliments him and starts a conversation about his being schooled in "the paths of pleasure". He's only embarassed, and happy when his sisters comes to his rescue.
- In Beastly, a modern retelling of "Beauty and the Beast", Adrian teaches Lindy how to dance after he sees that She Cleans Up Nicely. It could also be the point where Lindy started falling for Adrian too, considering that she begins Letting Her Hair Down and wearing perfume around him after the dance.
- In Isabel Cooper's No Proper Lady, the sexual tension between Simon and Joan is unsurprisingly kick-started when Simon begins teaching Joan how to waltz.
- Cinderella, and just about everything based off her.
- Forbidden: Beginning as a fun, homework-procrastination salsa dance, a Convenient Slow Dance occurs, and Maya and Lochan experience this trope.
- Doc and Seven in the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Someone to Watch Over Me".
- Odo and Kira in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "His Way". Granted, Odo had already been in love with Kira for years by this point, but their dance seemed to be the turning point that allowed Kira to realize her own feelings.
- iCarly: Carly and Freddie in iSpeed Date.
- Torchwood has the slow dance in 1942 between Jack and the real Captain Jack Harkness after a full episode of romantic tension, culminating in one of the longest gay kisses ever shown on TV. Also a Tear Jerker since Jack is forced to return to his own time immediately after the kiss, and the last image he sees is the other Jack saluting him
- Done twice in Nip and Tuck, first with Tuck and Thelma Possum at the harvest dance, then with Nip and Zelda Porcupine at the B-Movie cruise.
- Friends Monica and Chandler have an off-screen one when Chandler realized Monica was the woman he "wanted to dance all his dances with."
- In Battlestar Galactica, this happens in the episode "Colonial Day," for Lee and Kara (subverted in that there are already indications of mutual romantic feelings between them and Kara sleeps with someone else that night while fantasizing about Lee) and Roslin and Adama.
- The Vampire Diaries:
- In the episode "Miss Mystic Falls" 150+ year old vampire Damon Salvatore steps in to dance with his brother's human girlfriend, Elena Gilbert when Stefan fails to show up. You can see it in his eyes that this is the moment he realizes he loves her, and she appears somewhat affected as well.
- Stefan's dance with Elena's doppelganger, Katherine Pierce, is this as well, both in the past and in the present.
- In the Korean Drama The City Hall, Mi Rae and Ju Gook dance the tango at the Miss Baendaengi contest, finally letting the sparks fly.
- Carter and Abby in ER. In the seventh season episode "Thy Will Be Done," Carter and Abby share one when Abby accompanies Carter to his grandparents' charity ball. The two were established friends by that point, but if the dance wasn't the turning point for both of them, it noticeably was for Carter...
- In the first episode of Bomb Girls Kate asks Betty to slow dance with her, very obviously setting up the beginning of their romance.
- Subverted in an episode from How I Met Your Mother when Robin, having just used her "truth voice" to Lily about wanting to get back with Barney, gets pulled into a dance with him to "show these people in Cleveland how it's done." When the ending has them so close they're almost kissing, they are interrupted by a phone call from Barney's ex, Nora, who he had tried calling. She feeds him lines to say that are really how she is feeling which, unfortunately, brings the Barney and Nora back together.
- Possibly in Frasier in the episode where Niles dances with Daphne. Subverted in that he's already in love with her and she thinks they're just putting on a show to make the other guests stop pitying Niles but he does refer back to it as a significant moment for them in later episodes.
- Played with in a complicated way in Sherlock. At John's wedding, Sherlock makes friends with a very flirty bridesmaid who fancies him and, when he rejects her, starts abusing his Sherlock Scan abilities to make him act as her wingman. Eventually, he confesses to her that he secretly loves dancing, but no-one must ever know. She asks to see him dance, so he performs a few graceful moves for her (rather than with her), which she adores. In the next episode, John finds out, to his horror, that despite Sherlock's Asexuality the bridesmaid is now his girlfriend, walking around his house with no underwear and even sneaking up on him when he's in the bath. Eventually we find out that Sherlock in fact deliberately manipulated the whole situation in order to bait her as a Honey Trap, needing her to solve a case - and that he couldn't even bring himself to do anything more than kiss her. It seems the decision to have him dance for her rather than with her was Foreshadowing this eventual twist.
- Pablo and Marizza do this in Rebelde Way. It's one of the first indicators in the series that shows that they might start having romantic feelings for one another.
- Karma and Amy's dance at Farrah's wedding reception in the season one finale of Faking It. While not the slow, romantic dance usually seen, the wild, carefree manner in which they dance to 'their song', as though they're the only ones in the room, makes it clear to everyone present that they have feelings for each other.
- A common occurrence on Glee, which makes sense since it's a musical show. All the major (and most minor) couples have had falling in love duets and the duets are usually accompanied by some dancing.
- In The Astronaut Wives Club, Max and Louise share a tentative but close dance in a barn the night the Cuban Missile Crisis reaches high tension.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: In "I Only Have Eyes For You", Buffy looks into the music room and sees the ghosts of James and Grace dancing to "I Only Have Eyes For You". She's caught up in the moment herself until James does a Face-Revealing Turn as a corpse.
- Keri Hilson's song "Slow Dance", which is the quoted at the top of this page, is about this.
- The song "I Saw Her Standing There" by The Beatles combines this trope with the related tropes High-School Dance, Holding Hands and Love at First Sight.
- Toby Keith's "You Shouldn't Kiss Me Like This" combines this, Everyone Can See It and First Kiss. "Everybody swears we make the perfect pair, but dancing is as far as it goes. Girl, you've never moved me quite the way you moved me tonight." Clearly, the girl is giving a massive neon sign of a hint to her previously (possibly) Oblivious to Love partner, and everybody there thinks it's about time.
- Romeo and Juliet first meet at the Capulet's party, so some adaptations have them dance before they first speak to one another.
- West Side Story during the dance at the gym. Tony and Maria see each other for the first time and dance. It's a cha-cha, not a waltz, but it fits.
- Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street has an interesting variation. Mrs. Lovett is interested in Sweeney for the entire first half, but he's totally oblivious. Then come "A Little Priest", he notices her in a different light and they waltz. The catch? This sudden romantic interest is due to her...unsual idea of how to dispose of the body of the man he just killed.
- Miss Saigon is another atypical variation; Kim and Chris dance together, which seems to be the usual practice in the club before going off with a client, but there's only a hint of affection; they don't fall deeply in love until afterwards, and the scene that looks like a typical Dance of Romance is the reprise of the song they danced to when they first met.
- Sort of happens in The Sound of Music: Maria and Captain Von Trapp, when the kids ask to be shown the Laendler. Whilst the audience (and the Baroness) can see this coming long before that, it's the first time either of the eventual couple give any inkling of noticing they love each other.
- Robert and Francesca in The Bridges of Madison County share a slow dance in her kitchen before finally giving into their simmering passion.
- Much like its animated predecessor, in Anastasia, Dmitry and Anya share a dance during the "Learn To Do It" montage and clearly feel a spark of something. Several scenes later, upon seeing their angst, Vlad lampshades this with the song "I Never Should Have Let Them Dance."
- Though she is initially reluctant, Prince Digby coxes Princess Althea into sharing a unique version of this in The Light Princess. The fact that Althea is constantly floating in the air complicates matters somewhat, but the dance is accomplished by Digby holding either her hands, her ankles, or the long, trailing ribbons tied to her wrists and waist to keep her from floating away.
- In the stage version of The Little Mermaid, the voiceless human Ariel learns dance as a nonverbal method of communication during Eric's "One Step Closer" number.
- Final Fantasy VIII. The scene where Rinoa persuades Squall to dance with her is where you first know that they're the Official Couple. (Well, y'know, besides the image on the cover.)
- Final Fantasy VI, the Falling in Love Montage between Maduin and Madonna depicts them dancing and floating all over the screen.
- Elaine does this with Guybrush in Tales of Monkey Island Chapter 4: The Trial and Execution of Guybrush Threepwood, although it is parodied as a "Freaky Waltz of Attempted Rape".
- In MOTHER 1/EarthBound Zero, Ninten and Ana dance together when they're alone in a healing house, after which Ana asks Ninten if he loves her. The dance is a primitive 8-bit one that only uses their walking sprites, but it's heartwarming nonetheless.
- In Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia, Prince Berkut and Lady Rinea have dancing as a shared theme. Their Cipher card◊ and their shared introductory cutscene featuring them happily waltzing together, and a Memory Prism shows that they met for the first time during a ball: Rinea was looking for a quieter spot, Berkut noticed and talked to her kindly (even telling her to value her own worth), they hit it off, and decide to dance together in the gardens.
- In The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel I, Rean has the option to dance with the ladies at the climax of the game if he has a high bonding affinity with them. For the guys however, they skip out on the dancing and go straight to watching the other people dance while they just sit down in the distance.
- The dance party scene in Chicken Run includes one for the two leads (especially significant for the heroine.) Unlike most examples, it uses a fast-tempo song.
- Happens to Kick and Kendall in the episode "Dancing With the Enemy" on Kick Buttowski when they both share their first mutual hint of being attracted to one another (Kendall being the only one that sort of have hinted at it for a second or two previously)... however, the moment is broken thanks to an off-screen classmate who is apparently an on board shipper for this couple.
Kick: "You're so elegant..."Kendall: "And you're so awesome..."Off-Screen Kid: "KISS HER!"*needle scratch*
- It's pretty clear that this trope was in full effect at the end of Kim Possible Movie: So the Drama when Kim and Ron returned to the prom and danced to the song "Could It Be" which incidentally fit the mood perfectly, culminating in their First Kiss.
- Sym-Bionic Titan: After Ilana misses the dance she worked so hard on (to set up the theme, as it reminded her of her home planet). Lance decides to cheer her up by putting on a hat and sharing a dance with her. Jason and Maribel's dance from earlier (after said couple abandoned them earlier) could be seen as this, although not the dance between Kimmy and her ex-boyfriend Brandon.
- While Aang's feelings for Katara had been somewhere on the spectrum between Precocious Crush and Unrequited Love for quite a while, their dance scene in "The Headband" was the first time it looked like his attraction might be reciprocated. (A certain trip through a cave notwithstanding.)
- Scarecrow and The Queen Of Night have one of these in The Magic Adventures Of Mumfie episode "Scarecrowella".
- A brief and one sided example in Star vs. the Forces of Evil episode "Blood Moon Ball". During a magical moon influenced dance, Star is clearly smitten with her dance partner until he reveals himself to be Marco, who just thought he was rescuing her from the party.
- The Steven Universe episode "The Answer" gives Ruby and Sapphire a romantic dance (which doubles as a Fusion Dance) during the song "Something Entirely New." The choreography and setting are a blatant shoutout to Aurora and Philip's "Once Upon a Dream" dance in Sleeping Beauty.
- Can be Truth in Television. Waltz songs are often romantic or ballad type songs, and having someone listen to that while having to concentrate on a dance partner can plant the idea that leads to romance.