Zack: Say what?
All the heroes are gearing up for the big sock-hop at the discotheque, but one character wants to stay behind. "What?" cry his friends. "You can't refuse to go! It's the big dance! It's the event of the season! It's being thrown in your honor!"
The reluctant character then grudgingly admits his Terrible Secret: He doesn't know how to dance!
No worries, though; a single scene practicing his two-step and he'll be tripping the light fantastic in no time.
Watch the wording here: If a character says he doesn't
dance, that usually means he can
but he never told you
. If he says he won't
dance, that means his heart won't let his feet do things that they should do. If he says he can't
dance, however, he can be anything from needlessly modest to legitimately terrible. And, of course, watch out for the ones that don't warn you first at all.
Anime and Manga
- In Soul Eater, Maka usually says she can't dance. When she dances with Soul or her father, she lets them lead.
- In Log Horizon, Shiroe cannot dance. He still gets roped into a dance at a ball for diplomatic reasons, but fortunately his partner Henrietta knows how to dance and leads. Later, he and Akatsuki dance privately... but neither of them really know how, and Akatsuki questions whether what they're doing really qualifies as "dancing".
- In His Coool Seha Girls, Mega Drive is daunted by the task of dancing in Space Channel 5.
- In Victorian Romance Emma, Richard Jones meets his future wife at a ball and she asks him if it is okay to dance when (in her words) she's terrible at it. Thinking she's being overly modest, Richard proceeds, only to get kicked in the shin
- Happens in an Archie Comics story; Dilton doesn't know how to dance, so he builds a pair of shoes that dance for him, making him a sensation at the school dance. Then lightning strikes, the shoes go whack, and things don't end well.
- The Genesis song "I Can't Dance". Bonus points for the fact the name of the album from which it came was We Can't Dance.
I can't dance! I can't talk,
The only thing about me is the way that I walk.
- "Your Mama Don't Dance" by Loggins & Messina.
- My Chemical Romance: "You can't swim, you can't dance, and you don't know karate. Face it, you're never gonna make it."
- LL Cool J's "You Can't Dance" is a hilarious Take That, making a good case that some people just shouldn't try.
- Kate Miller Heidke gave us Can't Shake It.
Tried movin' my body to the latest hit,
Someone called the nurse, thought I was havin' a fit,
I execute the moonwalk like I stepped in shit
, I can't take it!
- Frank Zappa's send up of 70s pickup/disco culture "Dancing Fool"
- "I Can't Dance" by Tom T. Hall (and later Gram Parsons).
- Subverted on Monday Night Raw when United States Champion Daniel Bryan finally gave in to Eve Torres, Gail Kim and The Bella Twins, who had been demanding he dance, despite his protests. Outside of an ill advised split, he did pretty well for someone so against it.
- Sara Del Rey protested that she couldn't dance when Courtney Rush tried to coax her into a dance off on SHIMMER Volume 44. Rush would later boast to showing the world that Del Rey could indeed dance, though given Rush herself is not a very rhythmic specimen, the statement should be taken with a grain of salt.
- Cue the shrieking from Rusty and the other kids. He eventually learns over the course of "Let's Hear It for the Boy".
- Squall in Final Fantasy VIII protests that he can't dance. So he gets forcibly dragged onto the dance floor, and trips all over himself a lot until Rinoa finally gets him to loosen up, after which he makes a liar of himself by nailing the remainder of the waltz perfectly. Later on, Squall admits to Rinoa that SeeDs are trained in a number of social skills to help with subterfuge, one of which is dancing in case of the need to approach a target or contact at a formal party.
- In Mass Effect, Commander Shepard is an epic badass that is Famed in Story, but he/she just sucks at dancing. Watch. It became a meme after the first game and as such got a lot of in-game references and jokes in the sequels.
- During Samara's loyalty quest in Mass Effect 2, Shepard has the option of flirting with a dancing Asari at the club Afterlife. If you do not have a high enough Paragon/Renegade score for the Persuade/Intimidate options, or deliberately chose not to select them, Shepard dances poorly and the Asari rejects your flirtations. If you do select the Persuade/Intimidate options, Shepard very smoothly pulls off a dance routine and impresses the Asari.
- While meeting Garrus atop the presidium in Mass Effect 3, the two engage in friendly banter and bragging:
Garrus: [you can handle a gun] but some of us know how to make it dance.
Shepard: There are a few people who've seen me in action, Garrus. They seemed impressed.
Garrus: Yeah, but I've actually seen you dance, Shepard. No comment.
- When Elizabeth tries to coax Booker into dancing with her during Bioshock Infinite, he rebuffs her with a gruff "I don't dance." Subverted with Comstock in "Burial At Sea".
- Saints Row IV: The Dance Party Ending reveals a shocking twist: Johnny Gat can't dance for shit
- A popular story about Abraham Lincoln is that he met his future wife, Mary Todd, at a dance, and introduced himself with the line "Madame, I am about to give you the worst dance of your life."
- Despite being one of the most dazzling horsemen of his time, Joachim Murat was no cavalier note . During balls, he stood on the side, holding his wife's fan and gloves while she danced.