Whenever it's time for a musical number, the lead dancer and singer (whether hero or villain) can usually pull any Innocent Bystanders
into a Crowd Song
, and thanks to Spontaneous Choreography
have them all dance and sing in perfect sync.
Some leads can go a step further. Rather than make do with whoever is nearby, or go solo if there's no one else around, they can Summon Backup Dancers from out of sight, bringing a battalion of ballerinas to dance at their side. To make this more impressive, they'll usually be summoned directly from the Universe
of Wardrobe and Costuming
after having been fitted in perfectly appropriate attire for the song in question.
This trope isn't usually
a magical spell that can summon dancers like a wizard
can summon monsters
(though in a wacky enough series, it may well explicitly be one), more often it's an implicit rule of the cosmos
. Anyone who goes into a musical number will get accompaniment, even if it requires the Spontaneous Generation
of said dancers from hard vacuum. Other times, it can be humorously justified
by the lead in question training friends, allies or subordinates
beforehand and instructing them to hide out of sight and march out on cue for their big song.
If this is
a magical ability of some type, the backup dancers may help out by dance battling
alongside the summoner.
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Anime and Manga
- In Scott Pilgrim, Evil Ex #1 Matt Patel can summon Demon Hipster Chicks to help him cast his flaming hand attack. In the videogame, these attack the player.
- In Shrek 2, the Fairy Godmother enchanted Fiona's furniture to sing along with her about giving Fiona a makeover.
- Giselle's Disney-Princess magic in Enchanted turns the jaded denizens of New York into her backup chorus, leaving her stodgy love-interest baffled that everyone seems to know the same song. "I've never heard this song!"
- In The Mask, the titular character does this to a SWAT team.
- Just like in the series, Matthew Patel summons his demon hipster chicks in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.
- In North during the Texas song a group of back up singers and dancers appear out of nowhere. This is justified as it was All Just a Dream.
- In Leprechaun In The Hood, the Leprechaun uses his powers to make the people in a night club sing and dance for him.
- Happens during Janki's Item Number "Badi Mushkil" in Lajja.
- In The Blues Brothers, when Ray Charles plays "Shake a Tail Feather", passersby in the street start dancing, and the crowd quickly grows as people rush in from all sides. They proceed to demonstrate the different 1960s dance styles that are mentioned in the lyrics. You see those people on the elevated train station way in the back? They weren't involved in the shoot. They were waiting for a train, saw what was going on, and joined in.
Live Action TV
- A very, very big chunk.
- In the music video of Sara Bareilles' "Gonna Get Over You," she doesn't so much as summon her backup dancers as more infect the shoppers of a Mexican supermarket, turning them into her leather jacket-clad minions.
- Averted in the 1993 Broadway version of Tommy, in accordance with composer Pete Townshend's strict instructions to collaborator Des McAnuff that there be "no fucking dancing."
- Pippin does this most obviously in "Kind of Woman," which brings a bunch of adoring backup singers come to Catherine's side. They disappear when the song is over, leaving her alone with Pippin as before (but not really, since the show has No Fourth Wall).
- In Shrek The Musical, Fiona usually summons the dancing rats with the Pied Piper's flute in "Morning Person".
- Plants vs. Zombies is the Trope Namer. The lead Dancer Zombie does this, summoning four backup dancer zombies. In the sequel, we have the Disco-Tron 3000 which summons Jetpack Dancing Zombies (fortunately, the dancers don't summon anything).
- In Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal, evil robot pop diva Courtney Gears does this during her boss battle.
- In Guild Wars, the collector edition of the expansion Factions comes with a bonus that, among other things, gives Ritualist and Assassin characters ghostly backup dancers with the /dance command.
- In Dragon Quest IX, the ultimate Luminary skill, Disco Stew has your guy doing a dance routine while a bunch of backup dancers appear behind him/her. Somehow, this does damage.
- A spell in Kingdom of Loathing called "Raise Backup Dancer" lets you raise backup dancers from the dead.
- In The Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie's Revenge, gaining enough musical notes in a boss battle sends you into a Rhythm Game section. Doing well summons skeletal backup dancers.
- Space Channel 5 has any hostages you rescue join you in dance.
- In most Kirby platformers, Kirby clones himself and performs a Happy Dance whenever he clears a level.
- World of Warcraft features a quest where Sylvanas gets nostalgic and summons a backup choir of banshees.
- When Edgeworth is introduced in the first Takarazuka musical adaptation of the Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney series he immediately summons a group of backup dancer clones for his intro song.
- Demyx from Kingdom Hearts. Kill them all in 10 seconds or you die.
- This makes up the first phase of the fight with Armaros in El Shaddai.
- In Final Fantasy X-2 the first cinematic is of a concert with back-up dancers that appear via magic/hologram/goons.
- Any dance number Phantom R has in Rhythm Thief & the Emperor's Treasure will feature two clones of Phantom R in all-black clothing dancing behind him, which the game never explains. Bizarrely, Jerome, an impostor Phantom R, also receives two such clones.
- There was a Sinfest strip where Slick and Co. tried to face off against a G-Man in a dance-battle - but when they were done, he just snapped his fingers to summon two other, similarly-dressed guys to act as his backup-dancers for a modified rendition of Here Come The Men In Black.
- Ink City: When Yakko and Rigby break into their The Villain Sucks Song "Pretty Fly (For a Toon Guy)", the first thing Yakko does is summon some random backup singers/dancers. (Trevor is completely distracted by this, and tries to charm the girls into defecting to his side, to no avail.)
- On The LXD, Sp3cimen has this power. When fighting other dancers, he can summon around four backup dancers who help him power up his Ra blasts and provide cool visual effects.
- Phineas and Ferb
- Invoked in the song Rubber Bands, Rubber Balls as Baljeet's uncle, Sabu, summons his factory workers as backup dancers.
- Backup dancers sometimes appear if Doofenshirmitz tells Perry this week's backstory in song; he explicitly hired them at least twice. The trope is sometimes justified only by Rule Of Don't Be So Pedantic, It's A Cartoon, such as when Baljeet sings about his fear a bad grade if he fails to make a portal to Mars - he summons not just backup dancers, but scenery and elephants too!
- An episode of The Boondocks shows us Tom pining over Sara after she throws him out of the house. He then breaks into an Usher-style love song in the middle of the street, complete with back-up dancers who appear to be just neighborhood guys in their robes and pajamas. They perform perfectly until they are almost hit by a car.
- The Music Meister's superpower in Batman: The Brave and the Bold is to hypnotize people with this singing. He thus makes backup dancers out of a horde of supervillains and superheroes.