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Choreography Porn

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Your dance is ready for its closeup.

This trope has been Launched!
Proposed By:
ryanasaurus0077 on Sep 10th 2015 at 3:00:51 AM
Last Edited By:
ryanasaurus0077 on Oct 3rd 2017 at 5:20:57 PM
Name Space: Main
Page Type: Trope

So you've got a choreographed dance. You want to describe it as best as you can, but you need to list every last step, every last turn, every last jump, in order to do so. So what do you do? You do just that. And it is absolutely a balletomane's dream come true.

In visual works, expect a lot of closeups, particularly of the arms and feet, and perhaps even some slow-mo. Written works will most often be very descriptive about the dance being performed, perhaps even down to the last detail.

Can apply to any athletic event that involves a lot of kinesis on the performer's part.

Sub-Trope of Shoot the Money. May involve Body Doubles, which often incurs Fan Letdown or Critical Backlash. For similar treatment of other inanimate objects, compare Gun Porn, Food Porn, Costume Porn, Scenery Porn, Car Porn, etc.

Not to be confused with a well-choreographed porn movie.


Examples:

Anime And Manga

  • Princess Tutu shows its work with such bravado, its attention to detail has been used to teach dance appreciation classes.

Film

  • Black Swan is an example which notoriously makes at least some use of body doubles.
  • Bring It On shows a lot of cheerleading, to the point where it more or less averts the Hollywood stereotype.
  • The Cutting Edge does this to figure skating.
  • The Karate Kid puts on a heavy display of... you know.
  • In Staying Alive a large percentage of the screen time was of montages of dance rehearsals, as well as the finale Broadway show. All involved heavily choreographed dancing.
  • The Step Up franchise would probably be less than half the length if you took out the dancing scenes. This trope is pretty much the entire reason it exists.
  • Fred Astaire loved this trope, to the point where he took it Up to Eleven by famously dancing from floor to wall to ceiling in a single take in Royal Wedding.

Western Animation

Feedback: 40 replies

Sep 10th 2015 at 3:15:09 AM

  • The Step Up franchise would probably be less than half the length if you took out the dancing scenes. This trope is pretty much the entire reason it exists.

May also want to mine this list for examples.

Sep 10th 2015 at 3:28:39 AM

  • In Staying Alive a large percentage of the screen time was of montages of dance rehearsals, as well as the finale Broadway show. All involved heavily choreographed dancing.

Sep 10th 2015 at 10:00:46 AM

Bring It On falls into this category, even if it's cheerleading as opposed to dance. So too The Cutting Edge (substituting figure skating/ice dance for dance), The Karate Kid for martial arts, and plenty others. Tropes Are Flexible, after all.

Subtrope of Shoot The Money. May involve Body Doubles, which oftem incurs Fan Letdown or Critical Backlash.

Sep 11th 2015 at 1:11:53 PM

Any help with the description? Any more examples? Any hats?

Sep 12th 2015 at 11:38:55 AM

I'm trying to think of specific scenes from Footloose, Dirty Dancing, and Flashdance.

What separates this from Skill Building Montage? Or just Establishing Character Shot?

Sep 12th 2015 at 4:44:02 PM

The Establishing Character Moment is just that: the establishment of a single character. And Skill Building Montage (is it even called that?) involves training sequences, as opposed to actual performances.

Sep 13th 2015 at 7:19:24 AM

But in a movie where the principal character is a dancer, their Establishing Character Moment is, by nature, going to be of them dancing.

Most of the movies I listed have a Skill Building Montage (obviously not!), which leads to a lot of Choreography Porn. Does it really have to be a finished, polished routine?

I'd add, out of obviousness, the television series Dancing With The Stars and So You Think You Can Dance, as well as Americas Got Talent and (to a lesser degree) American Idol.

Would the "steerage" scene from Titanic count? Or any number of "now where entering a fancy nightclub" scenes from James Bond / Bourne / Austin Powers count? What about the "Zion is an EDM rave party" scene from the third Matrix film?

Sep 13th 2015 at 8:07:40 AM

For the "visual works" section, I'm confused as to how this is different from just a filmed dance number. Is this intended for works that are not musicals? But even some non-musicals contain dance sequences. Or does it have to do with the way the dance is presented?

Sep 13th 2015 at 10:45:54 AM

I think it has something to do with how the dance is presented, yeah.

Sep 14th 2015 at 6:53:43 AM

^ Okay...but what, exactly? I mean, if you want to present "every last step, every last turn, every last jump" in a filmed dance number, you do minimal camera tricks and just show the dance. (That's why Fred Astaire insisted on having his dances filmed in such a way that his whole body could be seen at all times.) If you're doing slow-motion time distortion and zooming in for closeups of hands and feet, the effect is more an impressionistic idea of what the dance is like than a detailed presentation of the dance itself.

Also, it seems like in the trope as described, the visual and written components are opposites. The visual version actually makes it harder for the audience to see every detail of the dance (by focusing on specific parts), while the written version meticulously describes every detail of the dance so that the readers can picture it.

Sep 14th 2015 at 4:31:49 PM

How would you suggest I rewrite the description?

Sep 14th 2015 at 7:48:49 PM

^^ Some films do close and medium shots so that you can see the move in full as well as specifics of those moves. Say a dancer is spinning around, we see her spinning, and there is a close up of her feet so we can see just how she's pulling off the footwork for that move.

Sep 15th 2015 at 7:42:37 AM

^^ That depends on what the heart of the trope is—something I'm still confused about. From the title, I'd guess it's something about drawing attention to the choreography, making sure the audience/readers think about or focus on it. Does that sound right?

^ You mean like showing the same move from different angles/perspectives, either in sequence or with multiple images at the same time?

Sep 15th 2015 at 9:44:46 AM

Perhaps. And I was thinking the exact same thing about Dragon Quest Z's theory.

Sep 15th 2015 at 5:35:25 PM

I think the trope description risks falling into "media with dance in it." The 'porn' part of the name suggests that, much like Scenery Porn isn't fundamental to a narrative, Choreography Porn goes beyond establishing that a character can dance. (I suspect, like porn, it does provide equal amounts of Filler and Fan Service.)

By means of example, Mikhail Baryshnikov and Gregory Hines have a duet in White Nights, but it serves as both a great depiction of dance, but also a growing rapport between the two men, as well as building a bridge across cultural and racial borders.

Sep 15th 2015 at 8:06:30 PM

"^ You mean like showing the same move from different angles/perspectives, either in sequence or with multiple images at the same time? "

Yes. That way the dancing can be shown in greater detail.

^ Well if the scenes also focus on the dancing visually (haven't seen the movie, so this is just an if), then it uses this trope for that purpose.

And yeah, the description needs work.

Oct 1st 2015 at 9:22:11 PM

OK, how do you suggest I go about it?

Oct 10th 2015 at 11:49:39 AM

My recommendation for making the description clearer is to figure out exactly what is the trope and what isn't. Is the flashy camera work (multiple angles, slow motion, etc.) mandatory? If not, what else can cause this trope to happen? Can you think of any dance scenes that are not this trope, and if so, what is missing from them?

Oct 10th 2015 at 1:14:28 PM

Western Animation

  • The pampered show poodle Georgette from Disney's Oliver And Company awakens to a song-and-dance sequence as an Establishing Character Moment that depicts her as a self-centered diva. Her song "Perfect Isn't Easy" culminates in a Busby Berkeley step down a large spiral staircase, notable in that the staircase itself was a pioneering use of computer graphics. Georgette's animators matched her footfalls to the steps.

Oct 11th 2015 at 1:22:03 PM

Western Animation

  • Family Guy - it is a rare show without a prolonged piece of choreography porn. Peter's goal celebration on the American Football field, set to an obscure musical number, draws in everybody and a cast of hundreds are faithfully represented on screen. There are Stewie and Brian's frequent dance numbers; and then there is the sequence where animated Stewie is spliced into a live-action dance taken from an old Hollywood movie. Not to mention the opening credit sequence of the show...

Oct 11th 2015 at 8:39:08 PM

^ Those just state the musical numbers, not how they fit this trope.

Oct 21st 2015 at 2:56:25 AM

Typically in visual media there will be flashy camera stuff. That, while not in and of itself specifically required, is just one sign of this being in play.

Oct 22nd 2015 at 10:50:30 AM

Maybe some concrete examples will help. Would you say this qualifies for the trope? (Fred Astaire, from The Gay Divorcee).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3v5nqFAlIyg

It's amazing dancing, but is it choreography porn?

How about this one? (Fred again, from Easter Parade).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MDgH_Z8438w

This one uses some camera tricks.

I'm picking on Fred Astaire because I just recently re-watched a bunch of his movies, so they're fresh in my mind, and also because he's currently listed as a prime example of the trope.

Oct 22nd 2015 at 3:12:43 PM

Pretty sure we should count fight scene choreography too here. And breakdancing, and musicals'dancing sections, and...

Mar 31st 2016 at 2:03:07 AM

  • Many Jem "music videos" are heavy on the choreography.

Apr 1st 2016 at 12:49:37 AM

Well, what do you think about ^^ ?

Apr 1st 2016 at 12:49:46 AM

Well, what do you think about ^ ?

Apr 1st 2016 at 8:28:27 AM

Accidental triple post.

Apr 1st 2016 at 8:27:27 AM

  • Tribe Cool Crew uses this frequently as it's an anime about street dancing. There are frequent Art Shifts to rotoscoped CGI featuring characters dancing.

  • Many Music Videos feature heavy choreography.

Apr 1st 2016 at 12:36:33 PM

I guess the following could be added to the end of the description: Not to be confused with a well-choreographed porn movie.

Jun 30th 2016 at 2:03:43 PM

And here I thought all my open YKTTW's had failed... must be my broken morale regarding Fame Through Infamy and other YKTTW failures of mine.

Aug 12th 2017 at 12:04:49 PM

would awesome fight choreography (Monty Oum) count as Choreography Porn?

Aug 13th 2017 at 2:28:48 AM

^ I have watched Monty Oum's work (e.g. Haloid and Dead Fantasy) and I'd say it counts.

You should add something about martial arts or combat maneuvers to the Description in order to make it clear that it fits.

Aug 13th 2017 at 9:42:03 AM

If Busby Berkeley directed it, it contains dance examples of this trope.

Sep 30th 2017 at 11:29:17 AM

Oct 1st 2017 at 5:34:50 PM

Launching tomorrow, barring any further objections.

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