There's a celebration, a festival, or a sort of party going on, and what's a better way to have fun than making a bonfire and dancing around it?
Fire symbolizes many things, of which passion and love are two of them. Thus, a bonfire creates a romantic and intimate atmosphere that allows couples to form; love confessions to be made; or for friends to get even closer in this group quality time through dancing. Thus, it may involve a Campfire Character Exploration. While it doesn't necessarily have to be a romantic scene, it's often meant for romance to bloom and Ship Tease purposes. Sometimes, the dance is referred to as a folk dance, and it can be performed as a religious ritual or a tradition from a specific culture.
In older, more offensive depictions, the exotic tribe from the foreign, unexplored land gets spied on by the Mighty Whitey protagonist who would be shown doing an ecstatic dance 'round a bonfire.
If this happens in Japanese media, expect it to take place in a School Festival, or during a Festival Episode. And, of course, this might happen in a Camping Episode, too.
See Break-Up Bonfire, which is about someone burning the stuff their ex-partner left behind.
Not to be confused with Bonfire Night, which are various annual celebrations that include bonfires and fireworks held in the UK and other commonwealth nations but don't necessarily involve dancing.
- Jet and the Pet Rangers: The last scene of the first episode has Jet and the Pet Rangers dancing around a campfire with some of the kittens they saved while singing about how happy they are to be beside each other.
- Shown briefly in the anime adaptation of A Certain Magical Index, where Touma recalls one of his unlucky moments during the Daihasei Festival, where he was forced to partner with a blushing Mikoto for the folk dance around the bonfire before Kuroko dropkicks him. The scene is further expanded in the spinoff A Certain Scientific Railgun, where it was revealed that Saten had set Touma and Mikoto up. Saten first asked Touma for a dance around the bonfire as a way for him to return the favor of borrowing her lucky charm. She then pretends to be hurt and makes a reluctant Mikoto dance with him instead. The two share a sweet moment, until Kuroko ruins it.
- This becomes a plot point in the culture festival arc of Kaguya-sama: Love Is War. Iino insists on having a large campfire after it was included in the suggestions box, and later on, Kaguya gets to light it. It eventually turns out that Shirogane was the one who requested it, having planed on using the updraft from the flames along with hundreds of heart-shaped balloons for a Grand Romantic Gesture to Kaguya. Maki then enviously watches the campus couples as they dance around the bonfire, wishing they'd get burned. Kashiwagi asks her to dance together, saying she likes Maki more than her own boyfriend.
Kashiwagi: Because... You're supposed to dance with the person you like the most, right?
- An Imagine Spot of Masame's from Masamune-kun's Revenge involves him achieving his revenge on Aki by dancing with her around a bonfire with other couples around them. Nothing of the sort comes true.
- The camping field trip in the second season of Teasing Master Takagi-san features a folk dance at a campfire where there's a rumor that if the last person you're holding hands with during the dance is your crush then you two will fall in love. Nishikata anticipates his turn with Takagi but the dance stops before they get to be paired up.
- The Quintessential Quintuplets: The cast was preparing for the campfire for the school camping trip and discussing a legend about how the partners dancing at the campfire would end up together forever, and it seems like Fuutarou would be dancing with Miku. Later on, when he gets locked in a room with Ichika, he lights a small campfire with the wood they have, and Ichika offers to do the dance with him in private. But after learning about the legend and taking Miku's feelings into consideration, Ichika doesn't do it after all. However, the other students all dance together on the last day of camping, and a couple, who much later end up being married, is born.
- Yona of the Dawn: After the villagers of Hakuryuu welcome Yona warmly and praise her stunning red hair, they hold a feast for her and her companions and do a brief village dance in front of a campfire.
- In Peter Pan, after Peter Pan rescues Tiger Lily, the Indian chief's daughter, he along with the Lost Boys and the Darling siblings join the Indians for a celebratory dance around a bonfire.
- In The Prince of Egypt, Moses, after fleeing from Egypt into the desert, is taken in by Jethro's tribe and lives with them. During his stay, at night, Tzipporah, Jethro's daughter, is dancing near a bonfire and invites Moses to join the tribe in a communal dance around it.
- In Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls, Ace infiltrates the celebratory dance of the Wachootoo tribe (the more "wild" tribe), who is seen dancing around a bonfire.
- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: Whenever the Oompa-Loompas find three or four cocobeans a year, they start eating them. One of them who was wearing a cocobean as a hat is dancing in front of a bonfire.
- Heavyweights: After Tony gets tied up to a tree, the campers go all out, celebrating the night with junk food while dancing like crazy around a campfire in a slo-mo Gluttony Montage.
- One optional encounter in Howl of the Werewolf have you stumbling across some gypsies gathering near a bonfire, with a beautiful gypsy woman dancing barefoot around the flames while other gypsies cheer around her. You can befriend the gypsies by joining the dance, and you'll gain a vision regarding your quest while looking into the flames and possibly a gift from the gypsies.
- When the school runs a festival in How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend, they light a campfire in the evening. Everyone starts celebrating, and the girls and boys dance together. Tomoya tries to escape when he sees he's surrounded by couples everywhere.
- The Moomins: In Moominland Midwinter, the invisible shrews dance around a midwinter bonfire in a ritual to bring back the sun, until the Groke sits on it.
- Outburst Dreamer Boys has an arc where the school holds its cultural festival. At the end of the festival, a folk dance takes place, and the school gets into boy-girl pairs to dance together around the bonfire. The Drama Club join in to celebrate the club winning the festival's popularity poll and thus not having to close the club.
- In Toradora!, the pageant contest in the school festival ends with Taiga winning and a race is held for the boys' Mr. Lucky Man who'll get to dance with her. Kitamura asks Taiga for a dance around the bonfire even though he didn't participate in the race, and teaches Taiga how to do the dance. Then the entire student body dances the night away.
- Happens twice in Anne with an E in season 3:
- Episode 5: Anne and her friends agree to meet up at night to do their own little Beltane celebration. They light a bonfire and perform a ritual, declaring that women are powerful, their bodies belong to them only, and that they'll choose whom to love and show the door to any man belittling them one by one, with the last part said in unison. They then proceed to dance and scream in extreme joy. When Ruby gets emotional like always, she confesses that she loves being a woman.
- Episode 8: Anne's classmates celebrate and play around at the Ruins after they finish their exams. When Gilbert comes to the Ruins, he sees Anne and is left speechless by her beauty as he watches her dance next to the campfire in slow motion.
- Musician Loreena McKennitt sings about a similar event in "All Souls Night":
Bonfires dot the rolling hillsides
Figures dance around and around
To drums that pulse out echoes of darkness
Moving to the pagan sound
Somewhere in a hidden memory
Images float before my eyes
Of fragrant nights of straw and bonfires
And dancing till the next sunrise
I can see lights in the distance
Trembling in the dark cloak of night
Candles and lanterns are dancing, dancing
A waltz on All Souls Night
- In (G)I-DLE's music video for "Dumdi Dumdi", the members perform the outro of the song around a bonfire in a desert since the MV has an exotic theme and elements (Yuqi as a cowgirl, Minnie doing Yoga with Indian background music, etc.).
- "East Coker" by T. S. Eliot describes this:
On a summer midnight, you can hear the music
Of the weak pipe and the little drum
And see them dancing around the bonfire
The association of man and woman
In daunsinge, signifying matrimonie?
A dignified and commodiois sacrament.
- Cult of the Lamb: The Bonfire Ritual is available by default at the start of the game, and involves the Lamb setting alight a wooden pyre with Psychic Powers, while their followers dance and chant. Completing it provides a large boost to Faith.
- In Far Cry 6, the Montero Family celebrates like this after successfully liberating their region of Yara from Jose Castillo, with Dani, Clara, and Camila sharing drinks atop a tower, whilst Philly dances round the fire in his pants. Later on in the game, Clara phones Anton Castillo himself, and manages to tick him off after he asks whether she plans to celebrate overthrowing him like this, in a way that perfectly fits his cynical character.
Anton Castillo: I have a question for you, Ms. Garcia. When I am dead, and Yara is burning, what are your plans then? Hold hands and sing songs round the fire?
- In Final Fantasy XIV, the Heavensward Allied Tribe quests end with the Warrior of Light, Vath Deftarm, Master Mogzin, and Linu Vali dancing the new Moonlift Dance around a campfire at Ok' Gundu Nakki. The dance is a hybrid of the Moogle's and Vanu Vanu's cultural dances and serves as a testament to the new friendship between the Vath, the Mogmenders, and the Gundu tribe.
- In The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel I, the school festival ends with a bonfire dance that, since it happens right before one of Crossbell's Aions destroys Garrelia Fortress, serves as the final bonding event.
- The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time ends with all the NPCs dancing around a bonfire after the defeat of Ganon.
- The Simpsons: In "So It's Come to This: A Simpsons Clip Show", Lisa (and then Homer) explain the origin of April Fool's day as a pagan holiday. In the following shot, a tribal version of the Simpsons first dances around an idol on fire and then (after being pranked by a pioneer version of the Flanders) around their sacrificial victims.