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Dance Battler

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"They're breakdance-fighting!"
Mugatu, Zoolander

So, you've found yourself in an altercation. You're facing down your opponent. Suddenly, they start moving about in subtle dancing motions as they wait for you to come at them. You assume them to be styling on you and you start swinging at them with your most precise hits, but none of them connect while your opponent continues to sway gracefully. You step back for a moment to predict where they're going to go next and what they're going to do. You aim straight for them as they start spinning and then BAM!!

Your opponent takes a bow before departing, but you don't get to see it because you're face down on the floor. You been hit by... you been hit by, a dance battler!

While this might seem strange, it really isn't all that far-fetched. Being a good dancer requires flexibility, coordination, balance, reflexes, and sometimes strength and speed, all things that go a long way in a fight as well. Plus, it just looks cool.


There are several ways to go about this:

  1. The character is a practitioner of the martial art known as Capoeira or something related/similar, which combines elaborate defensive movements with well-timed attacks. This is the route usually gone down by a Fighting Game character, e.g. Elena, Bob Wilson, Eddie and Christie, etc.
  2. The character is a superbly-skilled dancer and just happens to know how to fight as well, fusing the two, e.g. Duck King, Dee Jay, etc.
  3. The character either practices Drunken Boxing or is just really drunk.
  4. The character is just plain nuts.

Dance Battlers are often unarmed. Adding a weapon will make them even more deadly because these kinds of fighters tend to favor knives or small arms that can be twirled with gymnastic flair. If they can Spin to Deflect Stuff, all the better. Either way, a Dance Battler is an annoying opponent, since it's hard to tell what's an attack and what's just a fancy step.


A telltale sign you're fighting someone like this in a Fighting Game is that they're always sweeping one foot and then the other behind themselves.

A reasonable skill to teach someone in the Wax On, Wax Off method. Gives a whole new meaning to "Dance Sensation". If the dancer is popular and/or given special treatment for their talents, they're Dancing Royalty. If female, the Dance Battler is likely to be a Lady of War because of their graceful movements in battle. If the Dance Battler can Summon Backup Dancers, be very worried. This trope often goes hand-in-hand with Confusion Fu.

Sub-Trope of Art Attacker and Dainty Combat.

Compare She-Fu, which can be combined with the Dance Battler style. Compare & contrast Musical Assassin, Magic Dance, and Graceful in Their Element. See also Let's Dance, which is usually not meant literally, but can be.

Not to be confused with Dance-Off, when people duel just by dancing without any combat.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple:
    • Seigfried essentially uses a more defensively orientated version of this. He encourages his opponents to get in close and attack him, then secretly uses dancing-like skills to dodge their blow and fling himself around to fake being hit. This lets him wear down and psyche out his opponents, who come to believe he's incapable of feeling pain.
    • Miu has a bit of this in her personal fighting style, with it focusing more on grace, acrobatic movements, and gymnastics.
  • Yukari Mishakuji of K does quite a bit of this, with a lot of twirling and posing.
    • Misaki Yata also uses quite a bit of breakdance-like moves. In the movie, for instance, when he does a shoulder spin to get back up on his skateboard, for no reason other than that it looks cool.
  • Mugen from Samurai Champloo is untrained in any sort of fighting style, but possess enough raw power and ax-craziness to do whatever feels right to him and still come out on top. His geta sandals have metal plates on the soles, so he can block swords with them. The producers call it the "champuru kendo" fighting style. Frequently assumed to have been influenced by break-dancing or capoeira or both.
  • Spike in Cowboy Bebop is sometimes seen doing this. Jeet Kune Do was developed by Bruce Lee (also an accomplished dancer) as a deliberately showy style, so it fits the trope. Impressive on film, at least as difficult to achieve in animation.
  • Ranga, the Idol Singer Ringo's Angel in Angelic Layer, was built to resemble a belly dancer and incorporates dancing into her attacks.
  • L of Death Note, inspired by the more talented Naomi Misora. Both are Capoeira practitioners.
  • The manga Double Arts features the main leads Kiri and Elraine developing a dance-based fighting style, from which the name of the series is taken.
  • A couple characters in One Piece fight this way, a prominent example being Sanji, who fights entirely with his legs and whose style is based partly on Savate (martial arts developed by French sailors). And then there's Mr. 2 Bon Kurei, who practices Okama Kenpo (basically, weaponized ballet), and Boa Hancock, the Empress of the Amazon Lily island who fights with spinning kicks.
  • Fakir, Kraehe and Mytho in Princess Tutu, all ballet dancers, fight much in the same manner as they dance.
  • The 2003 Fullmetal Alchemist anime version of Envy is a dance battler, incorporating capoeira-like moves and lots of leaps into his fighting style. This is in comparison to his manga incarnation, who is more of The Brute.
  • Magical Circle Guru-Guru's Old Man North-North could be this... well... he at least dances when battles take place, anyway. Though he later learns all that dancing has made him strong enough to fight monsters.
  • Rin Ogata from the RideBack series, who uses her ballet training to make the Fuego mech dodge and evade swarms of combat automatons.
  • Bob Makihara in Tenjho Tenge both practices Capoeira and is able to use the mystical power of rhythm to predict attacks. The series quasi-Big Bad tries to justify the trope, pointing out that much of modern military terminology grew out of dancing, that almost every culture with martial arts had them grow out of an earlier dancing tradition, and that dancers typically make excellent martial artists.
  • In GUN×SWORD, Fasalina pilots her Dahlia of Wednesday by... erm... pole dancing
  • Shirakawa in Odd Taxi uses capoeira (the dance/martial art mentioned in the main text) to good effect.
  • In Rurouni Kenshin, Aoshi's fighting style involves an elaborate form of kenbu, which is at its core essentially sword dancing. It doesn't look at all like dancing, though.
  • Variable Geo: Ayako Yuuki works the dance floor at the SoTO Techno Rave Club, so she incorporates elements of her dance routine into her fighting style; making her a literal example of the trope. She even wears her showgirl uniform (which includes a feather-lined fan) during her matches.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: Shinji and Asuka develop a perfectly sychronised dance/fight number in order to defeat twin Angels, which they perform in their Humongous Mechas.
  • When it's Anko's turn to fight in the Bokurano manga, she uses her dancing experience to make Zearth move gracefully and swiftly so she can catch up with the enemy.
  • Pokémon:
    • Ash develops the "Counter Shield" technique, which basically amounts to any Pokemon called to do it breakdancing while using a special attack, which creates a spinning vortex of the said attack, which keeps an opponent's attack from making contact.
    • Rudy, from the Orange Islands, makes his Pokémon dance as an exercise. He even has a Starmie who is "proficient in modern dancing" to help it dodge attacks and even has enough spinning power to generate an Electric attack despite being a Water type.
    • An episode is about a girl whose Bellossom fought and dodged this way.
    • In XY, Serena's Pancham includes his performance skills when he is battling.
    • This is Tierno's main battle strategy in the XY and XYZ anime. Tierno's a dancer, who taught his pokemon dance moves in order to easily evade attacks from other pokemon, while striking back with (often accurate) moves of his own. His team also consist of pokemon known for their dance moves, such as Hitmontop and Ludicolo, as well as his (break)dancing Squirtle / Wartortle / Blastoise and Raichu.
    • Subverted in one episode when Ash's Bulbasaur whoops a girl's Hitmontop because she concentrated too much on dancing and not on actually fighting.
  • Takuto from Star Driver incorporates pirouettes and corkscrew flips in his fighting style. You know, the one he uses while piloting a giant robot.
  • T.K. from Angel Beats! performs this break-dance style ...while sliding down the ledges of stairs!
  • Naruto:
    • The anime and games portray Killer Bee's fighting style laced to the core with hip-hop arm gestures that causes it to resemble capoiera crossed with muay Thai, while armed with 8 swords and Tailed Beast power. This goes hand-in-hand with him being in a perpetual "rap" state of mind. The fact that he raps while fighting causes his opponents to think he's completely bonkers. They may be right.
    • Madara Uchiha is an infamous Blood Knight who refers to ninja fights as "dance". This page might be the perfect example of it.
  • Makie from Blade of the Immortal is the deadliest and most graceful fighter, fast enough to end each slaughter without a single drop of blood on her clothes.
  • Fabiola from Black Lagoon does Capoeira moves to dodge bullets while dual wielding shotguns.
  • The Para Para Brothers from Dragon Ball GT combine this with Magic Music. Their dancing and music can hypnotize their opponents into dancing as well, leaving them unable to defend themselves from attack.
  • Madlax is a Gun Fu Dance Battler - who frequently battles with her eyes shut.
  • Fairy Tail:
    • Vijeeter Ecor's magic is applied through dancing and empowers allies and hinders enemies in a surrounding 10 m radius.
    • Invoked in the fight between Gray and Cancer's Eclipse form, though the latter did need to provide Gray with enchanted shoes and to forcibly remove his sense of shame in order to get him to dance at all. The first part of the fight was a regular dance-off and was followed up with greater emphasis on the 'battle' side. Gray freezes the floor at one point to make it an ice-dancing bout.
  • Mami from Puella Magi Madoka Magica, when she fights Charlotte, she shoots, swirls and bashes with her rifles. And her strings swirl about prettily too. It doesn't end well for her.
  • Maria Kumokawa from A Certain Magical Index tends to fight using Capoeira, breakdancing, and pole dancing moves.
  • Asuka of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX uses a deck whose cards follow a clear Dance Battler theme.
  • Takafumi Adachi's Ballet Hero Fantasy features real-life Royal Ballet principal Steven McRae entering a universe in which all the ballet moves are weaponized.
  • In Macross Delta, Hayate Immelman is recruited into the Delta Squadron specifically because he can invoke this trope while piloting a Humongous Mecha.
  • Magane Chikujōin from Re:CREATORS moves like this in battle. She's only actually just been dodging, but (with her power, which is potent but hard to use in the middle of a fight) manages to outmaneuver and defeat Yuuya Mirokuji without taking or throwing a single hit.
  • Pretty Cure: A few Cures incorporate ballet elements into their fighting style, including Cure White, Cure Mermaid, and Cure Étoile.
  • In Nurse Angel Ririka SOS, the heroine transforms into a ballerina-nurse who wields a baton. Fight scenes are pretty much non-stop spinning.
  • Black Clover: Using her Valkyrie Armor gives Noelle perfect grasp of the mana surrounding her armor, letting her move through mana currents like a graceful dance to dodge enemy attacks.
    • Butoh of the undersea temple uses dance magic, turning his graceful movements into deadly spells. Asta also has a hard time keeping up with his movement because they are so unusual.

    Comic Books 
  • Vibe, a member of the Justice League of America during its Detroit phase, used breakdancing moves as part of his fighting style.
  • Sticking with The DCU, Bolshoi of The People's Heroes used ballet as the basis for his martial art. He later adds to this with actual prowess in the martial arts. He still gets bits chopped off him. Thank goodness for modern reattachment surgery.
  • Heck, even Intrepid Reporter Lois Lane once used dance battling while impersonating a ballet dancer.
  • Dagger (of Cloak and Dagger fame) has a fighting style that heavily incorporates her ballerina training.
  • Deadpool has managed to beat the Taskmaster by virtue of being type four -just plain nuts. Since his brain is constantly shifting due to cancer and superhealing, he never does any form of combat the same way twice, and will often use whatever form randomly pops in his head, including dance battling.
  • Marco from The Question Quarterly.
  • Capoeira is among the many fighting styles Batman has mastered.
    • Orpheus' fighting style is a combination of his background in dance with his martial arts training.
    • Nightwing mixes dancing into his fights on occasions, like when he was fighting a group of musicians and incorporated break-dancing into their take-down.
  • An Archie comic had him and Reggie driven to laughing fits over Veronica's "sissy" male ballet dancer friend - until he singlehandedly subdues a gang of tough guys with his moves.
  • Dionysus (the dancefloor that walks like a man) of The Wicked + The Divine weaponizes his Hive Mind ravers to storm Valhalla, all of them lit with an inner glow from his magic and unable to be hurt as long as he protected them. He also had glowstick nunchaku.
  • In Dennis the Menace (US) Dennis went to ballet school and learned a lot of keen new fightin' tricks he never knew before.
  • Ren Kimura from the Fearless Defenders uses her dance skills in conjunction with her ability to create razor-sharp ribbons from her hands.
  • When the Runaways have an adventure in 1910s New York, one of the heroes they meet is Lillie "The Spieler" McGurty, who can fly to the rhythm of music. One of her first scenes has her fighting a gang of strikebreakers and she literally dances on their heads.
  • Xiong Mao, from the French comic Freaks' Squeele, uses a martial arts style called Flamendo. It is described as "a martial arts style with all the trappings of dance".
  • Subverted in an issue of Jon Sable, Freelance. John and a male ballet dancer friend are confronted by a gang, and Jon is bracing himself for a fight when his friend spots the boombox one of them is carrying and puts on a show combining ballet and breakdancing moves. The gang is so impressed they let them pass.
  • Abominus from Transformers: Shattered Glass is a Cultured Badass whose fighting style is based on interpretive dance.
  • Wonder Woman Vol 1: Priscilla Rich, the first Cheetah, was a skilled dancer, and this translated into remarkable agility in combat.

    Fan Works 
  • In Chapter 32 of BlazBlue Alternative: Remnant, Rachel easily dances around Ragna's every attack, treating the whole thing like a performance instead of a serious fight. Ragna even notes that she moves around his attacks "like a dancer on a stage".
  • There is a Buffy the Vampire Slayer fanfic (set post-Season 7) called Two Slayers-- One Heart (Version 3.0) that features a dancer-turned-slayer who later adds capoeira to her repertoire.
  • Child of the Storm:
    • In the first book, Betsy and Fandral, having had a one-night stand previously, share a telepathically coordinated English folk-dance through a battlefield, to lethal effect.
    • In the sequel, Harry, already noted for his grace and reflexes, becomes an accomplished classical and Latin dancer (as he smugly explains, Asgardian muscle memory is good for more than just fighting). He incorporates this into his fighting style, with the narration frequently describing him as "dancing" in a fight, whether it's between chaos blasts or lightning bolts. And, appropriately, his sword is modelled on a shashka, the Russian Cossack sabre, famous for its use in sword-dancing.
  • All of the Cures in Rhythmic Pretty Cure. Given the stylistic origins of rhythmic gymnastics, this is pretty much a given.
  • In contrast to Zack from Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, Alex in Power Rangers: Oceania only combines a dance into a fight when she needs a power boost. It doesn't happen too often because she's a hula instructor.
  • In the Steven Universe fic Death in Every Dance, Rose abruptly throws a spear at a dancing courtesan...who not only catches it but smoothly incorporates the motion into her dance. This makes Rose consider the courtesan as a potential recruit.
    Rose: She would make the finest soldier on the battlefield.
  • Kite Maxwell from Tales of Faith falls under this. Everyone who sees him fight comments that it has a lot of 'dancing', much to Kite's chagrin.
  • In Raindancer, both Izuku and Mina take up Capoeira while training for the U.A. Entrance Exam due to their mutual interest in dance. Izuku uses it to devastating effect while battling Villains on a school field trip to a museum, easily phasing through attacks with his Elemental Shapeshifter Quirk before sweeping out his enemies' legs from beneath them and delivering crushing kicks in a whir of motion.
  • The Discworld of A.A. Pessimal sees a Witch crash-landing a stricken broomstick right in the middle of a party of Elves. This Witch comes from the Rodinia. And she has learnt about how the Lancre Morris Men dealt with Elves, and reasons that humans can use a glamour all of their own to fight back. Drawing her Cossack sabre, she then dances a shashka at them, marvelling that the fascinated elves are drawing ever closer to a "Russian" woman who is sword-dancing for them.note  The Elves are watching the flashing, swirling, sword and the intricate dance steps. For some of them it becomes the last thing they will ever see.
  • Seventh Endmost Vision has an unusual example of this in Sephiroth. Rather than a more known or common style of this, he uses his Sinister Scythe along with some fancy footwork to do a traditional agrarian harvest dance in battle, which involves a lot of spinning and leaping. Sephiroth uses it to dodge and weave around his opponents, with skill enough that Tifa thinks he'd have made a good candidate for SOLDIER. Notable because Sephiroth is entirely self-taught.
  • Irain from This Bites!, as influenced by her Chord-Chord Fruit powers, fights with two daggers to set rhythms. She can change the rhythm and thus the dance, but her attacks follow a pattern of offense and defense. What makes her especially dangerous is that she forces others to become dance battlers as well, making her opponent follow her set rhythm and thus predictable.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Sequel-Prequel to Shrek, Puss in Boots, Puss has a literal Dance Battle with the masked Kitty Softpaws, dancing vertically up the walls, against each other's boots, and incorporating some fencing. It's awesome and hilarious, and worth watching the entire movie just for that scene. (They perform a similar dance (without the battle) at the end of the movie, which is equally awesome.)
  • Kung Fu Panda 3: Po trains ribbon dancer Mei Mei to incorporate nunchakus in her dancing, turning her into this trope.
    • An idea he probably got from Viper. Secrets of the Furious Five shows that before Viper became a kung fu warrior she was the best ribbon dancer in the village, because she was born without fangs and no-one thought she could fight. She proves otherwise when she uses her ribbon dancing skills to take down a gorilla bandit that had defeated her father by wearing poison-proof armor that broke his fangs.
      Viper: My deceptive dancing defies your poison proof armor!
  • During the climax of Robots, Fender loses his shield and weapon, prompting him to start dancing (to "...Baby, One More Time" by Britney Spears of all things), which somehow prompts Madame Gasket's surrounding enemies to dance as well, allowing him to easily knock all of them out. Yes, it's as ridonculous as it sounds.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • River Tam in Serenity. Her Waif-Fu fighting style was created with the aim of appearing dance-like, as both the character and her actress Summer Glau are dancers.
  • The third movie of Descendants shows Audrey bring suits of knight armor to life to attack the VK's. How do they win? By Mal compelling them to dance until they fall.
    Suit of armor, strong and true,
    Make this metal bust a move!
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Chris Evans as Captain America; his mother is a theater director and taught him dance early on. The fight choreographers used this to help him with his moves. It's also why he does most of his own stunts — his dance training makes him move differently than others, so it's difficult to replicate how he does it.
    • In combat, Loki's movements are always fluid and dance-like, and they're deliberately filmed to appear beautiful. In Thor, he uses Gungnir as a pole to propel his body around in order to increase his momentum for a kick in the face. In Thor: Ragnarok's Final Battle, Loki employs acrobatics to avoid being struck by a sword. Tom Hiddleston elaborates on his character's supple physicality in this interview:
      Hiddleston: Ken[neth Branagh] asked for me to be very lean and very strong at the same time. And he wanted me to develop a fighting style that would be much closer to (...) the Brazilian martial art of capoeira. If Thor was a big rock then Loki was like the wind. And he would just dance around this sturdy block of granite that was Thor. And so I developed a kind of fighting style that was much more balletic.
    • Cate Blanchett trained in the Brazilian martial art of capoeira for Hela's fight scenes in Thor: Ragnarok.
    • Capoeira is also one of the martial arts used by the titular Black Panther. Due to the fact that Capoeira is of an African origin.
    • In-universe, Avengers: Age of Ultron shows part of Natasha Romanoff's time growing up in the Red Room involved ballet training.
  • Tony Jaa fights a JKD stylist at one point in Ong-Bak. And he fights a capoeirista (minus the afro) played by Lateef Crowder from his other film Tom-Yum-Goong.
  • The 1993 movie Only the Strong was perhaps the introduction of many action fans to the art of Capoeira and starred Marc Dacascos as a Green Beret who has to clean up his hometown using the aforementioned art, eventually fighting a Big Bad who uses the same style.
  • At the climax of the movie Zoolander, Hansel (He's so hot right now!) and an enemy goon partake in "Breakdance Fighting", which for the most part just involved doing little dance moves while punching or kicking people in between.
  • Michael Jackson dance fights his way through several gangsters in the "Smooth Criminal" sequence of Moonwalker, and again in the video to "You Rock My World".
  • Ed the Ted and his gang in Absolute Beginners. Arguably justified in that it's a musical.
  • In Mr. & Mrs. Smith, John and Jane engage in a gunfight, battling their enemies together to the tune of the Assassin's Tango.
  • In the film Designing Woman, Randy Owens (played by legendary Jazz choreographer Jack Cole), beats the hell out of some Mooks, by gracefully dance-battling.
  • Never Back Down is a fight movie. In one scene, we have a dreadlocked Dance Battle guy and his uninteresting looking opponent. After half a minute of showboating, however, he manages to frontflip himself right into a thunderous single punch, which lays him right out.
  • The "Ninjitsu" practiced by the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in the films borrows from several martial arts (including Capoeira), but also heavily from modern breakdancing (which allows them to make full use of their heavy shells). Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze even has a scene of the turtles using dance skills to fight off the Foot while Vanilla Ice does his "Ninja Rap".
  • The Thai film Raging Phoenix features several scenes with both b-boy and traditional Thai dance-based fighting styles.
  • In the American International Pictures "Beach Party" movies, dancer Candy Johnson sends adversaries hurtling with a toss of her hip.
  • Mei from House of Flying Daggers. Her actress Zhang Ziyi is not trained in martial arts but is a trained dancer so the filmmakers incorporated dance into all of Mei's action scenes.
  • A variation occurs in The Mighty Ducks. Tammy Duncan (and, to a lesser extent, her brother Tommy) trained in figure skating before being tapped to join the hockey team, and she routinely incorporates figure skating choreography into her hockey play, even using it to score a big goal in a crucial game. They are both replaced by Olympic level skater Ken Wu in the sequels.
  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit - Eddie Valiant uses his old vaudeville background, subduing the Weasel gang with a vigorous song-and-dance number. Though he's not physically fighting them, the technique is extremely effective; he's hilarious, and excessive laughter is literally lethal to the Weasels.
  • Tap-dancing Killer #2 pulls this off nicely in Bunraku, at one point fighting with his back towards the enemy. His movements were based on Fred Astaire.
  • DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story had a dodgeball team called "Skillz That Killz" who would dodge the balls with their breakdancing. They lost because as the announcer pointed out, they concentrated too much on dancing and not on actually playing.
  • John Wick during the Red Circle shootout, thanks to a combination of Gun Fu and the Wrestler in All of Us set to a nightclub beat.
  • Kingsman: The Secret Service: Gazelle's fighting style is extremely graceful and lethal, focusing on her bladed leg prosthetics. She even uses classic breakdancing techniques in the climax. Appropriately, she is played by Sofia Boutella, a professional dancer.
  • Ghost in the Shell (2017). Major is zapped with a Static Stun Gun, then handcuffed to a stripper pole by yakuza thugs and told to dance for them. Being a battle cyborg Major replies, "I wasn't built to dance" and proceeds to kick their asses. As she's still handcuffed to the pole, it looks a lot like a pole-dancing routine.
  • Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle: Ruby Roundhouse has this as her specialty, and uses it to great effect twice in the movie.
  • Shaft (2019). JJ, while drunk in a nightclub, ends up subduing a man with Capoeira. Shaft II says he was this far from a So Proud of You moment before being told his son was using something called "dance battling".
  • In Stripped to Kill, Eric/Roxanne uses pole dancing moves to devestating effect against Cody during the fight in the strip club.

  • In Mary Renault's 1972 novel The Persian Boy, the title character, Bagoas, kills an assailant with a particular move we've seen before - in his dance rehearsals. (As a eunuch, he had been given no combat training, and his belt-dagger was supposed to be ornamental.)
  • Steven Barnes's Aubrey Knight books Streetlethal, Gorgon Child, and Firedance feature martial artists whose practice improves by learning dance, martial arts disguised as dance and a dance tradition which includes martial arts unbeknown to its practitioners.
  • Most of the viewpoint characters in Steve Perry's Matador science fiction series practice a dance/martial art known as sumito.
  • Discworld:
    • The 'Stick and Bucket' dance, as performed by the Lancre morris men — we never get to see what it does, but any dance that has a step called 'KILL!' and can be reliably used to fend off The Fair Folk must have something going for it.
    • It was mentioned in passing Moist von Lipwig's main squeeze, Adora Belle Dearheart, was trained as a ballerina when she was younger and can therefore kick like a mule, presumably quite high. Combined with stiletto heels pointy enough to pierce skin without much effort...
  • P.C. Hodgell's Chronicles of the Kencyrath books feature a matched set of dance and combat moves that are very closely related, to the point that one training game is to switch back and forth between dancing and sparring.
  • In N. R. Eccles-Smith's High Fantasy series, DragonCalling the character, Shifra, fights using the Kutokii style—a secret martial art known only to the morwulves that involves wielding one’s own manna to extend and enhance physical attacks. The style often makes the fighter look like they are dancing.
    • The wind/ darkness wielding mage, Yarad, moves with expert fluentness when fighting, which also gives the impression of dancing (albeit in a more frightening and savage manner).
  • In William Gibson's short story "Johnny Mnemonic," the Lo Teks have a fighting floor that is wired to shift and produce musical beats based on your footing, with the intention of turning brawls into a sort of dance. Molly Millions fights a Yakuza assassin on the floor, and its strange characteristics give her an advantage.
  • Whilst not as elaborate as some examples listed here, the combat system used by Witchers is often described as using pirouettes, spins, and flowing movements. The highly agile style is declared to because when you're dealing with a 50 ton monster from the darkest depths, conventional blocking just doesn't work.
  • Malazan Book of the Fallen:
    • There exists a cult that worships the Gods of Shadow. As part of their worship, the adherents learn something known as "The Shadow Dance". Lostara Yil, a former member of the Cult of Shadow, thinks that the Shadow Dance is merely just some ritual until she discovers that it's very effective at killing dozens of people without much problem.
    • Apsalar discovers that she is able to employ the Shadow Dance as well in The Bonehunters, where she plows through hundreds of Claw assassins in one go. In her case, the ability comes from having been possessed by the Patron God of Assassins, who is the right-hand man of the King of the Shadow Realm.
  • In the Liaden Universe, the menfri'at, taught in some places as strictly dance, is both a dance and a self-defense discipline for pilots.
  • The Wheel of Time: Whenever someone witnesses a Blademaster in action his or her movements will be described as dance-like; if the opponent is also a Blademaster, the battle will be described as looking more like a dance than a fight.
  • In Regina Doman's novel Alex O'Donnell and the Forty Cyberthieves, the heroine performs a traditional Vietnamese fan dance, using fans with hidden blades.
  • The Dresden Files:
    • Thomas Raith pulls this off in Changes in the final battle, breakdancing to Molly's One Woman Rave spell with a khukri in one hand and a Desert Eagle in the other, taking out Red Court vampires by the dozen. It is exactly as awesome as it sounds.
    • It's implied that he does a more subtle version during earlier battles against tough foes. At least twice, Dresden has heard him humming "Froggy Goes A-Courtin'" under his breath right before a big battle, implying that he's using it to time his movements.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, Arya Stark is trained by Syrio Forel to be a "water dancer", a Fragile Speedster kind of warrior. Syrio himself demonstrates the fact that he's a Master Swordsman in the first book by holding off half a dozen armed and armored guards...with a wooden practice sword. Surprisingly Realistic Outcome occurs quickly, though, as they stop coming at him one by one and opt for a Zerg Rush.
  • In Seanan McGuire's Discount Armageddon, main character Verity Price is a ballroom dancer/martial artist, and she lets the dancing bleed into the martial arts because of how much the two have in common.
  • Scarlet of The Ultra Violets, with thanks to her dancing superpowers. She gets marginally more dangerous once her super-strength kicks in.
  • In Mercedes Lackey's Reserved for the Cat, the heroine, a trained ballerina, is being given some lessons in basic self-defense. Her strength and flexibility make her better than her teachers think she'd be, and in addition, she is able to all on her own develop a self-defense application to at least one of her dance moves. She points out that it's just as useful as a gun because "broken neck from getting kicked in the face" is easier to explain away than "multiple bullet wounds".
  • Talise Lightwind Murphy of The Children of Man uses a unique combat style based on the use of offensive yellow magic (yellow is the magic of art and performance, and normally focuses on illusions).
  • One of the minor Smedries in Alcatraz Series has the Talent of being a really bad dancer, which causes him to turn into this whenever he hears music.
  • In Two Percent Power, Beat Boxer can, when listening to music, use it to move flawlessly through combat. As a consequence of the source of her fighting power, she looks like she's dancing through the combat.
  • Mind Games: Danielle, whose Class is "Shadow Dancer", and looks like she's always dancing due to her inhuman Dexterity. Somewhat negated by the fact that when she's mad she tends to be less the Ninja kind of Cat Girl and more the "It's like I fell into an angry blender" kind.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Altered Carbon. A married couple of zero-G gladiators fight to the death (they are then re-sleeved in replacement bodies) for the entertainment of their mega-rich audience. The fight starts off this way and even has accompanying music, but quickly devolves into a brutal No-Holds-Barred Beatdown.
  • Whenever famous contender Wesley "Two Scoops" Berry won an event on the original American Gladiators, he would frequently start breakdancing (as a sort of victory dance). The man had moves. He even did it during the first International Gladiators event.
  • Angel
    • In "Five by Five", Faith beats up a whole discotheque while dancing.
    • Los Hermanos Números, a once famous Sibling Team of luchadores, used synchronised wrestling to defeat demons.
  • Arrow:
    • Roy Harper is a practitioner of this. When he becomes his alter ego Arsenal, however, he fights like a dancing monkey.
    • Sara Lance as the Canary. Fitting, as her actress practices Tricking, a training discipline that combines martial arts kicks with flips and twists from gymnastics as well as many dance moves and styles from breakdancing, and it shows in some of her fight scenes.
  • In the Batman (1966) series, Batgirl was played by Yvonne Craig, a trained ballerina. In contrast to Batman and Robin's usual rough-and-tumble fighting, Batgirl's fighting style was elegant, full of high kicks and spins, and even ballet-style lifts by Robin or Batman to set up attacks.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer in the Musical Episode "Once More With Feeling". Also worth noting is Dawn's attempt to escape from the Puppet Minions, which is presented in the form of a ballet dance.
  • Xander Stone of Topanga Karate shows this style at the All-Valley Tournament on Cobra Kai, using a lot of fancy flips in his fights. When Piper Elswith joins Cobra Kai in Season 4, she also proves to be a Dance Battler, incorporating her gymnastics training into her fighting style.
    Tory: You just gonna dance around, or are you going to throw something?
    Piper: Why not both?
  • Community: Jeff locks horns with an overbearing tough guy and they schedule a fight; Britta sees it all as classic repressed-gay behavior. When the tough guy's gang breaks into music-video style fighting choreography, she's even more convinced.
    Mike: Shirts off, boys!
    Britta: I'm being Punk'd, right?
  • Cowboy Bebop (2021). In "Darkside Tango", Faye Valentine demonstrates (holding Welsh corgi Ein) how she surreptitiously disarmed and knocked out a notorious bounty while dancing the tango with him. Even Spike Spiegel is moved to applaud.
  • Doctor Who. In "Spyfall", the Doctor's companions have been issued various gadgets by MI6, including a pair of Tricked-Out Shoes that shoot lasers. Graham, who is wearing the shoes, activates them by stomping up and down, so when an army of aliens are surrounding them the other companions just tell him to start dancing which he does, shooting beams in all directions.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • The show gives us Oberyn Martell, who's going into some impressive acrobatics during his fight against the Mountain. He learnt his skills in Gladiator Games where putting on a show is as important as killing. Doesn't help him much in the fight though.
    • As in the book, Aria learns the "water dancing" fencing style. It's been frequently shown to be superior to standard Westerosi fighting styles (with young Arya easily defeating grown men who are professional soldiers)... unless your opponent has heavy armor, in which case it's all but useless.
    • As a eunuch, Grey Worm is athletic but not particularly large, so he fights in a very light and graceful least when he's not using Shield Bash.
  • In the Girls x Heroine! series of Toku shows, which have a music motif, the characters incorporate elaborate dance routines into their finishing moves.
  • Kamen Rider:
    • Ryutaros (Gun Form) in Kamen Rider Den-O combines this with A-Team Firing and Gangsta Style, which together are less than the sum of their parts. His aim is, to put it lightly, horrible.
    • Kamen Rider Fourze's JK is shown to be a good breakdancer in the opening, and finally busts out his moves when attempting to dodge an attack from Pegasus Zodiarts and defeating three Zodiarts when he's forced to use the Power Dizer.
    • Averted in Kamen Rider Ex-Aid in the case of Hiro Kagami / Kamen Rider Brave. His "Level 3" form incorporates a dancing video game, but he doesn't dance. Rather, he maintains rhythm to maximize his fighting capabilities due to his proficiency in performing CPR, which can result in broken ribs in the real world.
  • Legends of Tomorrow. In "Speakeasy Does It", Sara Lance and Ava Sharpe are working as dancers in a Prohibition-era speakeasy, and take down and tie up a goon during their performance while making it look like All Part of the Show.
  • Star Wars: A curious example from The Mandalorian with Boba Fett. While his fighting style doesn't clearly show dancing, in reality it is based off the Haka, the cultural form of dance for the Māori people, reflected in Fett's deliberate and strong movements.
  • The "Hollywood Swinging" two-parter of Martin had Martin end up in a couple of street fights with Michael Jackson, who used his dance moves in effectively curb-stomping the former.
  • Noob Saibot from Mortal Kombat: Conquest battles this way, or more appropriately uses Capoeira as his fighting style.
  • Purdey, heroine of the short-lived The New Avengers series in the seventies and played by Joanna Lumley, was a former ballerina who practiced a very balletic fighting form, complete with pirouettes and high kicks.
  • Power Rangers:
    • Zack Taylor, the first Black Ranger in Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, catered to this with an original martial art called Hip Hop Kido.
    • When Catherine Sutherland ("Kat") started doing more of her own stunt work, she started incorporating some of her ballet training into it.
    • Power Rangers Jungle Fury had an episode revolving around the Rangers learning to Dance Battle to counter the Monster of the Week.
    • From Power Rangers RPM: Eka Darville, who plays Scott Truman (Ranger Operator Series Red), is a pretty good break dancer and incorporated a lot of Capoeira-like moves in his fights. It's averted in the case of Olivia Tennet, also an accomplished jazz, tap, and hip hop dancer, as her character (Dr. K) does not perform many physical stunts (except in "Doctor K" and "If Venjix Won").
  • A particularly cheesy example is the battles in Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, especially the "karaoke battle" to "C'est la Vie".
  • Stargate SG-1 has the Jaffa martial art Mastaba (seen most prominently in "The Warrior"), which is actually capoeira with the serial numbers filed off. The producers actually hired some professional capoeira instructors for the episode.
  • Star Trek: Picard: If Narek's action sequence from "Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2" hadn't been left on the cutting room floor, then he would be a practitioner of a dance-like and acrobatic Romulan martial arts that is reminiscent of capoeira, with more flashy kicks than Narissa's or Elnor's Fantastic Fighting Style.
  • Super Sentai:
    • In Battle Fever J it's taken to the extreme; all the members use different dance styles in their attacks - Battle France uses tapdancing, Battle Cossack does Cossack jig dancing, Battle Kenya does a strange breakdancing-tribal dance fusion, Battle Japan uses Chinese kung fu katas, and Miss America uses disco moves to fight. However, this is partially justified in that the agent who employed them regularly trains them in Martial Arts.
    • Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger has shades of this, but it's nowhere near Battle Fever J's usage.
  • Like Serenity above, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles makes great use of Summer Glau's ballet background. While Cameron, being a Terminator, does rely on strength, she's much smaller than most of the Terminators she fights and therefore needs to be agile as well. A good example is her fight with another female Terminator in an elevator.
  • Thumb Wrestling Federation has the sinistra, N Fuego. His dancing is so good that he can set the place on fire while doing it. He doesn't even need a flame source, he just sets fires by dancing.
  • Treadstone. In "The McKenna Erasure", Soyun battles her way past Colonel Shin's bodyguards in a South Korean nightclub, leading to a John Wick-style fight scene.
  • The Wheel of Time: Aiel warrior woman Tigraine has a fighting style some have described as ballet-like, using two spears as she swirls and flows around her opponents, with her being only slightly impeded by the fact that she's nine months pregnant plus in labor at the time (making it all the more impressive to watch).note 

  • The Megas portray Mega Man 2's Metal Man and Mega Man 3's Top Man as dance battlers, Top Man especially.
  • The 1974 hit Kung-Fu Fighting lyrics are all about how a Kung Fu master uses his moves to be a hit on the dance floor with the ladies.

  • JT utilizes his active dance skill to very good effect while fighting Mooney in episode 2 of the Cool Kids Table game Bloody Mooney.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Stacy Keibler was trained in jazz, tap and ballet dancing from a very young age, and on those occasions when she competed as a wrestler she tended to use a lot of cartwheels and pirouetting spin kicks.
  • Booker T uses breakdance moves as part of his arsenal, including his infamous spinaroonie (which started out as a variation on a kip-up).
  • While Ta'Darius Thomas's athletic background is in kickboxing and mixed martial arts, his favorite martial art is capoeira, which lends itself to lots of "dancing" in his matches. His Adrenaline Rush partner, ACH, just like to dance.
  • The Human Tornado weaponizes fraternal dance steps and 70s disco.
  • Ophidian and Amasis, The Osririan Portal, best known for their time in Chikara but also in others such as Kaiju Big Battel, aren't just the types to incorporate dancing into their strikes, wrist locks and reversals but they also can turn whole rosters into dance battlers through mass hypnosis.
  • SHIMMER academy graduate Rayna Von Tosh has the gimmick of a burlesque dancer and so frequently dances before doing moves such as shoulder tackles and elbow drops.
  • Naomi Knight is a former Orlando Magic Dancer and incorporates dance into much of her moves including split-legged leap frogs and jumping up to smash her ass in an opponent's face.
  • Fandango is a ballroom dancer who is also a professional wrestler. The fact that he can't seem to dance that well is irrelevant.
  • Xavier Woods is a practitioner of Hip Hop Kido.
  • Woods had the aforementioned Naomi Knight as part of his entourage and before that she part of the Funkasaraus Brodus Clay's, who was also an example of this trope, till her services were requested by R-Truth, who is also a dance battler. So WWE ended up giving us a little dance battling feud.
  • Los Salseros Japoneses from Toryumon and Michinoku Pro Wrestling with the gimmick of an evil trio of salsa dancers, and their leader Takeshi Minamino even used to do reversals while dancing.
  • Luscious Latasha is a Zumba addict, Gabby Gilbert seemingly has an 80s workout gimmick and they tend to really turn up the dancing when they team as Rainbow Bright.
  • Ricky Ruffin of the NWA's Western States division will step and stride his way into forearms, as in he will throw them without missing a step and even keep his dodges in rhythm if he can.

    Tabletop Games 
  • GURPS has an optional perk in Power Ups 2 that allows you to incorporate uses of dancing skills in melee combat to feint against adversaries.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • The Dervish Dancer Prestige Class has a vaguely Arabian Nights-flavor to it, including dual-wielding scimitars (and much more easily than a non-Dervish Dancer would, too).
    • The Battledancer Base Class from Dragon Compendium is, judging from the fluff, directly based off Capoeira. Gameplay-wise it handles like a Monk with some of the special abilities replaced by Bardic Music. This is an update from the equally obscure class from AD&D (notable for the eventual progression to nine attacks out of every two rounds, or double that if hasted, in an age where most others topped out at two attacks per round). The less adventurer-friendly abilities, mostly the ones that required a group of other dancers to perform, were justifiably removed in the transition.
    • The second edition Sourcebook The Complete Book of Elves introduced Bladesingers, elvish sword dancers who do quite well in combat. This was actually a wizard specialization rather than a pure fighter kit.
    • The classes from the Tome of Battle can learn from a school allowing them to use a number of special abilities based on their concentration checks. How does this relate to Battledancing? Well, there's a 1st-level Bard spell called undersong that changes concentration checks into perform checks. Used together, they allow characters to perform saves or deal damage based on your perform check. In short, you can be dodging attacks with dance and singing people to death.
    • The feat Snowflake Wardance from Frostburn and the item Slippers of Battle Dancing from Magic Item Compendium can both make Bards more effective if they dance in combat.
    • Eilistraee is the Drow goddess of swordplay and dance (among other things). Some rituals of worship and divine magic of her priesthood call to both of these aspects. (Some of her other rituals also involve Nude Nature Dance.)
    • Dwarven goddess of battle luck and joy of the fray Haela Brightaxe appears constantly dancing and juggling a two-handed sword. Frequently clad only in her long silver hair and beard, at that.
    • In 5th Edition, the Drunken Master archetype for Monks is written up as someone who uses dancing-like movements that mimic the stumbles and lurches of a drunkard to make it hard for their opponents to predict their actions rather than actually requiring the character to be drunk.
  • MERPS (Middle-earth Role Playing System) also had Dancer and Dervish classes.
  • Games Workshop games:
    • In Warhammer, Warhammer: Age of Sigmar and Warhammer 40,000, the Daemon Herald of Slaanesh known as the Masque, has been cursed by her god to dance eternally. Even during battle, the Masque’s dance continues using her fluid grace to strike at her enemies and dodge their blows. Other Slaaneshi Daemonettes often fight this way as well, dancing elegantly while decapitating and disembowelling their enemies.
    • Wood Elf Wardancers from Warhammer have a variety of different dances that give them a variety of combat bonuses, eschew armour in favour of magic protective tattoos, and at one point had a special ability that let them move over hostile units dancing on the points of the enemies' weapons.
    • Wood Elf teams from Blood Bowl include Wardancers on their rosters. These players are highly popular with fans as they dance their way through the opposition and use their excellent hand-to-hand skills to bring down even the strongest of foes.
    • Warhammer 40,000:
      • Harlequins' style of combat describes how they move about the battlefield with dancing gestures, tearing opponents to shreds in the process.
      • The first Path that Yvraine, the Emissary of Ynnead, trod was the Path of the Dancer and she still fights with the fluid grace that she learned during this time. During her battle with the daemons of Slaanesh on the Crone World of Belial IV, this training allowed her to reproduce the battle dance of the Harlequins to combat the hordes of Daemonettes that she faced.
    • And then there's... um... this supplement for the Space Hulk game, featuring the Ultramarines.
  • Legend has the Path of the Dervish track.
  • Exalted:
    • A Supernatural Martial Arts in this fashion, Dreaming Pearl Courtesan Style, animates props like wide sleeves, fans, sashes, ribbons, etc and uses them to grapple or attack several times in a round. At the top of it, you can turn into a dream-like floating golden serpent... somehow.
    • Malfeas the Demon City teach his exalts how to be awesome in both dancing and fighting. Crafty players will quickly put two-and-two together and create Combos that combine the benefits of his charms. Incredibly destructive Bollywood dance scene ensues.
    • A fan supplement introduced the Swaying Grass Dance Style, a supernatural version of capoeira. Notable in being the only martial art that explicitly caters to the iron boot, a kick enhancer that's Exactly What It Says on the Tin, though most players assume that other martial arts that use the cestus and fighting gauntlet also iron boots.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • The game has an old card called Performance of Sword, a Warrior who apparently does this. Unfortunately, she's a Ritual Monster with less attack power than most basic monsters and no special effect.
    • The "Cyber Girl" archetype is mainly composed of monsters that look like women from different forms of gymnastics, including figure skating (Blade Skater) and ballet (Cyber Tutu and Cyber Tutubon).
  • The heroes of Punk Rock Saves the World are a band called the Punks. Their singer, Kitty Karr, exemplifies this trope: "In fights, she will use her various 'dance' moves—moshing, slam-dancing, etc."

    Video Games 
  • Fred Ascare and Paula Abghoul from Super Castlevania IV. Also, the Ghost Dancers from Castlevania: Symphony of the Night.
  • The King of Fighters:
    • Both versions of the Orochi teamnote  have this premise.
      • Some basic moves mainly using kicks from Yashiro are similar to Capoeira.
      • In her normal version, Shermie's battle stance shows she's actually dancing. In the Orochi version, Shermie still uses some moves that simulate dance passes.
      • Chris is not an isolated case, starting with him walking backwards as he does the classic Moonwalk. In his normal The King of Fighters '97 version, he has a taunt that he gives three clicks like he's pacing a song.
    • Momoko in XI uses Capoeira... or so she says, but it's hard to tell given that she's so tiny. Robert Garcia is also constantly dancing in his regular stance, although he doesn't use capoeira like the others. He just really likes dancing in place like that.
    • Chizuru Kagura's fighting style seems to resembles the traditional Shinto dances performed during festivals. Makes sense since Chizuru herself is the Ojou and a Shinto priestess.
    • Soiree Meira in The King of Fighters: Maximum Impact.
  • Tekken:
    • Eddy Gordo and his student Christie both use Capoeira. Christie's grandfather uses the same technique, having taught them both, but is not playable in any of the games.
    • Tiger from Tekken Tag Tournament also uses Capoeira.
    • And as if Eddy wasn't Capoerista enough, Real-life capoerista Lateef Crowder plays him in the live-action adaptation.
    • She doesn't know Capoeira, but Emilie "Lili" de Rochefort uses ballet style fighting moves which she calls "street fighting".
    • Lucky Chloe plays this more straight, practicing no formal martial art but using her dance prowess to go toe-to-toe with other fighters.
  • Street Fighter:
    • Elena in Street Fighter III uses Capoeira, and before her Dee Jay from later versions of Street Fighter II who just likes to dance, and incorporates rhythm into his kickboxing fighting style.
    • Pullum Purna in the Street Fighter EX series.
    • Interestingly enough, the character Blanka from the Street Fighter 2+ lineup is noted in the manual as utilizing Capoeira, the typical "dance fighting style", although this is only evident in his flips, as he fights more like a beast.
    • Zangief is another odd example. He does That Russian Squat Dance in a lot of cutscenes, in some victory poses, and in the case of his Rival Match in VI, his introductory pose. It's also part of a combo in Pocket Fighters.
    • Rich Girl Karin has some dancing elements in her fightstyle.
  • Felicia from Darkstalkers is known as an exotic battle dancer according to the manual and is also an accomplished dancer as it is her dream. She incorporates this and her feline grace in her fighting style, and one of her super moves is called Dancing Flash.
  • Pokémon:
    • In Pokémon Colosseum Miror B. and his team of Ludicolo dance to a salsa beat while they wait for you to select your next move. Additionaly, his music in XD is disco.
    • Hitmontop's attacks are all based on Capoiera, as well as its Japanese name, Kapoerer.
    • Maractus from Pokémon Black and White is apparently this, judging by its name and Pokédex entry. Lilligant also has shades of this, only learning moves with the word "Dance" in them aside from the moves it starts with. The legendary Pokémon Meloetta is normally a Musical Assassin, but its alternate Pirouette Form resembles a ballerina and changes its secondary type from Psychic to Fighting, making it a clear-cut example of this trope.
      • Lilligant, in Hisui's time period, was also a ballet-themed Pokémon and also carried the Fighting-type. The leaf-like dress that modern Lilligant have is replaced by a leotard, allowing her legs free movement. Due to her attacking primarily with her legs and being an all-female species, this would make Hisuian Lilligant a Kick Chick as well.
    • There are a few dance-themed moves than can make many Pokemon into this by default, such as Petal Dance, Teeter Dance, and Quiver Dance. There's also Fiery Dance (which only Volcarona can learn) and Lunar Dance (only learnable by Cresselia, and its Signature Move).
    • Oricorio from Pokémon Sun and Moon is a Flying-type Pokemon with moves based on one of four different dance styles, each with a different primary type: Baile Style (Fire/Flying), Pom-Pom Style (Electric/Flying), Pa'u Style (Psychic/Flying), and Sensu Style (Ghost/Flying). Its ability, Dancer, even lets it automatically copy dance-based moves used by other Pokemon.
  • Kirby and the Forgotten Land: Fleurina, a recurring Mini-Boss, is an evil swan who uses her elaborate ballet dance techniques to stir up tornadoes. Later in the game, Kirby fights Sillydillo, a crazed armadillo who can create handmade dance partners and perform a very dangerous Spin Attack all around the battlefield by dancing alongside them.
  • Dead or Alive
    • Zack's fighting style combines Muay Thai with dancing, and many of his moves show just that.
    • In Dead or Alive 5, Akira doesn't look it, but he actually has one of the most rhythmic fighting styles in the game. There's even a video showcasing some of his most devastating combos (performed in real time) in sync with his theme music.
    • Helena Douglass usage of Pi Quan also comes off as very elegant and dance-like with lots of smoothly flowing arm movements and several different stance changes that all string together like an elaborate ballroom dance. Befitting an aristocratic opera star such as her.
  • Soul Series:
    • Talim's discipline is categorized as "Wind Dance" in-game. She is a priestess of a village that controlled wind through ritual dance that involved the use of tonfa-like elbow blades.
    • Xianghua's fighting style combines fencing and feints with ballerina style movement, used for evasion and to position her to attack. Which gives her one of the most fluid styles in any fighting game and makes her difficult to read when mastered.
    • The Dancer class in Soul Calibur III, whose Tambourine discipline blends elements of Capoeira with moves borrowed from Voldo and Xianghua's skill set.
    • Voldo frequently fights like this. Only it's not so much awe-inspiring as it is utterly creepy-looking.
  • In the Shin Megami Tensei games, there are elemental dances - they hit anywhere from 2 to 5 times, but they hit random enemies... very annoying if a foe can nullify, drain or reflect the damage.
  • A rather dark example from Dark Souls III is the Dancer of the Boreal Valley. Originally, she was just a dancer related to the royal family of Anor Londo. When Pontiff Sulyvahn usurped the throne of Anor Londo, her lineage was a threat to his rule. As such, he conscripted her to be an Outrider, a warrior of the Pontiff sent to foreign lands. Outriders are given rings that slowly drive them insane, their wielders all ending up as bloodthirsty beasts, and being conscripted as one is a relatively polite way for the Pontiff to exile people he doesn't like and make them incapable of being a threat. When you fight Outriders, they lunge and attack brutally, like rabid animals. The Dancer, however, moves and swings very elegantly, changing her timing on hits like a confusing dance to fake you out.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • The Dancer job in Final Fantasy V, Final Fantasy XI, Final Fantasy XIV, and Final Fantasy Tactics.
    • Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core has the second encounter with Genesis.
    • Rikku's Berserker Dress Sphere in Final Fantasy X-2 does Capoeira movements in her idle animation. There's also the Songstress Dress Sphere which has several dances as offensive attacks though they usually just cause status changes.
    • Penelo in general.
    • The Calca and Brina dolls in Final Fantasy IV (and its sequel, where they are playable characters).
    • If Kefka's line of "Dance, Dance!" and his actions when casting "Zap-Trap Thundaga" in the Dissidia subseries of Final Fantasy is anything to go by, apparently he utilizes this trope, presumably under Type D (i.e., because he's completely insane).
    • In Final Fantasy XIII and its sequel, the Demon enemy subtype fights by dancing around the battlefield. It's even stated in some of the game's lore that dancers mimic the demon's movements.
    • The Vanu Vanu in Final Fantasy XIV are a little unique in that their warriors dance to prevent fighting. Part of Vanu culture is the Sundrop Dance, a dance performed by warriors before a battle. The dance fully displays a warrior's strength and can cow weaker opponents with the demonstration alone.
      • The Dancer class introduced in the shadowbringers expansion is pretty much this.
  • Many Fire Emblem games also have a Dancer class, although only the first two series allow them to fight properly without glitches. Even then, Dancers have far inferior stats compared to other classes, as their real purpose is to grant allies another turn.
    • Fire Emblem Awakening brings back the Dancer's ability with Olivia, and thanks to unlimited reclassing, she can actually fight on par with other units, even when reclassed back to a Dancer.
    • Fire Emblem Fates has Azura whose class is Songstress. Although she's primarily a singer, she can also dance quite well and uses flashy spins and twirls while wielding a lance in battle.
    • Unlike the rest of the series the Dancer class in Fire Emblem: Three Houses is not locked to one specific unit. With every student having the possibility of gaining acces to the class, though you still only get one per playthrough unless you utilize New Game+. The class itself also gained some massive upgrades towards it's combat capabilities. With it gaining access to magic, a skill that boosts the Dancers evasion when wielding a sword and a dancer exclusive combat art that deals extra damage based on the units charm stat.
  • Yakuza
    • Thanks to being Promoted to Playable in Yakuza 0, one of Goro Majima's new fighting styles is "Breaker". Which he creates after seeing a bunch of breakdancers have a dance battle on a bridge, it allows him to clear up crowds with wide breakdancing-style attacks, he hones it further by meeting up with one of the breakdancers (and his siblings). The style also allows him to build up his HEAT meter by performing show poses in the middle of combos, which also allow him to counter enemies if they hit him during said poses.
    • Due to using the same engine and thanks to the Majima Everywhere system in Yakuza Kiwami, Kiryu can sometimes fight Majima using his "Breaker" style, and one encounter has him wear his flashy disco outfit (from the Imagine Spot of "24 Hour Cinderella") to complement it.
    • The style makes a return Yakuza: Like a Dragon as a Job class that most of the male party members can take. It has a few returning moves and then some new ones, although now being used for a turn-based RPG instead of the beat em' up gameplay of 0.
  • Metal Gear:
    • Vamp of Metal Gear Solid 2 does what is best described as a knife-throwing Flamenco. He's modeled after Joaquin Cortez, so it's not all surprising.
    • After being turned into a cyborg, Raiden makes use of some very flashy moves while fighting. Mostly with breakdancing moves that he shows off a lot in the cutscenes of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots.
    • You finally get to experience those moves yourself as it's a part of his moveset in Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, as expected the move is great at dealing damage in a wide area to take care of several opponents.
  • Wood elf Blade Dancers/War Dancers in Heroes of Might and Magic V
  • Sonic the Hedgehog has some breakdancing-inspired fight moves in Sonic Battle. As a possible Continuity Nod, one of his taunts in Super Smash Bros. Brawl is a breakdance move, Sonic Generations reveals that Classic Sonic used to spin on his hand, with Modern Sonic being able to do this.
    • Sonic the Werehog uses breakdancing extensively in his fighting style as well. Thanks to his unique body shape compared to his regular form, breakdancing ends up being one of the easiest ways for him to throw his weight around when it comes to stringing together punches, kicks and slashes.
    • Blaze The Cat is also a very dance heavy fighter, though inspired by ballet instead of breakdancing. Her fighting style tends to involve a lot of graceful leaps, spins and flips that make her look as if she's in the middle of an ice skating routine when paired with her long, striding gait when at full speed.
    • In Sonic Adventure, Tails could obtain the Rhythm Badge as a power-up while in the Ancient Echidna City that allows him to do an infinite, continuous Tail Swipe. The animation of such involves Tails transitioning between different breakdancing positions in order to keep momentum.
  • In Super Smash Bros. Melee and Brawl, Sheik's down smash attack is a breakdance move. In Brawl, Wario as well does a breakdance as a down smash. As for general fighting styles, Peach, who appears beginning in Melee, and Daisy, who appears in Ultimate, both fight like classically trained ballerinas.
  • A class in .hack//G.U. that uses fans and status ailment magic is called the Macabre Dancer class.
  • BloodRayne mostly just cuts stuff with big blades, but some of her moves could best be described as "Lapdance Battling".
  • Duck King from Fatal Fury is an example of the "really good dancer" type, while Richard Meyer and Bob Wilson from the same game use Capoeira. In fact, Richard Meyer is the first Fighting Game character to use Capoeira.
  • Possibly the only shooter example, and a gratuitous one at that: Vanessa Schneider from P.N.03.
  • Super Robot Wars:
    • The Fairlions from Original Generation 2 used combat moves based on idol dancing. It is, in fact, one incredibly cute beatdown.
    • Suzuka in Endless Frontier is a bit of a variation. While she occasionally can hit enemies with her fan dancing, it's real purpose is to control her Puppet Robot... one with a lot of machine guns.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time has Flare Dancers, who "dance as they attack". The Gerudo elite guards from Thieves' Hideout fight choreographically as well, and have a flashy attack that performs a Non-Lethal K.O. to Link if it lands.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask:
      • Odolwa, the Masked Jungle Warrior, is the boss of Woodfall Temple. Due to his erratic movements, which sometimes stem to leaping to a random point in the room and simply dancing without making any strike, (and the fact he summons dungeon-unique beetle-creatures, which Link has to kill, and swarms of flesh-eating locusts, which he can't do anything about), he's often That One Boss for beginners.
      • Majora itself, specifically Majora's Incarnation. It dances erratically, including moonwalking. Its sole attack is a large sequence of energy spheres.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild: The Gerudo Champion Urbosa's fighting style is said to resemble that of a dance, according to the description of her scimitar. The Champions' Ballad DLC certainly demonstrates this in a flashback, and the prequel Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity shows it off to the fullest. In battle, she is seen performing graceful and intricate twirls, and even dodges attacks with a subtle turn.
  • Disco Kid of Punch-Out!! Wii, as his name suggests, disco dances in the ring about as much as he boxes, and dances even more outside of it. He even has his own disco ball above the ring. His Contender-version boxing style incorporates some rhythm, but it's even more noticeable in Title Defense, where he also incorporates aerobics, and starts doing jumping jack hooks and the "Disco Flurry" move.
  • Ryouna from Senran Kagura normally uses Gun Fu in battle. After her Shinobi Transformation, not only she gets a ballerina-style dress, her movements turn from fast-paced to slow and ballet-like, and her style starts resembling a cross between Gun Fu and ice skating.
  • Touka in Utawarerumono. However, it's noted that her swordsmanship is actually needlessly inefficient, though still excellent, and not as good as it really could be if she stopped trying to make it beautiful.
  • Anji Mito from Guilty Gear uses a sort of 'fan-dance' style using the magical Zessen (Stopping) Fans. Bridget also dances to fight, in tandem with his yo-yo tricks, even dancing in place in his idle sprite. Hence, the two referring to each other as 'performers' when meeting.
  • Boss Example: Courtney Gears of Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal, who also called out her Back-up Dancers for her battle.
  • Kingdom Hearts:
    • While Demyx doesn't dance so much as play his sitar when you fight him, his servant Nobodies, the Dancers, will force Sora into dancing with them to drain his HP.
    • In line with her agility, Aqua has a fighting style peppered with graceful cartwheels, spins, and twirls, making it a sight to behold as an ally, and a symphony of pain to avoid if you're an enemy.
  • Kingdom of Loathing has the Disco Bandit class, where you use disco moves to injure and debilitate your enemies. The class-specific Disco Bandit Nemesis quest lets you learn Rave Combos, which chain together other non-Disco dance moves like a breakdancing spin, the Robot, and the Running Man to cause combat effects.
  • In Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects, Fault Zone moves with graceful ballet movements as she attacks an enemy.
  • Nathan Copeland, one of the bosses in No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle, although his main weapon is a rocket launching boombox that turns into robotic arms, he is perpetually dancing around the battlefield.
  • Persona:
    • Persona 4: Yukiko Amagi's fighting style takes cues from Japanese fan dances. Her movements in the original game are stilted and amateurish, but by the time of Persona 4: Arena, she wields her Combat Hand Fans with graceful precision.
    • Persona 5 Royal: Kasumi Yoshizawa's fighting style is based on her rhythmic gymnastics, wielding a rapier with fluid, flexible movements and occasionally throwing in a ribbon dance.
  • This is a perfectly viable option in Toribash, due to its infinitely... flexible nature.
  • Bayonetta is fond of this, though mostly in cutscenes. Most of her fights with Jeanne are dance battles with guns, on exploding rocks while time is stopped, and has a literal dance battle (a stripper pose off at that!) with one of the Joy enemies that has taken her form in the middle of a level. Three battle techniques, purchasable at Rodin's shop, are dance moves and Climax attacks, which summon large demons, seem to require both an incantation and a short dance.
  • Some powerups include dance battling in Kirby Super Star, Yo-Yo's dash attack being a good example.
  • Space Channel 5: "Time for a dance battle! Let's Dance!"
  • The fighting style of Trident in Eternal Champions is Capoeira.
  • In the Knights of the Old Republic games, Echani martial arts, especially the ritual forms, are allegedly very close to a dance style. The Mandalorians mock this, calling them "fey dancers with weapons not fit for Mandalorian children." Still, Echani blades are some of the best ones in-game, and the Handmaiden in the second game isn't to be taken lightly.
  • Batman: Arkham Series:
    • In the downloadable Joker missions of Batman: Arkham Asylum, the Joker seems to use mostly a combination of Capoeira, Drunken Boxing, and lethal novelty toys.
    • In Batman: Arkham City, Catwoman can be this, since her move set is a lot more fluid and ballet-like than Batman's, who uses more brute strength than acrobatics or gymnastics. And Nightwing is another example, having once been an acrobat himself.
    • And in Batman: Arkham Origins, the Flashback!Joker you play as can be this, since his fighting moves are the same as in Asylum, while his moves are somersaulting and leap frogs. And all this takes place in the Comedy Club, set to the tune of "The Thieving Magpie Overture" by Gioachino Rossini, doubling as a Shout-Out to the hallucinatory fight scene in A Clockwork Orange.
  • Mortal Kombat:
    • Mortal Kombat 4: Kai's fighting style is so fast and nimble that it has often been confused with capoiera. One of his moves has him going into a hand stand to kick his opponent.
    • Mortal Kombat 9: Mileena is a more literal example. She dances onto the arena as she makes her entrance, and says "Let us dance!" as her Battle Cry. (She is insane...)
  • Blades in Baldur's Gate II, and by extension Haer'Dalis, are supposed to fight using theatrical/dance-like fight moves. Not that you can tell with the graphics.
  • Jean from Lunar: Eternal Blue is a literal example. She is a dancing gipsy who has a bloody past as an assassin.
  • It takes a little practice but in City of Heroes attacking repeatedly and quickly means a prolonged battle can often look more like a dance than a fight.
  • Lucia from Shadow Hearts is a fortune-teller who dances while slashing enemies with a fan. She also dances when she casts magic spells.
  • Rufus from Insaniquarium is this, according to his backstory.
  • El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron has Armaros, whose first boss fight only features him dancing in the foreground, while Enoch fights his... backup dancers. When you take control of him, his actual fighting style is pretty dance like as well, and you can actually make him dance outside of combat if you feel like it. One of Enoch's weapons, Gale, is commanded through dance-like movements while on the ground as well. It is possible to wield the Gale in the aforementioned boss fight.
  • Michael Jackson's Moonwalker has Michael Jackson going around various stages... rescuing little kids from suit-clad gangsters. His moves? High dance-kick, spin-and-throw-hat, and the special "make everyone imitate your dance and then fall over and die when they can't keep up with your straight, 45-degree angle pose".
  • BlazBlue:
    • Hazama Honoka has a fighting style that resembles the dance moves of Michael Jackson. This, combined with his outfit and villainous role, has lead to fans nicknaming him "The Smooth Criminal." His inhabitor, Yuuki Terumi, has some of his dance-like animations as well as a few of his own, but for the most part, his fighting style is brutish and savage.
    • Amane Nishiki uses ribbon dancing to create drills as well as grab his enemies and toss them about. He even refers to combat as another form of dancing.
    • In the fourth game, Hades Izanami, the goddess of death, also reveals herself as a dance battler. Her dance is specifically based upon the Tandaava, the dance with which Shiva unmakes the universe.
  • The official profile of Yurika Kirishima of Project Justice lists one of her hobbies as ballet, and it shows in her fighting style. A number of her moves show influence from the dance style, most notably her dashing hard kick in which she performs a grand jeté.
  • Hata no Kokoro from Touhou uses a fighting style that incorporates props and moves from Noh theatrical dances. This is unsurprising since she is a tsukumogami borne from the legendary 66 Kagura/Noh masks used by Hata no Kawakatsu, the founder of Kagura (which is the predecessor of Noh).
  • Juliet Starling from Lollipop Chainsaw is a cheerleader who dances while swinging her chainsaw around.
  • In Warframe, with either the Kogake or the Obex fists and the Brutal Tide stance, you can breakdance your enemies to death.
  • While not evident in her game of origin, Maya from Dragon Quest IV uses her fans to dance and glide across the battlefield in the spinoff Dragon Quest Heroes: The World Tree's Woe and The Blight Below.
  • In The Battle Cats, Kung Fu Cat's true form, Dancer Cat, is constantly dancing while fighting, and attacks with a twirl and point. A few other units, like Hip Hop Cat and Cossack Cat, also dance while attacking.
  • Undertale has many monsters that will perform funky dances while fighting you, but Mettaton EX is the most notable. His dancing speeds up as the fight progresses, to the point where he's striking a new pose every half-second.
  • BoxxyQuest: The Gathering Storm has a weird little miniboss called the Funky Infoshade hidden in a back corner of The Spire. It starts the fight by Summoning Backup Dancers, mainly uses attacks that involve dancing, and heals to full every three turns thanks to the “funky battle music,” making the fight a bit of a pain if you don’t plan carefully. A harder “Echo” version shows up later in the Sky Abyss, and this time you have to beat it within only two turns.
  • Played with in Overwatch. Lúcio doesn't directly use dance moves in his abilities, but he's generally at his most effective when dancing around on objectives, using the inherent speed boost of his wallride ability. He also literally has an emote called "Capoiera."
  • Body Blows: Maria is a gymnast from Spain who incorporates gymnastic and, to a lesser extent, acrobatic moves in her fighting style.
  • Shimako Toudou (Rosa Gigantea en bouton from Maria Watches Over Us) appears in the doujin Fighting Game Maribato! as a playable character. Shimako fights with a pair of folded paper fans and incorporates some sort of traditional Japanese dancing in her moves, mostly as references to Anji Mito's fan dance style.
  • In Spider-Man (PS4), Spidey's fighting style takes major cues from capoeira and lucha libre wrestling with how acrobatic and fast-moving he is. He uses numerous spinning kicks, stays low to the ground when he isn't throwing punches, and often shimmies around his foes' bodies to dodge attacks and put them in holds for throws.
  • Chneero from Zeno Clash is a completely unintentional example. He's simply such an atrocious dancer and so oblivious to his surroundings that he'll accidentally hit you for incredibly high damage if you get too close to him.
  • Starting with Dragonball Z Budokai Tenkaichi Goku's older brother Raditz is portrayed as using a much flashier fighting style than the norm for Saiyans, employing lots of spinning kicks and chopping strikes that wouldn't look out of place in a breakdancing/vouge routine. Zangya's grab attack incorporates ballet finesse and her Sky Zapper, like Supreme Kai's Crazy Rush, consists of meticulous and graceful spinning kicks.
  • Genshin Impact: Eula's fighting style is based on the "Dance of Sacrifice" that was used by aristocrats to demonstrate their nobility, and thus utilizes a lot of fancy footwork and stylish movements. In the present it's no longer required for Lawrence family members to learn it and is practiced by Mondstadters of all social backgrounds. The dance was Eula's favorite pastime when she was younger, so she incorporated it into her footwork. Eula's so good at the dance that it leaves Amber mesmerized when she sees it.
  • In Psychonauts, Razputin repurposes his acrobatics training as a Circus Brat for fighting, meaning he's not just more physical than most psychic combatants, but a lot dancier as well.

    Web Animation 
  • Nadia Hasan from Assassin School specializes in dance fighting.
  • Dead Fantasy: Rikku's fighting style closely resembles Capoeira, involving frequent acrobatics and breakdance-like movement; particularly in the first two episodes. At one point, she performs an attack similar to Chun Li's "Spinning Bird Kick", where her blades were balanced on both her feet.
  • In Red vs. Blue, some female Freelancers such as Carolina and Connecticut rock this trope, whereas Tex has too aggressive a style and South relies much more on guns. The Fem!Surrectionist, as the female ODST is known, also has some aspects of this.
  • RWBY: A few characters use recognisable dance choreography in their fighting styles which makes it seem like they're combining dance and combat. It's discussed in-universe when Ozpin spots the fight-loving Ruby is not enjoying the school ball; he tries to encourage her by pointing out that the skills required for dancing and combat are very similar. In the same school ball, Jaune, who has no combat training or confidence, is revealed to be a very accomplished dancer, implying he has a better combat foundation than he thinks. It's later confirmed by Pyrrha that Jaune's combat skills are developing faster than normal.
    • Weiss is able to use her glyphs in combination with Ice Dust to move around the battlefield like an ice skater. She is a fencer and her fencing techniques are combined with figure-skating movements such as pirouettes, leaps, and one-footed glides on her ice sheets.
    • Mercury exclusively uses his Armed Legs to fight in a style that is a mix between Tae Kwon Do and Capoeria which maximizes the strength of his legs. It makes him look like he's break-dancing.
    • Neopolitan uses flips and kicks mixed with her Parasol of Pain to dodge and deflect any strikes thrown at her until her opponent gets mad enough for her to beat them.
    • Tyrian speaks in long, flowery phrases and gesticulates grandly as he talks. He enters battle the way a poet or actor would enter a stage for their scene, and his fighting techniques are similarly grandiose. His style is acrobatic, full of spins, backflips, and somersaults. He often goes down to the ground to use his legs in combat, which makes him appear to be break-dancing. He is a scorpion Faunus and his scorpion tail contributes to his dance style, especially when he looks like he's break-dancing, as he uses both his legs and his tail to strike and defend.
    • During the Vytal Tournament, Penny Polendina’s fighting style looks quite a bit like she’s dancing. She uses eight floating swords in tandem and controls them via grand arm gestures, flips, and twists, so the dance movements are a necessity.

    Web Comics 
  • True Villains: Cecile is a dancer by trade and therefore used to swinging a partner around. When she fights, it's in a highly mobile, balletic style that makes full use of an incredibly heavy broadsword as a counterweight. She calls it "swing dancing".

    Web Original 
  • Forca, a South American student at Whateley Academy in the Whateley Universe, does capoeira and also has force blasts from his hands.
  • In Metro City Chronicles, Hybrid eventually ends up converting her dance skills as a ballerina into a fighting technique.
  • Metamor Keep has versions #1 and #2:
    • Rickkter and Ryuo both trained in martial arts and incorporate them into their fighting style. Charles and Misha, though not martial artists, often end up "dancing" when they're fighting a swarm of enemies.
    • Malger Sutt (aka Dream Serpent) is, among other things, a professional dance instructor, who also happens to be a very good fighter. His two short swords have tassels, solely for Confusion Fu.

    Web Videos 
  • The Legion of Extraordinary Dancers is Exactly What It Says on the Tin. A by-the-book Hero's epic that combines a Musical World Hypothesis with Interpretive Dance as combat. As odd as the premise sounds, it comes together surprisingly well. It helps that the dancing is amazing.
  • One Smosh Shut Up! Cartoons series, Oichi High School Battle, has an episode where Oishi rejects Reif's offer for a date, and because of this, Reif tries to get Oishi to see Puss In Boots Part 2, but Oishi says that Reif is going to have to battle her boyfriend, Mucusance, in "combat." A dance battle ensures between Reif and Mucusance. Mucusance wins due to him being good at dancing and eats Reif.
  • Atop the Fourth Wall features the Ninja Style Dancer, who will beatdown his opponent while dancing to music.

    Western Animation  
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • Inverted in a season 3 episode where Aang and Katara incorporate fighting moves into a dance that ends with them both panting and sweating heavily.
    • Played straight half a season later when Aang and Zuko learn a firebending form that doubles as (and is called) a dance, which the latter is less than enthusiastic about. We later see him using a kick a lot like the one Mugen is doing in the above pic. Except with a lot of fire.
    • Zuko uses Dance Battling quite often early on in the series. This had the downside of wearing him out within moments as seen in his fight with Zhao, and he eventually stuck to using the more basic forms.
    • Korra is extremely graceful and uses lots of leaps and spins, in addition to great sweeping gestures with her arms. This, and all of the Dance Battling from the previous show, is Justified by the nature of bending - the movement of the elements flows with the movement of the bender's body, which naturally sometimes calls for something more complicated and expansive than plain old kicks and punches.
    • Desna and Eska, Korra's cousins, also use a lot of acrobatics in their waterbending.
    • Suyin Beifong is a dance battler with earthbending and metalbending, in contrast to her sister Lin's more blunt and in-your-face aggressive style. You can also see her style in her former protege Kuvira’s bending.
  • Used in Jimmy Neutron when Sheen the Cloudcuckoolander is forced to use dance moves instead of kung-fu.
  • Raimundo Pedrosa from Xiaolin Showdown is from Brazil and uses capoeira. His battle-ready stance in the beat-'em-up game animates him using the ginja, triangular footwork that is fundamental to the martial art.
  • In The Three Caballeros, at the climax of Donald Duck and Joe's visit to Bahia, two men get into what is probably supposed to be a Capoeira fight (which would make sense since the martial art has origins in Brazil). Their shadows even temporarily take the form of two roosters fighting, which is said to be what Capoeira takes its name from. However, they seem to be doing more dancing than they are fighting.
  • Parodied in The Simpsons; Moe is teaching a "Dance Fighting" class at the Learning Annex and demonstrates a move that starts out like he's gonna dance, then he pulls out a double-barrelled shotgun and fires off three shots.
  • The Combo Niños are capoeiristas in training.
  • Just look out for someone doing a Cossack dance in an old cartoon - there will be butt-kicking.
  • Robin from Teen Titans is this, to varying degrees of realism. The blatantness of it varies, but it's extremely apparent when he's fighting against someone else who excels at martial arts (most notably Red X, who is also a Dance Battler, as he shares Robin's style of fighting) or someone whose fighting style involves being huge and throwing a lot of heavy things at him.
  • Bugs Bunny was fond of this trope - he gets rid of a malicious hobo on a train car using some balletic moves, and ticks off a bull in the ring with a Mexican dance with face-slap percussion.
  • Popeye - "The Dance Contest" and "On Our Way to Rio" are just two cartoons where Popeye uses dance to beat up Bluto.
  • Bob's Burgers: In "Sexy Dance Fighting" Bob's daughter Tina takes up Capoeira because she has a crush on the teacher, Jairo.
  • In Duck Dodgers, while trying to distract the "Mother Fudd", The Cadet asks "What would Gene Kelly do at a time like this?" So he starts dancing on his giant head.
  • Catwoman briefly demonstrates this in the strip club in DC Showcase: Catwoman.
  • In the ThunderCats episode "The Duelist and the Drifter" Rascally Rabbit The Drifter pulls this off by combining Nonchalant Dodge and Not Quite Flight skills, at one point cheerily pirouetting in midair in front of a frustrated opponent.
  • Home Movies - in one of their movies, Brendon and Jason fight with JAZZ!
  • In Samurai Jack, the leader of the big party Jack stumbles into in "Jack and the Rave" fights Jack and is easily the samurai's equal in hand-to-hand combat, though unlike other rap-themed fighters, he fights exclusively with his arms and hands, using hip-hop gestures to punch, chop, and defend. (This doesn't seem to be based on any martial arts in particular—his fighting just looks like rapping on fast forward.) The DJ, however, is no match when Jack gets his sword back.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:
    • Splinter tries to instruct Donatello not to overthink strategy during a fight, and instead live between thoughts. To demonstrate, he launches a training exercise against Michaelangelo, who has just entered the room listening to his music. Mikey nimbly dodges the attacks in time to the music, until Splinter decides the lesson is over and trips him with his tail.
    • Xever, Shredder's left-hand man, fights with a combination of graceful and powerful Capoeira and dual-wielded butterfly knives, making all four of his extremities deadly weapons. After he mutates into Fishface he loses his combat abilities for a little bit, until Baxter Stockman whips up a pair of robot legs for him, making his Capoeira even more dangerous.
    • Bebop uses Michael-Jackson-esque dancing in combination with a high-tech suit to keep up with ninjas.
    • Shinigami uses dancing as well, though not quite as often as others.
  • Parodied in Gravity Falls — Sev'ral Timez "dancing aggressively" is treated as if it were actually dangerous or a viable method of combat, despite not actually including the "battling" portion of this trope.
  • Skipper became this temporarily in The Penguins of Madagascar when the magic-practicing chimps stole King Julian's "groove" and transferred it to Skipper.
  • This is parodied and subverted in American Dad!. When Those Two Guys Terry and Greg are angry at Stan and intend to beat him up, they begin doing flowing, streaming and ineffectual moves which Stan mocks, when one of them promptly sucker punches Stan to the ground with a Groin Attack.
    Stan: That wasn't campy at all!
  • Steven Universe:
    • Pearl incorporates ballet moves into most of her fighting.
    • During her song "Stronger Than You", Garnet utilizes hip-hop moves into fighting-style, becoming much more lithe than her usual 'just punch it really hard' technique.
  • In the Darkwing Duck episode "Smarter than a Speeding Bullet", Darkwing meets a superhero with the bizarre weakness of uncontrollably dancing when he hears a bell. Towards the end, he starts to dance-fight Steelbeak, and Darkwing and Launchpad decide do the same.
  • Doc Seismic in Invincible is spry and agile for a man of his advanced age, able to keep up with two metahumans at once. He mentions that he minored in African Dance in college.
  • The Title Sequence of Stripperella has a Contrast Montage of Stripperella doing her strip club routine, intercut with her using the same moves to fight criminals.
  • An episode of Dan Vs. has Dan trapped in a ghost town where is only way out is learning how to fight-dance.
  • In an episode of The Owl House called "Enchanting Grom Fright", Luz and Amity defeat a Supernatural Fear Inducer through a series of spells in a dance routine.
  • In Total Drama World Tour, Alejandro and Heather demonstrate their Belligerent Sexual Tension by dancing while trying to throw each other off of a moving train. In song.
  • Family Guy: A cutaway gag ha Stewie fighting a group of ninjas to rescue a Mongolian heiress using a fighting style called "Gymkata". He uses it again in the episode's climax to save Brian from being made into a protein shake.
  • Phineas and Ferb: In “Out of Toon”, Perry the Platypus, under the effects of Dr. Doofenshmirtz’s Dance-inator (which forces anyone under its influence to dance uncontrollably), uses dance moves to subdue him, thus becoming the first agent ever to defeat evil while dancing.

    Real Life 
Dance and traditional means of livelihood often share similar movements according to the standard academic theories of dance, especially folk dance. Martial arts are part of the same physical traditions and often share striking (so to speak) similarities.

That is not to say that all traditional dancers can fight. Very often the dance traditions use larger, more flamboyant and expressive movements designed for visual appeal. And it does not mean all martial artists can dance, either. But there is a degree of overlap, especially in traditional cultures. Many of the attributes that make a good dancer — strength, endurance, grace, balance, rhythm, timing, physical presence — are also found in warriors.

To further complicate matters, many martial arts have an explicit dance component. "War dances" all over the world incorporate movements and emotional content from their combative tradition. The purpose may be to create group identity, impress the opposite sex, entertain, compete non-violently for status or frighten enemies. In some traditions, combatants show their form by shadowboxing, often to music. A vastly inferior opponent can step down without losing face or risking injury at this point. Or participants may show a false weakness to the surprise of the opponent when they fight. Or at least it gives the audience a chance to lay down bets.

A very incomplete list of examples:

  • Africa and Afro-Caribbean: Many martial arts either originated from dances or were concealed by practicing them as dances, like Maculele, Mandingue, Laghia de la mort, Mayolè and others
  • Brazil: Capoeira is believed to have its roots in West African dance/fighting traditions. It is practiced to music and singing. The practice of Capoeira was generally illegal at the time of slavery, and is bouts are still referred to as "playing". It was hidden in public by disguising it as dance. Capoeira co-evolved with the Brazilian Samba dance tradition.
  • Breakdancing: Supposedly invented as a ritualized substitute for actual combat, taking a lot of cues from Capoeira above. Early moves were influenced by Hong Kong action films (hence the name, incidentally, of the Wu-Tang Clan, which came from the same hip-hop culture).
  • China: In recent days many but by no means all forms of Chinese martial arts have evolved from combat to an athletic/gymnastic competitive display which has many of the attributes and requirements of dance performance. The degree to which this has occurred varies widely from school to school. There is a saying attributed to an ancient Chinese philosopher that "a warrior who cannot dance will be awkward both at war and in peace."
  • Europe: Most of the dance/fighting traditions are extinct, but some examples of martial dancing with and without weapons still exist in Eastern Europe, the Balkans, Scandinavia, and Basque country.
    • Notational systems for dancing and fencing came about around the same time in Western Europe and had several similarities.
    • The shaksha sabre dance of the Cossacks, with one or two swords, is a visually spectacular survival.
    • There is a saying attributed to the ancient Celts that goes "never give a sword to a man who can't dance." This is notable for having several possible (or simultaneous) meanings, from physical fitness and conditioning to attitude and outlook on life, i.e. "don't teach someone to fight until they learn to enjoy life."
  • India: The ancient martial art of Kalaripayitt is very closely related to classical Indian dance and to a number of Yoga traditions.
  • Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Phillippines: The dance and martial cultures are nearly inseparable. Whether a particular movement is aesthetic, competitive Olahraga or deadly Silat is more a matter of intention than anything else. Traditionally, dance and Silat are performed to the Gamelan orchestra. In the Central and Northern Philippines, the connection is more tenuous.
  • Japan: Swordsmen Yagyū Munenori and his son, Yagyū Jūbei Mitsuyoshi, often used terminology of Noh drama's dancing when discussing the timing in swordfighting. The modern Japanese martial art of Aikido is often considered dance-like because of its grace and fluidity.
  • Korea: While there is great academic and hoplological disagreement about Taekkyun as a martial art rather than a game, it shares similarities with Korean martial arts and dance
  • Middle East/North Africa: There is the ancient Egyptian martial art known as tahtib, aka Egyptian stick fencing, which remains a valid fighting technique but has also evolved into a form of stylized dance (often performed for tourists by groups of men in the southern part of the country, even though the martial art is mixed-gender).
  • New Zealand: Men's dance (Hula, Haka and other names) and martial arts are very closely connected sharing many motions and training methods. New Zealand's All Blacks rugby team does a traditional Maori haka war dance before games. It is unmistakably martial. On several occasions, a haka performed by opposing Polynesian teams has led to pre-game fights.
  • Ukraine: Combat Hopak, based on the Ukrainian dance That Russian Squat Dance comes from. Not too much of a stretch, Hopak dance moves largely simulate stylized combat.
  • Okinawa: When Karate was outlawed for a time by the ruling Japanese, the Okinawans turned their kata (forms) into dances in order to keep training without arousing suspicion.
  • Samoa: Limalama was founded by Tu'umamao "Tino" Tuiolosega and is rooted in the Samoan dance techniques he learned in his youth.
  • Bruce Lee was also an award winner in cha-cha. It's this expertise in dancing that gave him his expertise in martial arts footwork, or possibly the other way round. He developed Jeet Kune Do to incorporate any movements that were effective and felt natural. While it has a philosophy, there is no such thing as the Jeet Kune Do "style." If you felt comfortable doing the cha-cha in a fight, more power to you. As the saying goes: "A warrior who cannot dance is awkward both in peace and at war."
  • John Travolta once said that being a skilled dancer helps him do the choreographed fight scenes in his action roles. Of course, how he'd do in a real fight is anyone's guess.
  • Jackie Chan is trained in Chinese Opera and uses its movement techniques in his fight scenes. How he'd do in a real fight is not up for debate.
  • Sugar Ray Robinson was a dancer in his youth before becoming a boxer. You can see the influence in his fights, especially when he simply moves around the ring. It's as though he glides across the ring.
  • Emanuel Augustus had such a radical, unique and borderline insane fighting style that he had the nickname "the Drunken Master" (despite being a conventional boxer rather than an MMA fighter and not practicing actual Drunken Boxing), bobbing and weaving around his opponents and sometimes actually dancing in the ring whenever he had an opening. For years, Floyd Mayweather stated that Augustus was his toughest opponent, describing him as "unbelievable".
  • There is a theory that the quick, intricate foot movements of ballet originated from Europeans' visits to China, where martial artists quickly moved their feet around to avoid opponents trying to trip them over.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Slam Dancer, Dance Battling


The Beginning of the End

Anne and Sasha utilize their Super Dance Fusion routine in their fight against the mind-controlled Olivia and Yunan.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / DanceBattler

Media sources: