Just a face among a million faces
Just another woman with no name
Not the girl you'd remember but she's still something special
If you knew her, I am sure you'd agree
'Cause I know she's got a little secret
Friday evening she turns out to be...
Nina, pretty ballerina
Now she is the queen of the dancing floor..."
There are some people that are masters in many things that others find impossible to learn; painting, singing, and other things in the creative arts. But these masters aren't always the masters of everything. They can hardly attract the attention of strangers with their skills and others don't find them really impressive.
That's not the case with members of the Dancing Royalty.
These are the usually the characters that suck at everything else in life, but really come alive on the dancefloor. Their moves wow the crowd and leave them in a stunned silence, who dare not to defy them.
Expect the Dancing Royalty character to receive special treatment in the nightclubs or discos: free drinks, courtesy of either other customers or the bartender himself; DJ requests with no hesitation; and the dancefloor to be cleared for them to have their center dance solo, no questions asked. The Dancing Royalty, whatever gender, can attract everyone's attention — usually because their dances are the envy of their audience. This can make the Dancing Royalty the target of adoring fans in and out of the nightclubs — whatever kind; the entire strip may know of this person and will also give them special treatment, even if the Dancing Royalty only goes to one specific club.
Also, expect the character to be hated by many. This can lead to many patronising nicknames, like "The Master of Dance" or the "Dancing King/Queen" that the person may/may not like. In some cases, they may only have one hater, who might dare to challenge them to a Dance-Off, much to the annoyance of the Royalty's audience.
The Dancing Royalty themselves can have certain personalities. They can be modest about their talent and just blame it on being Graceful in Their Element, but are flattered by the attention — especially from attractive fans. Outside of dancing, they might be terrible at everyday things, or they might have No Social Skills, be very shy or might be very clumsy.
On the flip side, the Dancing Royalty can be self-centered, obnoxious and smug about the attention. Although the crowd jealously watch on, they might live in fear and only give the Royalty special treatment to be nice and not get on the wrong side of them. This kind of Royal is more likely to be the tyrant who bullies others and shamelessly dares others to have a dance-off, knowing that they'll easily beat them.
You're most likely to find this character mostly in music, typically the disco-era, but it can be found in other media too.
The trope namer and codifier is ABBA's "Dancing Queen". It doesn't refer to dancers who also happen to be royalty, although an example may also play the royalty part of the name literally in addition to fulfilling the actual trope. Contrast Graceful in Their Element, which is sort of the same similar idea. Can also be the Life of the Party.
- Sakura from La Magnifique Grande Scène is the arrogant version of this at her dance school because she's won numerous competitions thanks to being the daughter of a professional ballet dancer. When a classmate wants to befriend her, it takes a while for Sakura to be won over.
- Shomin Sample has Aika-sama, who becomes an instant master at Dance Dance Volcano.
- An episode in Yu-Gi-Oh! featured Yugi and Anzu going to an arcade, and Anzu's turn on a DDR-esque machine stuns Yugi and eventually gathers crowds of stunned gamers. Since Anzu took dance lessons, it isn't surprising that she's so good.
- Glorious Shotgun Princess: Liara proves to be an excellent dancer, and studied classical asari dance in college. Since asari are infamous for spending their first few centuries in a "wild stage" that often involves acting as strippers, her friends all joke that they didn't even know the asari had dances that didn't involve poles, tables, or laps. Unfortunately, this is a bit of a sore spot for Liara.
Liara: Do you have any idea how long my mother insisted I take classical dance? Thirty years, that's how long. "No daughter of mine is going to shake her ass in a titty bar," she said. Even if all my room mates did. I had to take a dance course every semester for my entire college career. So I have thirty years of classical dance experience, thank you very much.
Jane: Lemme get this straight, you were in college for... thirty years?
Liara: Yes. Yes, I was. Does that answer your question?
Jane: Yep. Every question I ever had.
- White Sheep (RWBY): Yang is surprised to find that Jaune is an excellent dancer. Apparently his mother, assuming that he'd need to attend some diplomatic dances after he took over the world, made sure he learned. Unlike in canon, he doesn't lead the entire school in a group dance.
- Violet from Total Drama Legacy is a competitive dancer, and is shown to be really good at dancing.
- In the first Step Up sequel The Streets, Andie arrives at the nightclub she frequently visits. There she meets Tyler, the protagonist from the last movie, who is immediately recognized by the crowd, gets an immediate song request offer from the DJ, and the crowd quickly clear the dance-floor for him to have his Dance-Off with her. Although Andie held her own in the friendly battle, it wouldn't be far-fetched to assume that the crowd made Tyler the winner by default.
- Tony in Saturday Night Fever is one of the most popular dancers at a nightclub in New York — to the point of having the dance floor cleared when he's due to jump on — but in the daytime, he's just a normal person with no specified talents. In fact, his mother seems to be embarrassed by him because he isn't as successful as his brother, and even blame him for his brother leaving the priesthood.
- Karin in Two-Faced Woman is an unintentional one. In her disguise as Katherine, she tries to convince doubters at a nightclub that she's a dancer. She gets on the dancefloor, improvises moves to a stunned audience and soon enough, everyone watching is enthusiastically imitating her, turning it into a flash mob. The Betty to her Veronica is absolutely furious.
- White Nights is about famous dancers helping each other to escape the Soviet Union with their spouses and families: one is a Russian ballet dancer and the other is a captured African-American tap dancer. Justified because the movie stars famous Russian ballerino Mikhail Baryshnikov (often declared as one of the best ballerinos of all time) and tap dancer Gregory Hines.
- Musicals from The Golden Age of Hollywood, particularly the Astaire/Rogers ten-film team-up, exploited this from the stars, often creating movies just to show off the actors' jaw-dropping dance skills. However, the problem with this not only led to typecasting but Pop Culture Osmosis (Ginger Rogers, for example, was forever irritated that audiences never remembered that she was an Oscar-winning dramatic actress that had a big career in movies years before Fred Astaire left Broadway, yet she'll always be known as "Fred Astaire's partner," albeit with her reputation as a dancer enhanced with the meme that she did everything Astaire did "but backwards and in high heels.").
- Dirty Dancing invokes this, to an extent, by the vacation resort's annual talent show on the final day, with Johnny and Penny as the final act. The two of them are celebrities among the staff and Baby even meets Johnny after he and Penny are dancing as a centerpiece on an empty floor surrounded by the cheering colleagues and background dancers. This is possibly one of the reasons why Neil, the grandson of the resort owner, is determined to keep Baby away from Johnny after she finds out that he and Penny are just friends.
- On The Gong Show, Eugene Patton got his start as a stagehand, entertaining the Studio Audience between acts with his dance moves. He proved such a hit with the crowd that the producers brought him onto the show under the name "Gene Gene the Dancing Machine!" Gene promptly stole the show with his infectiously happy dancing moves, and became a recurrer with the show regularly stopping to let Gene Gene the Dancing Machine take center stage in a dance break to Count Basie's "One O'Clock Jump."
- The group have the song "Dancing Queen" from their Arrival album. It tells the story of a seventeen-year-old girl who wows the crowd on the dancefloor in clubs and attracts the attention of other men.
- ABBA also made an obscure song of the same topic earlier in their discography with "Nina, Pretty Ballerina" (the page quote) on their debut album Ring Ring, which was about a seemingly-boring woman named Nina with a lack of social skills, who was ignored at work but would go out to a nightclub every Friday and clear dance-floors with her amazing talent. Then, on Monday, it's back to the office, "living in a dream".
- "He's The Greatest Dancer" from Sister Sledge has the band spot a good-looking man dancing on the dance-floor, who "never leaves the disco alone".
- The Jackson 5 had the song "Dancing Machine", which is about being captivated by a woman's dancing. Interestingly, the lyrics describe her in mechanical terms, implying that her dancing is so good that she could've been a robot, but not in an Uncanny Valley way.
- "That Boy Could Dance" by "Weird Al" Yankovic is about a homely jerk who made it big because he was an incredible dancer.
- ''Dance Soterios Johnson Dance" by Jonathan Coulton is about a local newscaster who lives a double life as the most amazing dancer the club has ever seen.
- Kasumi Yoshizawa, of Persona 5 Royal, has been struggling in all aspects of her life—her once professional-level gymnastics have lost their flair, her grades have been falling behind as the scholarship slips away, and she's ostracized for receiving special treatment. However, on the night of the school festival, we see that despite all of this she. can. dance.