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Dancing Royalty

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Nobody by day, king of the dancefloor by night.

"You can see as she catches a train
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..."
ABBA, "Nina, Pretty Ballerina", Ring Ring

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, and none will dare 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 watches 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. They are often the Life of the Party and attend only the Coolest Club Ever. Don't blink an eye if they somehow Summon Backup Dancers. Or if they do a "Staying Alive" Dance Pose.

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.

Compare Graceful in Their Element, a Sister Trope where a clumsy character absolutely rocks it if it's their field of choice. Contrast Sucks at Dancing, its Opposite Trope. See also Dance Battler.


Anime & Manga

  • La Magnifique Grande Scène: Sakura 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.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: One episode features 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.

Fan Works

  • 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 roommates 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.
  • Ships Ahoy! (Odd Squad): While O'Donahue is terrible at square dancing and doing the waltz, he can dance incredibly well to rock n' roll music.
    Oprah: Since when did you learn all those moves?
    O'Donahue: I dunno! It just sort of happened! Unreal, right?
  • Total Drama Legacy: Violet is a competitive dancer (and the captain of her team, to boot), with her astounding talent getting a chance to shine a couple of times. For instance, while air diving, she does several twirls as she floats down.
  • 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.

Films — Live-Action

  • 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, through 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 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.
  • Return of the Jedi: Oola, a Twi'lek, hasn't received a formal education but dedicates her life to dancing. She attracts so many admirers, that's how was enslaved to Jabba in the first place. She danced so erotically, she accidentally catches Jabba's attention and gets herself killed.
  • Saturday Night Fever: Tony 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 blames him for his brother leaving the priesthood.
  • Step Up: In The Streets, the first sequel, 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 clears 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.
  • Two-Faced Woman: Karin 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 ballerina Mikhail Baryshnikov (often declared as one of the best ballerinas of all time) and tap dancer Gregory Hines.
  • The Wedding Ringer: Doug and Jimmy's shameless enthusiastic dancing stun the wedding reception, who clear the floor for the two men to have their duet.

Live-Action TV

  • The Crown (2016): Galina Ulanova is not nicknamed the Prima Ballerina Assoluta for nothing. Whenever she performs, she undisputedly dominates the stage and, according to the series, seduces men of as high caliber as Prince Philip. This was Truth in Television for her real-life self, as can be seen in her recorded performances.
  • 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."
  • Odd Squad:
    • Double Subverted with Oswald. He absolutely loves to dance and is quite skilled at it, especially concerning robot dance. However, when Opal, Omar, and Orla praise him on it, he claims that his supposed "robot dance" is actually his normal dance moves. He improves his skill by "Box Trot", though.
    • In the episode "Slow Day", the unnamed postal worker is a pretty good dancer, something Olympia comments on.
    Olympia: Mail lady's got some moves!



  • ABBA
    • The group has 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 on 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".
  • Jonathan Coulton: "Dance Soterios Johnson Dance" is about a local newscaster who lives a double life as the most amazing dancer the club has ever seen.
  • Miley Cyrus: "Night Crawling" is about a woman who finds meaning in life and the solution to her Attention Whore tendencies by being a Disco Dancing Queen.
  • IZ*ONE: Chaeyeon, a veteran of idol survival shows, is often praised for her amazing dancing skills which mesmerize not only the fans but also general audiences and even the other group members. In fact, this is the reason why she's part of the choreography team.
  • The Jackson 5: "Dancing Machine" 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.
  • Rina Sawayama: The final third of the music video of "This Hell" has Rina and her wife and husband put the dance floor on fire by dancing a combination of Country Music, Pop, and Rock. Hell, they even make their guests act as their backstage dancers and cause a couple of their detractors to change their minds and join the party.
  • Shenandoah's "If Bubba Can Dance, I Can Too" is about an unassuming guy who becomes this at the local dancehall by learning to dance via videocassette. The singer decides if someone like Bubba can learn to dance that well, so can he.
  • Sister Sledge: "He's The Greatest Dancer" has the band spot a good-looking man dancing on the dance floor, who "never leaves the disco alone".
  • STU48: Already graduated member Kadowaki Miyuna is considered one of the best dancers in the entire 48 Group and occasionally performs solo. Her solo performances are usually titled Dance Dance Onion.
  • Gloria Trevi: "Ábranse, perras" revolves around a Dancing Queen whose presence, savviness, sensuality, and dancing abilities cause her to be the instant center of attention at any party —heck, any place. She has her cliqué of divas and, as the song's title indicates, everyone makes way for her.
  • "Weird Al" Yankovic: "That Boy Could Dance" is about a homely jerk who made it big because he was an incredible dancer.

Puppet Shows


  • Enter the Arena as Your Avatar: The mutants are still pretty harmless characters, but have demonstrated the ability to dance well enough to form a group with Mothman!

Tabletop Games

  • Exalted: Perfect Soul is from Jiara, a region that as a whole is already obsessed with the art of dancing — being one of the best performers from that region is no small feat, and she was the best even before she Exalted. Bonus points for actually being a queen, the Amirah of Jiara, to be specific.

Video Games

  • Azur Lane: While reading and writing are not her strong suits, Chao Ho mentions working on her dance routine a few times.
  • Cookie Run Kingdom: Implied. When it comes to the dancing section of the princess contest, Cranberry Cookie happily proclaims it’s her type of trial. She seems to be the haughty type as she quickly criticizes Choco Werehound Princess’ lack of grace in movement, in turn, deems "her" unworthy of becoming the Princess and whines about "her" qualification.
  • Helix Waltz: Consort Ju's main appeal lies in her beautiful dance performances. Enough for the Emperor himself to keep her by his side and play favorites just because of that.
  • Persona 5: Kasumi Yoshizawa, from the Updated Re-release "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.

Web Animation

  • RWBY: Jaune is infamously awkward at nearly everything he does, but reveals at the school dance that he's a shockingly good dancer. Even while wearing a party dress and trainers combination.

Web Novels

  • The Apothecary Diaries: The ladies of the Verdigris House, both elderly and young, seem to have been born to dance.
    • Grams, the old woman in charge, is skilled enough at dancing that stories of one of her performances have survived for several generations. Though she did have some help from a breed of luminescent moth for that one. She was even called to entertain foreign dignitaries.
    • Pairin, of the three princesses of the House, is famous for her dancing skills to the point of it being the reason why she's one of the most expensive courtesans out there. Many clients go only to watch her perform.

Web Videos

Western Animation

  • Hamster & Gretel: In the episode "Saturday Homecoming Fever", Kevin and Hiromi are absolutely killing it on the dance floor against Destructress and FistPuncher, and incredibly in sync. Turns out both of them watched Darren Dark's Disco-Dancing Demo

Alternative Title(s): The King Of Dance, Dancing Queen