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Involuntary Dance

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A condition where a dancing person must continue to dance and has no way to stop moving. In some cases the victims begin to dance voluntarily but find themselves unable to stop; in others, they were forced to dance against their will. In both cases, the victim is at the mercy of someone or something else (a villain, a curse, an artifact, or similar) that compels this dancing. If an object or trinket controls the dancing, they may be freed if they can get rid of it, but sometimes it's not so easily shaken, and other times even that won't help.

The victims may be forced to dance for the following purposes:

  • Incapacitation: The dance hinders the victims' action or renders them helpless.
  • Playing with Puppets/Hypno Fool: The dance is intended to humiliate the victim or make him/her look foolish.
  • Torture: The dance will exhaust the victim. In extreme cases, the person is forced to dance until he or she dies in a prime case of The Not-So-Harmless Punishment.
  • Advertisement:
  • Aesthetics: The person controlling the dance wants to see the other person move in a way that visually appeals to him/her.

Can be a form of Ironic Hell or Laser-Guided Karma (to say nothing of Cool and Unusual Punishment). Relatively popular in children's entertainment because it seems like a relatively harmless means of restraint, comparable to Tickle Torture. Mind-Control Music often, and The Music Meister always, causes this trope.

Often a version of People Puppets, and overlaps with Mind Manipulation. Not to be confused with Bullet Dancing (a series of reflex leaps isn't quite what this trope is after).



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    Anime & Manga 
  • Code Geass: One of the bizarre tasks Lelouch compels some drug dealers to do for his Playing with Puppets moment. It's a pretty horrible thing he did, considering that the person who he compelled to dance will have to dance until he dies.
  • Tsuritama: Humans under the influence of the aliens' Mind-Control Device. This can result in Adult Fear, such as losing control of their boats and accidentally launching missiles from a battleship.
  • The Para Para Brothers from Dragon Ball GT use a stereo to cause their opponents to uncontrollably mimic their dancing, leaving them open to attack.
  • Fushigiboshi No Futagohime: Fine or Rein presses one of the three buttons on the Feather Myuugram to make it play music. Anyone standing in front of the Myuugram will be forced to dance depending on the music the Myuugram plays. This is one of Fine's Supers in Magical Chaser: Stardust of Dreams.
  • Ranma ½: The anime-only twins Linlin and Ranran's most powerful move. The twins play the theme tune which causes the opponent to dance uncontrollably, and while they dance Linlin and Ranran use a flamethrower to burn the opponent.
  • My Bride is a Mermaid: To stop the fight between two Yakuza groups, the mermaids Sun & Lunar sing a song that causes everyone to dance uncontrollably. For 50 solid hours.
  • Shugo Chara!:
  • Rave Master: The villain's girlfriend asks for a certain music to be played that makes all the males dance so that she can fight with Elie uninterrupted.
  • Jewelpet Twinkle: "Tinkle Tinkle Sanbala" is a magic spell that makes everyone dance samba. The spell was used on Mushroom Men, so yeah, it's... Mushroom Samba.
  • Demashita! Powerpuff Girls Z: A Saturday Night Fever-esque monster uses Hypno Ray to cause people in the dance hall to dance in sync with him.
  • Stitch!:
    • Experiment 258 (Sample) has gained this ability. Also, after the failure of the week, Delia punishes Hämsterviel by hanging him with thread and forcing him to dance.
    • In order to capture Stitch, Experiment 610 (Witch) magically forced Stitch and his friends to dance, which would have tired them out if Yuna hadn't distracted her.
    • The show also reveals Experiment 123 (Carmen)'snote  ability to be this.
  • Zatch Bell!: Yopopo can cause the opponent to mimic his dancing by using his spell, Shin Yopopoi Topopoi Supopopoi.
  • Flint the Time Detective: Jitterbug's song and Jitterbug-Master's ray can make people dance against their will.
  • Zettai Muteki Raijin-Oh: There is a Monster of the Week which affects people and the Humongous Mecha alike.
  • Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch: Lanhua's song.
  • One Piece
    • Brook seems to have gained this ability. He caused the Bobardment Squad of the New Fishman Pirates to dance around as if they were at a festival.
    • Also happens in a back-up feature to one of the movies, where Jango hypnotizes an entire island into dancing.
  • Princess Tutu: Drosselmeyer's Author Powers are most apparent when Tutu ascends to the author's universe and ends up becoming a marionette which dances ballet at his will.
  • Ah! My Goddess: Mara's Weaksauce Weakness is rock music, which causes the demoness to dance uncontrollably.
  • Pokémon:
    • "Abra and the Psychic Showdown" had Sabrina's Abra (who had evolved into Kadabra), curb stomps Pikachu before forcing it to dance with its psychic abilities, just to add to its humiliation. Then Ash escaped from her with the help of a mysterious man, who also displayed telekinesis by controlling Ash's body in a similar manner.
    • Team Rocket's Mark Three Manner Minder, a machine in "Outrageous Fortunes" that allows them to control anybody who wears it, eventually flies onto Jessie and Meouth has a little fun controlling her body.
    • The mini-movie "Gotta Dance!" revolved around Meowth's newest invention, "The Dancin' Pokébaton", which causes all Pokemon who listen to it to uncontrollably dance.
    • Teeter Dance, which in the games just confuses the target, consistently has this effect except in "Pikachu's Big Sparking Search".
  • Magical Circle Guru-Guru has items and spells which have this power. Nike and Kukuri also enter a village where everyone is forced to move in a dance like manner by monster. Once the monster is defeated everyone's back to normal, though the mayor takes a while.
  • Sugar Sugar Rune: A Dance Candy comes in handy when you want the mandragora to willingly come out from the ground without screaming.
  • The application of Mind-Control Music to this is common in Violinist of Hameln and its sequel Shchelkunchik. Often combined with Naked People Are Funny.
  • Samurai Pizza Cats: Big Cheese builds a Monster of the Week that can bang out a hypnotic drum beat, thus bringing the dance craze to the city.
  • In the Mushroom Samba episode of Yume no Crayon Oukoku, one mushroom happens to be a "dancing mushroom".
  • The one in Wagamama Fairy Mirumo De Pon can be handed over; if a victim manages to touch an unaffected person, the person will start dancing instead.
  • In Sailor Moon Super S, a mow puts a tutu on Sailor Moon and makes her spin uncontrollably.
  • In Anpanman, both Taikoman and Jongara-kun's music is so compelling that anyone that hears it will dance against their will.
  • Crayon Shin-chan: The 14th movie features Kidnap and Replace. The difference is that the duplicate likes dancing to music. And when the duplicate dances, so does the kidnapped and captured original.
  • In Happiness Charge Pretty Cure, this is the effect that the Hawaiian Aloha ʻOe attack that Cure Princess uses in her Macadamia Hula Dance form: making everyone, friend and foe, dance the hula. Unless you're Cure Fortune.
  • The Snowqueen 2005: In the episode based on "Red Shoes" which ends with disastrous consequences.
  • Zero the Glint from Battle Spirits Saikyo Ginga Ultimate Zero hypes up the spectators in this way before summoning his yellow Ultimate.
  • The Urusei Yatsura chapter "Passion of the Red Shoes" centers on a pair of cursed red high heels which cause Lum to dance uncontrollably.
  • Papuwa: Nikko Monkey King's drum is compelling and it is Not Hyperbole for Shintaro. Played with when it turns out to be hyperbole for everyone else.

    Comic Books 
  • In the first issue of Brit, the villain Master Mind takes control of hundreds of people on a stretch of highway and forces them to dance.
  • Zita the Spacegirl: Piper's eponymous flute can make listeners dance themselves unconscious.
  • Super-Hip (DC Comics) magically acquires an electric guitar which causes whoever hears it to dance uncontrollably whenever he plays rock and roll.
  • In Action Comics #592, a character called Sleez (yeah, that's his name) hypnotically induces Big Barda to dance for him. Among other things...
  • In Doctor Who Magazine, The Sixth Doctor uses a pied piper ploy in order to make a group of renegade robots dance themselves away from a city.
  • The Maestro, a minor foe of the Justice League of America, could cause his victims to dance uncontrollably.
  • Johan and Peewit: The book that was also The Smurfs' first appearance is about a magic flute that causes involuntary dancing... up to the point that the victims fall unconscious. The climax has Peewit and the bad guy, both with magic flutes, fighting by forcing each other to dance, until one of them falls down.
  • The Powerpuff Girls: Issue #66's "Rain, Rain, Go Away" (DC run) had a sea monster influence a fisherman to write a pop song that makes everyone in Townsville do a rain dance which floods the city enough for the creature to invade it. (Buttercup is the only person not partaking as she was already sick of the song from minute one.)

    Fairy Tales 
  • Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale "The Red Shoes", where a girl is punished for her vain pride over her beautiful shoes by having the shoes force her to dance uncontrollably.
  • The Brothers Grimm's tale "The Jew Among Thorns" includes a fiddle which compels people to dance when they hear it played.
  • In Joseph Jacobs's Kate Crackernuts, The Fair Folk force the prince to dance until collapse, and then they force him to dance some more.
  • Being compelled to attend the revels of The Fair Folk every night was one folk theory about TB: the victims wasted away because they got no sleep at night.

    Fan Works 
  • Harry Potter fanfic This Means War has Harry play a prank on the Weasley boys which involves magically forcing them to sing and dance in front of the school to Y.M.C.A.
  • In A Very Potter Musical, Voldemort and Quirrell use the Imperio spell to make Harry dance during the song "Dance Again".
  • The Retelling of Pokémon Colosseum: In this fanfic, the Dance Battler Miror B. has a special hypnotic music player that forces everyone else to dance as well.
  • The Life and Times of a Winning Pony: Ponies who hear a rusalka’s song are forced to dance with it until they miss a step and the rusalka kills them, or until it gets bored and kills them anyway.
  • The Infinite Loops: One of the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic Loops has Twilight Sparkle use the Disco Phial (see Video Games), given to her by Smaug, on Nightmare Moon. Then she notices that everyone else is being made to dance as well.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, the aliens make the kids' parents dance (badly) via mind-control devices.
  • Robots: Robin William's character Fender uses a dance as his special "attack sequence", which causes the evil robots to join in.
  • Toy Story 3: Jessie has the Spanish version of the Theme Tune played, so that Buzz's Spanish personality shows up and starts dancing paso doble with her.
    Buzz: I don't know what came over me.
    Jessie: Just go with it, Buzz.
  • It happens to Pinocchio in the movie Pinocchio and the Emperor of the Night, an unofficial sequel to the Disney movie. The circus puppet-master, Puppetino, plays an organ grinder that make Pinocchio dance and turn back into a puppet.
  • In Disney's Aladdin, Jafar uses magic to make the Sultan dance for him after the usurpation.
  • Shrek Forever After: The Pied Piper's flute has a dial that can be set to any known creature and makes them dance uncontrollably when he plays. The bounty hunter uses his flute to capture his quarry by forcing them to dance. He teaches some witches a lesson by forcing them to break dance. Later he singlehandedly defeats the Badass Army of Ogres with a full choreography and a conga line straight to Rumpelstiltskin's castle.
  • In the end of Barbie in the Twelve Dancing Princesses, Duchess Rowena uses the magical flower to wish that Genevieve dance forever. But the wish backfires after Genevieve fans the flower dust back at her. When her servant tries to help her, he is pulled into the dance, too, and the two villains dance out of the castle.
  • In Barbie in the Pink Shoes, the Snow Queen uses her magic to make Hailey to dance the "Dance of the Doll", but Hailey fights her magic and dances herself free from her control.
  • The villainous rustler in Home on the Range can lead cattle Pied Piper-style with his Mind-Control Music. Hence the characters dancing to his Villain Song ("Yodel-Adle-Eedle-Idle-Oo") in a colourful Disney Acid Sequence.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Used several times in Fred Astaire's movies:
    • In Flying Down to Rio, he apparently can't stop his feet from moving when he hears the band practicing, even though he's in the middle of lecturing the Chorus Girls on the importance of concentration.
    • In Top Hat, Jerry claims to be suffering from a medical condition that causes this. He tells Dale hopefully that the nurses always cure it by putting their arms around him.
    • In Carefree, Tony hypnotizes Amanda, and she dances with him in a trance.
    • In the Show Within a Show in The Barkleys of Broadway, Josh is forced to dance by a pair of magical shoes (a Shout-Out to The Red Shoes (1948) — the movie had come out the previous year).
  • In Beetlejuice, the Maitlands try to scare off the Deetzes and their dinner guests by possessing them and forcing them to dance and lip-sync to "Day-O".
  • The Mask. The title character sings the "Cuban Pete" song and everyone in the audience (mostly composed of cops aiming their weapons at him) starts dancing (except for Lieutenant Kellaway).
  • The main characters in A Simple Wish are forced to dance by the villain.
  • Legend. While Lily is trapped in Darkness' lair, he sends a dancing mannequin in a black dress to seduce her. The mannequin Mind Controls her into dancing with it, eventually transforming her with an Evil Costume Switch/Evil Makeover.
  • The Lair of the White Worm. Lady Sylvia Marsh is the vampire priestess of the title monster. When she hears a particular kind of music she starts dancing (a reference to how snakes are supposed to be charmed by music).
  • Ella Enchanted: Ella is "blessed" with the gift of obedience. Because of this, she is compelled to sing and dance for the entertainment of some giants after some of them yell out for her to do so.
  • Hocus Pocus: The party-goers are cursed by the witch sisters to dance until they die. The sisters' deaths ended the spell, as the last scene of the movie is the people leave the party, exhausted but still alive.
  • From Oz: The Great and Powerful, after the Wicked Witch of the West makes her first public appearance: "May I have this dance?"
  • The climax of Ruby Sparks has Ruby forced to... do several stuff, including a striptease.

  • Sorcery!: The JIG spell, by playing a bamboo flute, allows you to give enemies the uncontrollable urge to dance a merry jig. It is easy to exhaust a creature or provide time to escape this way.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Kamen Rider Fourze: When Fourze was bound by a magic contract with the Student Council President, his attempt to attack the president resulted in dancing.
  • An episode of MI High has a villainess make her dancers wear vests which makes them do her will. Oscar ends up putting one of these on and ends up being ordered to dance around a room until Carrie gets it off him.
  • Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers:
    • The episode "Different Drum" features a monster who controls people to dance.
    • In season 3 we have Dischordia, a monster who can make people dance uncontrollably with her singing. She had the Rangers exhausted dancing and she nearly succeeded in having Tommy give her his Power Coin.
  • Near the end of Chouriki Sentai Ohranger (adapted into Power Rangers Zeo), a monster sprayed a beam to make Humongous Mechas malfunction — which ultimately led to Near-Villain Victory.
  • Hyakujuu Sentai Gaoranger/Power Rangers Wild Force also had an episode where a monster controls people to dance with a flute.
  • Ninja Sentai Kakuranger: The Monster of the Week of the "Karakasa Dance Queen" episode is a humanoid Karakasa that tricks two pranksters into getting Saizo, Sekai, and Jiraiya to put on shoes that forces them to dance at her command.
  • Supernatural: "Out With The Old" features a pair of cursed ballet shoes. Once you put them on, you could not stop dancing and would dance faster and faster until your ankles snapped and your feet would be torn from your body. Even more insidious, just being near the shoes made you want to put them on.
  • In the That Mitchell and Webb Look S1E3 sketch T"he Green Clarinet", a mysterious stranger gives Alan an instrument that makes people sing and dance... and reveal embarrassing truths about themselves.
  • The Twilight Zone (1959) TOS episode "A Piano in the House". A player piano had the ability to bring out what's Beneath the Mask of a person listening to its music. One of the people affected secretly loved to dance, so she danced along to the music.
  • My Hero: Mrs Raven hypnotizes Arnie, Ella, Piers and Stanley into performing "YMCA" and "The Birdie Dance" (and other hypno-foolish things) by Trigger Phrases.
  • In the Star Trek episode "Plato's Stepchildren" this happens to the crew, resulting in one of the first interracial kisses on US television.
  • In the Friday the 13th: The Series "The Maestro", the cursed antique of the week was a music box who's melody forced the listener to dance themselves to death. Death occurred either though strain on the body or dancing into deadly situations, such as out a window.
  • Ultraman Mebius: Under "Hamelin Project", the earth defense team creates a Mind-Control Device that can make a monster follow orders, which can be as complicated as dancing. The episode goes wrong when another monster takes control of the device and gain command of yet another monster.
  • An episode of Criminal Minds had a deranged unsub dislocate people's limbs in order to make living marionettes. One creepy scene has him manipulating a woman he captured to dance like a marionette.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The Musical Episode involves a demon who makes the residents of Sunnydale (including the Scooby Gang) reveal their innermost feelings in song and dance. Those unable to contain these feelings are compelled to dance until they burn up completely.
  • This is the schtick of the Groovy Guru on Get Smart. Dancing is the first effect of his mind-controlling music.
  • Knightmare: The 'DANCE' spell. Also inflicted, a few series later, by Elita's Pan pipes.
  • LazyTown:
    • In the episode "Remote Control", Robbie Rotten makes Sportacus dance the "cha cha cha" with help from a remote control that controls everything.
    • Happens again in a episode called "Defeeted", where Robbie tricks Sportacus into wearing remote controlled boots. Later, when Sportacus is performing a stunt, Robbie activates the shoes and makes him trip and dance everywhere.
  • Batman: This happens to Batgirl after a bout with some Cossack thugs. They do get savvy after a while and use their sabers to force her into a little dance (well, Yvonne Craig was a trained dancer).

  • Harry Potter: The Dancing Feet Spell (Tarantallegra).
  • In a Homer Price short story everyone in town gets infected with a patter song-and-dance and has to start singing & dancing it. Homer realies the only cure is another song - one by Mark Twain ("Punch Brothers, Punch!"), which one forgets as soon as one tells it to someone else.
  • Happens to someone in Roger Zelazny's Manna from Heaven.
  • Happens in the Jiggy Mccue series.
  • The end of Nikolai Gogol's "The Lost Letter": the only thing that remains following his ordeal is the fact that once a year, on the date he met the group of demons, his wife has an uncontrollable urge to dance and does, with no way of stopping her.
  • In Mercedes Lackey's The Lark and the Wren, Rune forces the elves to dance to her fiddle.
  • In Incarnations of Immortality, Death once collected a soul at a party where someone had broken out a badly-enchanted guitar and pair of dancing shoes. They conferred superhuman playing and dancing skill respectively, but made no allowance for the performer having had enough, and the out-of-shape woman who tried the shoes suffered a fatal heart attack.

    Music Videos 
  • "Do It Again" by The Chemical Brothers: Two brothers use the hypnotic music to help them acquire money from a bank.
  • Steam Powered Giraffe, while performing the song "The Sound Of Tomorrow". The Jon would start playing and the other bots would dance uncontrollably, much to their dismay. Can be seen here [1].
  • "You're Gonna Go Far, Kid" by The Offspring: A plant goddess gives the peasant a magical guitar, with which he causes a scarecrow and townsfolk to start dancing uncontrollably. When he becomes selfish, the plant goddess punishes him by first forcing him to dance alone to the music, then dragging him into the ground through a whirlpool.
  • "Where Them Girls At" by David Guetta: The video shows giant bubbles which contain the song's beats, drifting across the streets of Los Angeles. When people burst the bubbles, they start dancing uncontrollably.
  • According to the lyrics, it is what's happening in the clip for "Dr. Beat" by Miami Sound Machine:
    I've got this fever
    That I can't control
    That I can't control.
    Music makes me move my body
    Makes me move my soul
    Makes me move my soul.
  • The music video for Fatboy Slim's "Ya Mama (Push the Tempo)" has a music that causes peoples to dance uncontrollably.
  • In the music video for Avicii's "Levels", an unknown substance causes its victims to dance uncontrollably.
  • Zigzagged in the full video for Poets of the Fall's "Drama for Life," where a singer is the People Puppet of his Mad Artist Ghost in the Machine, but as per the lyrics, the singer has resolved a Battle in the Center of the Mind by striking a compromise and becoming a Willing Channeler, exploiting and refining his one-time Enemy Within's loose choreography into something more precise.
  • Kate Bush's "The Red Shoes" is inspired by Hans Christian Andersen's story of the same name. In the video she is tricked into putting on a pair of red ballet shoes which cause her to dance uncontrollably.
    She gotta dance, she gotta dance
    And she can't stop 'till them shoes come off
    These shoes do, a kind of voodoo
    They're gonna make her dance 'till her legs fall off
  • Love the Way You Move by Slightly Left of Centre features some pretty funky Red Shoes developed by Soviet Super Science. The scientists first test it out on a robot, which explodes from the overload of funk. Next, they genetically modify a bear-wrestling Husky Russkie into a Super Soldier, who ends up dying when the dial gets turned up. The only one who is able to withstand the dancing shoes at their maximum setting is Vladimir Putin, who calmly dances and gestures for the lead scientist to turn up the funk three times, the last one requiring a three-man lock from the science team. He keeps dancing until the world explodes in a funky pink explosion while a cosmonaut on the moon salutes them.

    Myths & Religion 
  • Norwegian elves can teach to a fiddler the Elf-king's tune, which can make old and young, and even inanimate objects, dance. It cannot be stopped unless the player plays the tune backwards, or that someone comes behind him and cuts the strings of his fiddle.
  • The Strömkarl has eleven different measures, to ten of which alone people may dance; the eleventh belongs to the night spirit his host. If any one plays it, tables and benches, cans and cups, old men and women, blind and lame, even the children in the cradle, begin to dance.
  • In Ireland, it was believed that fairy changelings often produced a set of small bagpipes from under the clothes and played dance music upon them, till the inmates of the cottage dropped with exhaustion from the effects of the step dancing they were compelled to engage in.
  • The Fair Folk's dances are very, very, very dangerous. Mortals who see them are often caught up in the dancing and are unable to stop. The lucky ones don't crumble into dust when it finally ends. One folk explanation of tuberculosis was that its victims were forced to dance every night at the fairy hills, and wasted away for the lack of sleep.
  • In the Swedish legend of the Hårgadance a mysterious fiddler turned up one day in the village of Hårga during a celebration and started playing a song on his violin that made everyone dance enthusiastically. Too late, the people realized that the man, who they now saw had a goat's leg, was the Devil himself. They were unable to stop dancing and kept doing so while the fiddler led them up the nearby Hårgamountain. There, he kept playing until everyone had been killed and their bodies torn to bits by the intense dancing. The top of Hårgamountain is still flat to this day because of the wild dance.
  • Sir Thomas Wallace of Craigie and Walter Whiteford come across a house in which the wife is brewing ale. The wife serves Sir Thomas a drink, however she is terrified of the Laird who looks like the Devil and refuses him entry. The Laird responds by taking a "pin" and reciting a charm he placed it above the doorway, resulting in a spell that forced the wife to dance and sing uncontrollably. The workers return from the fields and they too are in turn bewitched as they pass under the "pin", until the Laird removes it and is invited to drink by the relieved householders.
  • Oberon's magic horn causes this.
  • Scandinavian elves are capable of dancing a man to death.
  • Slavic mythology has a rusalka, a water-nymph. Also known as a wili.

    Puppet Shows 
  • There is an episode of Dinosaurs in which Robbie is involuntarily doing the mating dance anytime he is around a girl he likes.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • The spell Otto's irresistible dance force the victim to dance for a short time. It's quite high-level because it allows No Saving Throw.
    • The Boots of Dancing are a cursed item that act like another kind of useful magic boots until the wearer is in combat. Then he starts dancing against his will, and the boots can't be removed without magic.
    • Grigs can play a tune on their fiddles that causes other creatures to dance uncontrollably.
    • Each week, the korred have a holiday where they dance and play music. Anyone who interrupts the dance must start dancing themselves, losing 1-4 Hit Points per minute until they die, are restrained or the korred leave the area.
    • Basic D&D monsters includes the tarantella, a Giant Spider whose venomous bite would cause the victim to dance uncontrollably. And then those watching said victim can be compelled to join.
    • Of course, any spellcaster can induce this through your average mind-control magic if feeling cheeky. The suggestion and mass suggestion spells, for example, last for hours, and having the victims dance can easily be the first choice of a Quirky Bard.
  • The Masque of Slaanesh in Warhammer/Warhammer 40,000 is a daemonette of Slaanesh who angered her master and was cursed to dance for all eternity. Anybody who sees her dancing is forced to dance along, even to the point of dying from exhaustion.

  • In the 2017-version of Portal 2: The Unauthorized Musical, GLaDOS does this to Chell, Wheatley and the other cores during "I'm Alive". She treats them like People Puppets, forcing them to dance with her and bow to her. They are visibly distressed by this, going as far as to pull, push and pound on their own legs in an attempt to get them unstuck from the ground.
  • In The Magic Flute, Papageno's magic bells cause Monostatos and his servants to stop attempting to capture Papageno and Pamina and start dancing.
  • Giselle: A girl who is jilted and dies before her wedding night is turned into a wili and seeks revenge upon men by dancing them to death.
  • Some musical adaptations of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz contain the song "The Jitterbug", during which The Jitterbug puts a magical influence on the characters, forcing them to dance the Jitterbug frenetically.
  • Hunter × Hunter: In both musicals, Hisoka uses his Bungee Gum strings to make the characters dance.

    Theme Parks 

    Video Games 
  • Realms of Arkania: Star Trail had a spell that would render an opponent into a wild dance, incapable of doing anything when the caster's friends move in for the coup de grace.
  • Space Channel 5: The whole plot is about the villains getting people into and Ulala rescuing them from this trope. In the first game it's an alien invasion. In the second game it's robots controlled by a Gadgeteer Genius who's enslaving people so they can serve as a power source for his dance-powered laser.
  • Klonoa Beach Volleyball: Joka's Special Attack, Chaotic Dance; after he hits the ball, Joka's opponents will suddenly start dancing, and eventually trip.
  • Puyo Puyo: Panotti's flute.
  • Dragon Quest:
    • The series has an ability called Entice Dance/Lure Dance/Sultry Dance that causes the target to uncontrollably break out into a jig. Play VIII and Monsters: Joker (or newer) to see how it works.
    • In the roguelike spin-off series Fushigi no Dungeon, said ability causes a negative status effect called "Dance" that prevents a character from taking most actions.
  • Darkstalkers: Lilith's Super Move, Gloomy Puppet Show; Lilith tosses a top hat at her foe, if it contacts them, they find themselves on a platform, dancing helplessly as Lilith's player taps buttons.
  • Lost Saga: Capoeira's "Atabeque" makes your opponent dance towards you.
  • League of Legends: Sona's ultimate is a wave of sound that causes targets to dance uncontrollably for several seconds, long enough for your team-mates to land a killing blow (or escape, depending on the tide of battle).
  • Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction introduces the Groovitron, a miniature disco-ball shaped device that forces every enemies on the screen to dance until it runs its course. Notable in that every species and even significant NPC has a unique reaction to it— you even get a skill point for targeting everything that can dance.
    • In the sequel game, Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack In Time, you disguise yourself as Dr. Nefarious at one point. While disguised, you can give various orders to the robots working under you, one of which is, "Dance."
  • Final Fantasy X-2: Yuna takes back her Garment Grid. However, as the Grid has recorded the emotions of the previous user, she finds herself dancing uncontrollably, and overcome by someone else's excitement.
  • Evil Genius: Eli Barracuda plays a boombox with hypnotic suggestion that causes people around him to uncontrollably break out into dance.
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: "The Dancer's flute" is said to have this power.
  • Mega Man Star Force: Cygnus Wing attacks the Amaken Science Centre causing people to dance uncontrollably in the Space Simulation, with the limited oxygen supply in the space suits threatening the lives of his victims.
  • Quest for Glory I: At night, you can find a group of faeries gathered near a ring of mushrooms. They want you to dance for them, and you can do so voluntarily in a serene and graceful way. Telling them "No" or walking into their ring of mushrooms will make them angry, and they will force the hero to dance wildly until he dies.
  • Dungeons & Dragons Online: Compared to tabletop D&D, DDO also adds an Otto's Resistable Dance (allows a saving throw, but much lower level), and Sphere of Dancing, an area-of-effect crowd control spell that creates a disco ball and techno music. Most monsters remain vulnerable to dancing, even at high level, and all have a special dancing animation to account for it.
  • Ape Escape series
    • In 3, the character gains Arabian-esque outfit and the control of a genie who can teleport and make monkeys dance.
    • In Pumped & Primed and Million Monkeys, Leo does some funky dance steps and causes everyone to be incapacitated by the light of the disco ball.
  • Michael Jackson's Moonwalker has Michael's Dance Magic Smart Bomb special, which causes all enemies to dance along with him before disappearing.
  • Killer Instinct has this as a finishing move if you beat an opponent without losing you first health bar. It's hard to say if it's truly involuntary for some of the victims....
  • Constructor has Hippie Undesirables, which can be sent to a rival's territory to stage an impromptu street dance party, causing all characters that enter the area to start dancing. Cops will be unable to grab the Hippie for the same reason. Very useful just after damaging one of the rival's buildings with the Hippie preventing construction workers from fixing the damage before the building blows.
  • Super Hero Squad Online: Several power attacks will make enemy characters dance for a few seconds, leaving them vulnerable to attack while preventing them from attacking you.
  • LEGO The Lord of the Rings:
    • In The Lord of the Rings, equipping a treasure called the "Disco Phial" allows you to see in the dark, while causing everyone in the immediate area to dance uncontrollably — which can be a pain if you're in multiplayer mode and your partner does this. It also changes the music to an electronic Stupid Statement Dance Mix using lines from all three movies. This continues until you put the Phial away.
    • The Hobbit has the Mithril Rhythm Stick, which plays a dubstep remix and causes players to dance. Using this and the Dazzle Wig and Mithril Dance Boots treasures together will give you the "Lord of the Prance" achievement.
  • Saints Row IV has the Dubstep Gun, where if it's fired, every nearby person and even the cars will dance. Even the corpses dance if the gun is pointed at them!
  • In Goat Simulator, one of the special Mutations is Deadgoa7. This mutation's special ability involved everyone nearby entering their dance animation no matter what they're doing at that moment.
  • Onechanbara Z Kagura With NoNoNo!: Part of NoNoNo's power is to forcibly make zombies and other abomination dance with her.
  • King's Quest III: To Heir Is Human: Manannan's idea of punishing Gwydion is to force him to do the Y.M.C.A. dance.
  • Street Fighter EX series: Pullum Purna's Meteor Combo.
  • The ending to Star Wars: DroidWorks has you reprogram an army of assassin droids into dancing droids.
  • Heroes of the Storm:
    • Similar to Sona from League of Legends above, E.T.C. has an ultimate that forces nearby enemies to dance for a while as he jams his guitar. He himself also cannot move during the show, but at least his team mates still can.
    • A talent upgrade at lv20 lets him powerslide while doing it to catch stragglers. An alternate upgrade causes him to use it upon death, rocking on from beyond the grave.
  • Edel Bernal from Super Robot Wars Z is in fact an Artificial Human with a Trigger Phrase implanted. The creator reveals this as he commands his puppet to bark and dance in the middle of the final battle.
  • Turok: The ever-popular "Disco Mode" cheat code in the first game would make all the regular enemies dance and never attack you. Including the dinosaurs.
  • Victor Vran: Going too close to the dancing skeletons makes Victor stuck in a dancing animation identical to theirs (which is... the Gangnam Style dance), which makes him unable to attack (though he still can move). The effects disappears after a couple of seconds if he manages to go far enough (easier said than done, since they follow him).
  • In Dragon Ball Xenoverse, Para Para Boogie from Dragon Ball GT appears under the name "Dancing Parapara" as a Super Skill. Like its debut appearance, its main purpose is to leave the opponent wide open to either a follow-up attack or an allied fighter.
  • In the Borderlands DLC "Claptrap's New Robot Revolution", when Commandant Steele is brought back to life as a half-Claptrap cyborg, she finds out, much to her frustration, that The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body and she can't stop herself from dancing near-constantly as Claptraps tend to do. The other dead bosses that were similarly brought back to life don't have this problem for some reason.
  • Luigi's Final Smash in Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Ashley in the fourth game use an Area of Effect power inducing several side effects to players caught in it, one of them forcing the characters to perform a taunt.
  • One of the enemies in the original ToeJam & Earl is a hula dancer that will make Toejam and Earl dance uncontrollably for a few seconds if they get too close to her. There's also the Boombox item, which will distract Earthlings by making them dance.
  • Merasmus the Magician from Team Fortress 2 randomly casts curses on players, one of which is "DANCE OFF".
  • Saturn Dyer in Star Gladiator has a super move that forces his opponent to dance along with him... only to receive a whack on the head once they are done!
  • In Crusader Kings 2, a rare event can get your character infected by the dancing plague, which can cause you to die of exhaustion.
  • Weaponized in Fortnite with the Boogie Bomb, an "explosive" weapon that forces anyone caught in its radius to dance for a few seconds. Including yourself and your teammates, so do be careful when throwing it not to get caught in the blast and sniped while helpless.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 

    Web Videos 
  • Flander's Company: This is the primary superpower of wannabe supervillain Kevin (along with creating his own music and light effects). His "groove" is so intense that when he starts dancing, others feel compelled to follow. He mostly aims at incapacitating, though he uses the power once to drag an opponent through a window. Unfortunately, a strong-willed enough enemy (like Sadoman) can break the influence, and then it gets painful for Kevin.
  • In Noob, Tenshirock the Hacker's favorite means of making a player's life hell is to block their avatar in dancing mode. And if the player happens to have gotten on his bad side recently, they'll be lucky if their avatar is wearing anything else than underwear (webseries and novels) or a silly costume (comic) during the process.

    Western Animation 
  • The Penguins of Madagascar: When King Julien's "groove" is magically transferred to Skipper, he starts dancing uncontrollably. Later he becomes a Dance Battler.
  • The Simpsons:
    • "Duffless": In a Dream Sequence, Bart wins first prize at a Science Fair with a Go-Go Ray which makes people dance.
    • "The Debarted": Bart puts pieces of metal in Principal Skinner's shoes, then uses magnets under the school stage to make him move and dance around.
    • "Last Tap Dance in Springfield": Professor Frink puts a clap-activated device in Lisa's dancing shoes to give her dancing skills. But when the audience at her dance recital applauds her dancing she dances more, and they applaud more, and she dances more-more, and they applaud more-more, etc.
  • On the Classic Disney Short "Trick or Treat", a witch casts a spell on Donald Duck after he swallows the key to the pantry where he hid all the Halloween candy. The spell makes his feet dance and kick in an attempt to remove the key, while the witch accompanies on the banjo.
  • Kim Possible has an episode where she and Ron end up hypnotized and being ordered to dance by Señor Senior Junior.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • "The Cutie Pox" is an illness which causes random cutie marks to appear all over the ponies' bodies, forcing them to continually perform the talents that came with them. One of the marks which afflicts Apple Bloom is a red shoe (representing tap dancing), a Shout-Out to The Red Shoes.
    • In "The Magic Duel", Trixie makes Pinkie Pie dance with a spell.
    • An interesting variation occurs briefly occurs in "Three's a Crowd". Near the end of Discord's song "Glass of Water", he makes Twilight Sparkle dance with him. It's a little unsettling.
  • In an episode of Pinky and the Brain, both mice are subjected to Pavlovian conditioning, and every time a bell rings, Pinky does That Russian Squat Dance while Brain sings "I'm a Little Teapot" complete with actions.
  • The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3: The Doom Dancer Music Box made anyone who could hear it dance uncontrollably. This became a plot point as Koopa, who had a cold, couldn't hear it and thus wasn't affected when Bully tried it on him.
  • The Smurfs has a magic flute and Smurfette's dancing shoes.
  • Darkwing Duck: Comet Guy has a Weaksauce Weakness: the sound of a bell makes him dance, and he cannot stop dancing until he hears a whistle.
  • Phineas and Ferb: In "Out of Toon", Dr. Doofenshmirtz attempted to create a ray that would dry his clothes after his dryer broke, but instead made one that made anything hit with it dance. As Perry the Platypus tries to destroy the ray, it goes out of control and hits Doofenshmirtz and Perry, causing them to dance together.
    Dr. Doofenshmirtz: To add insult to injury, the platypus is leading.
  • Motorcity: This is one of the first things Tooley does with the people wearing Kane Safety Suits. Later, this happens to him when he's in a suit that was hacked by the Burners.
  • George of the Jungle (the 2008 series): Every time Ape hears the sound of Mitch's bongos he dances uncontrollably, which results in mass insanity and the destruction of their Tree House.
  • An episode of Make Way for Noddy has Sly and Gobbo sell the inhabitants of Toyland a dust which everyone puts on their feet that makes them dance whenever Sly and Gobbo play music from a box. This allows them to commit crimes in Toyland while everyone is dancing.
  • The Adventures Of T Rex: Mind-Control Music makes everybody obsessed with dancing.
  • In Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated, Rude Boy and the Ska-Tastics hypnotizes party goers at the local nightclub to dance to their music.
  • The Looney Tunes Porky Pig short "The Wearing of the Grin", two Leprechauns make Porky wear Green Shoes that make him dance an Irish jig uncontrollably. Fortunately for Porky, it was All Just a Dream. (Well, maybe...)
  • Adventure Time: The piglets put this spell on Jake and the Mushroom People in "The Pods".
  • In the pilot of Sofia the First, Amber purposely gives Sofia trick shoes which make her dance oddly. They are not clingy themselves, but it is hard to take them off while forced to do a leg lift.
  • In the Aladdin: The Series episode "Never Say Nefir", a dancing rhinoceros is destroying the city of Getzistan every night because of the magic shoes that force him to dance uncontrollably whenever he hears music. Sultan's contractor Nefir is the culprit, and he later put magic shoes on Genie in an attempt to destroy the city twice as fast. Aladdin and his friends play soft music (making them dance away softly) and Nefir has his imps play louder and faster (making them dance too fast), which cause their shoes to explode. The next day, Nefir and his imps are forced to dance with the shoes in the floor show.
  • Miraculous Ladybug: Guitar Villain's primary attack on civilian victims is to make them dance against their will to his rock tunes.
  • Mike, Lu & Og: In "Flustering Footwear Flotsam", Og wears red tap shoes that for some reason, cause him to dance non-stop.
  • Teen Titans: Cyborg is subjected to one as a bear in "Bunny Raven".
  • Kaeloo: In Episode 132, Kaeloo forces Mr. Cat to join her and the others in having fun by turning on some Zumba music. He ties himself to a tree in order to escape, but the ropes break and he soon finds himself involuntarily doing Zumba with them.
  • Let's Go Luna!: Luna's number one weakness is that she involuntarily starts dancing whenever she hears music. Downplayed in this case since Luna's involuntary dancing is just a reflex rather than another character's doing.

    Real Life 
  • This is actually a real phenomenon.
  • This suggestion is common in stage hypnosis.
  • Tarantulas got their name from the Tarantella dance. Sufferers of spider bites believed that dancing would combat the venom (in reality, the bites in question mostly came from Lycosa Tarantulas, which are not true tarantulas and whose venom is mostly harmless to humans). This led to an odd hysterical behavior known as Tarantism, where spider bite sufferers would dance in a frenzy until collapsing from exhaustion.
  • The Dancing Plague of France.


Video Example(s):


Avicii - Levels

Avicii's character is taken to a hospital, and a mysterious flower sprouts out of his mouth which causes the workers to start dancing.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

Main / InvoluntaryDance

Media sources:

Main / InvoluntaryDance