Follow TV Tropes


Summon Backup Dancers

Go To
Whenever it's time for a musical number, the lead dancer and singer (whether hero or villain) can usually pull any Innocent Bystanders into a Crowd Song, and thanks to Spontaneous Choreography have them all dance and sing in perfect sync.

Some leads can go a step further. Rather than make do with whoever is nearby, or go solo if there's no one else around, they can Summon Backup Dancers from out of sight, bringing a battalion of ballerinas to dance at their side. To make this more impressive, they'll usually be summoned directly from the Universe of Wardrobe and Costuming after having been fitted in perfectly appropriate attire for the song in question.

This power seems to come integrated to characters who are Dancing Royalty. If this trope applies to an enemy, it's an Enemy Summoner or Mook Maker. Shoot it immediately.

This trope isn't usually a magical spell that can summon dancers like a wizard can summon monsters (though in a wacky enough series, it may well explicitly be one), more often it's an implicit rule of the cosmos. Anyone who goes into a musical number will get accompaniment, even if it requires the Spontaneous Generation of said dancers from hard vacuum. Other times, it can be humorously justified by the lead in question training friends, allies or subordinates beforehand and instructing them to hide out of sight and march out on cue for their big song.

If this is a magical ability of some type, the backup dancers may help out by dance battling alongside the summoner.


    open/close all folders 


    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • In Scott Pilgrim, Evil Ex #1 Matt Patel can summon Demon Hipster Chicks to help him cast his flaming hand attack. In the videogame, these attack the player.

    Films — Animated 
  • In Shrek 2, the Fairy Godmother enchanted Fiona's furniture to sing along with her about giving Fiona a makeover.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Giselle's Disney-Princess magic in Enchanted turns the jaded denizens of New York into her backup chorus, leaving her stodgy love-interest baffled that everyone seems to know the same song. "I've never heard this song!"
  • In The Mask, the titular character does this to a SWAT team that is going after him.
  • Just like in the series, Matthew Patel summons his demon hipster chicks in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. Given that Patel is inspired by Bollywood, it is quite appropriate.
  • In North during the Texas song a group of back up singers and dancers appear out of nowhere. This is justified as it was All Just a Dream.
  • In Leprechaun in the Hood, the Leprechaun uses his powers to make the people in a night club sing and dance for him.
  • Happens during Janki's Item Number "Badi Mushkil" in Lajja.
  • In The Blues Brothers, when Ray Charles plays "Shake a Tail Feather", passersby in the street start dancing, and the crowd quickly grows as people rush in from all sides. They proceed to demonstrate the different 1960s dance styles that are mentioned in the lyrics. You see those people on the elevated train station way in the back? They weren't involved in the shoot. They were waiting for a train, saw what was going on, and joined in.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Nicely played with in Buffy the Vampire Slayer's Musical Episode, "Once More With Feeling", as Buffy's confronting, via a musical number, the demon responsible for the whole mess...
    Giles: She needs backup! Anya, Tara!
    (Anya and Tara take backup dancer positions and join in)
    • Played straight earlier when Tara is singing her love song to Willow "Under Your Spell". While dancing through the park she passes near two other girls resting by the pond who are magically compelled to rise to their feet and start dancing behind her.
    • Giles also mentions, almost inaudibly under something Anya is saying, the synchronised dancing from the room service chappies, so clearly something was going on there.
  • Ryutaros from Kamen Rider Den-O not only has a summonable group of breakdancers (one of whom was the Victim of the Week for Ryuta's spotlight arc), but his powers include the ability to make everyone nearby dance along with his theme music. In The Movie (the first one), he even summons a kick line of chorus girls.
  • Multiple times in Avataro Sentai Donbrothers, when Momotaros transforms into his red ranger form, out of nowhere he's carried out sitting on his motorcycle the Enya Rideon while 2 women dance in front of him and a third throws confetti everywhere to announce his arrival.
  • Almost too obvious an example is Glee. They don't do it all the time, since they actually have cast that are backup dancers, but there was a scene in the outdoor cafeteria that did that, and one in a mall, where bystanders joined in the action. Most notable are the Troubletones dancers who appeared in Chicago without riding in the team bus (which had plenty of room to spare for them).
  • Lampshaded in one Robert Townsend HBO special where they did a parody cop show with Prince and Michael Jackson as partners. When outnumbered by criminals, Michael summoned his backup dancers. They got shot and proceeded to give him a What the Hell, Hero?.
  • In the game show Pak De Poen De Show Van 1 Miljoen the game show host is constantly announcing when a dancer/singer is about to perform.
  • The backup dancers on Kids Incorporated mainly appeared in Imagine Spot numbers and/or playing instruments on stage and rarely appeared outside of performances or got any significant focus in an episodenote 

    Music Video 
  • A very, very big chunk.
  • In the music video of Sara Bareilles' "Gonna Get Over You," she doesn't so much as summon her backup dancers as more infect the shoppers of a Mexican supermarket, turning them into her leather jacket-clad minions.
    • Also done, violently, in Lordi's Hard Rock Hallelulaj.
  • Bubble Butt: One of Buttzilla's apparent powers is to blow bubbles that unleash a whole troupe of female backup dancers to do Three Minutes of Writhing. She also eats one of these dancers at the end.
  • Reba McEntire: Played for Laughs in "Take it Back." Reba puts her cheating boyfriend on trial for his infidelity, and the entire thing turns into a Kangaroo Court as she charms the jury and bailiffs into being her back-up dancers and the judge takes the bridge on saxophone that was entered into evidence. The boyfriend's defense attorney can only bury his face in his hands in defeat.


    Professional Wrestling 
  • The Osirian Portal can cause temporary partners, random bystanders and even opponents to join in their dances through mass hypnosis.
  • Syuri can literally summon backup dances in the form of Apple Tale.

  • Happens twice in Cesare - Il Creatore che ha distrutto, a musical about Cesare Borgia when he was 16 and in school:
    • First, when Archbishop Raffaele Riario sings about how much he loves beautiful art, and how Cesare's black hair is so beautiful and how he looks like Donatello's David, he is accompanied by five androgynous dancers out of the aether.
    • Later, when Cesare sings about Sandro Botticelli's Primavera, three dancers styled like the painting dance around him, and the painting is projected onto the scenery. This is a more solemn song, as it alludes to what Italy, and the world, stand to lose with the death of Lorenzo de'Medici, who is very ill.
  • In the filmed performance of the second High School Star Musical stage musical (StarMyuMyu), During the first adlib portion when Tengenji is looking for his cat, when he finds her, he begins singing his love song to her (yes, the cat) from the first musical. The backup dancers quickly respond, with the dance that goes to the song. Hoshitani comes in as scripted... and they just keep dancing. He has to shoo them offstage, but the last one really didn't want to go.
  • Peter Townshend tried to make this Averted in the 1993 Broadway version of Tommy (in his words: "no fucking dancing"). Yet, dancing there was.
  • Pippin does this most obviously in "Kind of Woman," which brings a bunch of adoring backup singers over to Catherine's side. They disappear right after the song finishes, leaving her alone with Pippin as before (but not really, since the show has No Fourth Wall).
  • In Shrek: The Musical, Fiona usually summons the dancing rats with the Pied Piper's flute in "Morning Person".


    Web Comics 
  • There was a Sinfest strip where Slick and Co. tried to face off against a G-Man in a dance-battle - but when they were done, he just snapped his fingers to summon two other, similarly-dressed guys to act as his backup-dancers for a modified rendition of Here Come The Men In Black.

    Web Original 
  • Ink City: When Yakko and Rigby break into their "The Villain Sucks" Song "Pretty Fly (For a Toon Guy)", the first thing Yakko does is summon some random backup singers/dancers. (Trevor is completely distracted by this, and tries to charm the girls into defecting to his side, to no avail.)
  • On The LXD, Sp3cimen has this power. When fighting other dancers, he can summon around four backup dancers who help him power up his Ra blasts and provide cool visual effects.

    Western Animation 
  • Phineas and Ferb
    • Invoked in the song Rubber Bands, Rubber Balls as Baljeet's uncle, Sabu, summons his factory workers as backup dancers.
    • Backup dancers sometimes appear if Doofenshirmitz tells Perry this week's Backstory in song; he explicitly hired them at least twice. The trope is sometimes justified only by Rule Of Don't Be So Pedantic, It's A Cartoon, such as when Baljeet sings about his fear a bad grade if he fails to make a portal to Mars - he summons not just backup dancers, but scenery and elephants too!
  • An episode of The Boondocks shows us Tom pining over Sara after she throws him out of the house. He then breaks into an Usher-style love song in the middle of the street, complete with back-up dancers who appear to be just neighborhood guys in their robes and pajamas. They perform perfectly until they are almost hit by a car.
  • The Music Meister's superpower in Batman: The Brave and the Bold is to hypnotize people with this singing. He thus makes backup dancers out of a horde of supervillains and superheroes.
  • The We Bare Bears short "Panda's Dream" involves Panda having a series of Imagine Spots about confronting a guy who cut in line at the video game store. The third and final one leads to a K-pop dance-off where two girls appear out of nowhere to dance with Panda, and then a few more bystanders randomly join in.
  • In the Daria Musical Episode's final song, "Morning in the 'Burbs (Reprise)," most of the show's secondary characters, as well as some Recurring Extras, inexplicably show up in front of Daria's house to turn it into a Massive Multiplayer Ensemble Number.


Video Example(s):


Simon Zealotes

Intro part of the Simon Zealotes song in the '73 film.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / SummonBackupDancers

Media sources: