Magic Dance

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

A Dance Battler uses his dancing techniques as a means of fighting, overpowering his opponents with unpredictable movements, all while looking cool.

So, of course, there's a wizard version: Functional Magic or some other kind of power(s) that, instead of vocal recitations or drawings and diagrams, require specific body movements and rhythms to be activated. More often used by Magic Knights than by Squishy Wizards, given the more physical nature of its use.

Compare with Magic Music. Also see Full-Contact Magic. May be aided by or result in Summon Backup Dancers.

Examples of Magic Dance include:



  • One of the more common complaints about The Last Airbender film was that the elemental bending was portrayed in a way that less resembled martial arts, and more resembled interpretative dance.


  • Alfred, and indeed all his fellow Sartan, of Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman's The Death Gate Cycle. Justified that the Sartan use magic runes, and drawing them on the floor by dancing them is a viable means of spellcasting.
  • Magic Steps, the first in Tamora Pierce's The Circle Opens books, is about a boy whose powers are related to dance.
  • The serpents and falcons in Amelia Atwater-Rhodes's Kiesha'ra series started with the ability to use magic by dancing. The serpents lost this ability after their schism with the falcons, but the falcons are still able to harness magic in this manner.
  • In The Witch of Portobello, by Paulo Coelho, Athena's witchcraft involves dances.
  • In P.C. Hodgell's Chronicles of the Kencyrath, the senetha, the ritual dance of the Kencyr people, is used to channel the energy emitted by Kencyr temples and can be used for powerful magical ends, including the reaping of souls on a grand scale.
  • Naturally, this has made an appearance in The Dresden Files. The Badass Magical Native American Listens-to-Wind used dancing as a catalyst for spells against the skinwalker. And proceeded to "kick [its] ass up between [its] ears".

Tabletop Games

  • Dungeons & Dragons has the Spoony Bard class, who uses performances to access his arcane magic. One of them is dance.
    • Sadly, the performance for spells has to have a sound component.
      • ...But that doesn't rule out TAPDANCING!
    • The Kalamar D&D setting introduced a dance-specialized variant bard, specifically to resolve the issues with Perform (Dance) as an catalyst for bardic music abilities.
    • The Forgotten Realms setting also had the Spelldancer, once a favorite of the Character Optimization boards, that could increase the power of spells by dancing for a few rounds.
  • GURPS includes dance magic as a type of limitation on magery.
  • The Masque of Slaanesh in Warhammer Fantasy Battle/40k 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 Exalted, pretty much any Performance Charm will work with dancing just as well as speechmaking, music, or any other performance. Want to stop an army in its tracks with a waltz? Go for it, and have a 2-die stunt while you're at it.
    • Also, the demon Stanewald has an arsenal of magical dances. The weakest one can make stone walls more breakable. The second-strongest can cause a castle to melt into lava. No mortal has ever seen the strongest one.
  • In Deadlands, shamans perform rituals to gain power. One of the possibilities is the dance ritual, which can be anything from a couple of minutes to a night-long ceremony with multiples dancers and musicians.
  • One metamagic skill available to Initiate-grade magic-users in Shadowrun is Centering, which is done using a skill of the character's choice, performed during the casting to make it easier in some way. One of the example skills -- and one of the most commonly-chosen -- is Dance.

Video Games

  • The sending dance in Final Fantasy X.
  • The Songstress in Final Fantasy X-2 uses dance-type moves to causes status effects on enemies.
  • Quest for Glory has dancing fairies that may kill the player if ticked off.
  • Fire Emblem has the Dancer class that is able to dance for another unit, allowing it an extra move. Especially notable in that regard is Ninian from FE 7, which is central to the plot (her brother Nils does pretty much the same thing, but with a song)
  • This is the entire mechanic of Dance Dance Revolution Mario Mix.
  • Mog of Final Fantasy VI has dance as his special skill, which he uses to cast a variety of terrain-based magic
  • The Dragon Quest series has a few abilities that are this trope. Depending on the game, they are usable by the player or are enemy-only.
  • Super Smash Bros Brawl has Luigi's final smash, done by confusedly spinning in place.
    • Peach also dances during her Final Smash, putting opponents to sleep.
  • Space Channel 5 has a "Simon Says" version of this. Everything is done by dancing.
  • This is Peppita's battle style in Star Ocean: Till the End of Time, accompanied by Instant Runes.
  • A 2008 April Fool's joke for World of Warcraft claimed that a Bard class would soon be added to the game using this trope (manifesting in a Guitar Hero-style minigame). More to the point, some of the ingame holidays allow players to perform dances for special benefits (such as the Ribbon Dance during the Midsummer Festival, which boosts the performers experience gain). See here for more details.
  • The Dancer class in Ragnarok Online can cause a number of effects this way.
  • Jean from Lunar: Eternal Blue is introduced as a dancer, and discovers that she can adapt her dance moves for combat. Only later do we learn she's a martial artist with a dark secret.


  • In Erfworld, a high-level croakamancer can use Magic Dance to confer dance fighting bonuses to her hordes of uncroaked troops. (It can also be done without magic among the living, but that's Dance Battler.)

Web Original

  • The Whateley Universe's Fey used an ancient Magic Dance to seduce some fire elementals into helping her, during her Christmas story.

Western Animation

  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, Aang and Zuko perform a dance-like fire bending ritual to summon two of the last dragons. It turned out this was a part of Aang's fire-bending training.