• Before making a single edit, Tropedia EXPECTS our site policy and manual of style to be followed. Failure to do so may result in deletion of contributions and blocks of users who refuse to learn to do so. Our policies can be reviewed here.
  • All images MUST now have proper attribution, those who neglect to assign at least the "fair use" licensing to an image may have it deleted. All new pages should use the preloadable templates feature on the edit page to add the appropriate basic page markup. Pages that don't do this will be subject to deletion, with or without explanation.
  • All new trope pages will be made with the "Trope Workshop" found on the "Troper Tools" menu and worked on until they have at least three examples. The Trope workshop specific templates can then be removed and it will be regarded as a regular trope page after being moved to the Main namespace. THIS SHOULD BE WORKING NOW, REPORT ANY ISSUES TO Janna2000, SelfCloak or RRabbit42. DON'T MAKE PAGES MANUALLY UNLESS A TEMPLATE IS BROKEN, AND REPORT IT THAT IS THE CASE. PAGES WILL BE DELETED OTHERWISE IF THEY ARE MISSING BASIC MARKUP.


WikEd fancyquotes.pngQuotesBug-silk.pngHeadscratchersIcons-mini-icon extension.gifPlaying WithUseful NotesMagnifier.pngAnalysisPhoto link.pngImage LinksHaiku-wide-icon.pngHaikuLaconic
File:DancingZombies2 2442.jpg

The Dead Can Dance + Mook Maker = You're boned.

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 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.

Examples of Summon Backup Dancers include:

Anime and Manga

  • Extra ballerinas appear out of nowhere from time to time in Princess Tutu.

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.


  • In Shrek 2, the Fairy Godmother enchanted Fiona's furniture to sing along with her about giving Fiona a makeover.
  • 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.
  • Just like in the series, Matthew Patel summons his demon hipster chicks in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.
  • In North during the Texas song a group of back up singers and dancers appear out of nowhere, this is justified 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.
  • Happen's during Janki's Item Number "Badi Mushkil" in Lajja
  • Simon Zealotes explicitly does this in the 1973 version of Jesus Christ Superstar.

Live Action TV


 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 compelled to rise to their feet and start dancing behind her.
  • 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.

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.


  • Averted in the 1993 Broadway version of Tommy, in accordance with composer Pete Townshend's strict instructions to collaborator Des McAnuff that there be "no fucking dancing."
  • Pippin does this most obviously in "Kind of Woman," which brings a bunch of adoring backup singers come to Catherine's side. They disappear when the song is over, leaving her alone with Pippin as before (but not really, since the show has No Fourth Wall).


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.)

Western Animation

  • Invoked in Phineas and Ferb, in the song Rubber Bands, Rubber Balls, 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.