The main raw material to make it is silver.
When the Powder is burned, it emits a mist-like vapor that rises up in the air. It speeds up the creation of ice particles in sub-freezing temperature clouds, resulting in near immediate heavy rainfall.
The process in which the artificial rain is created artificially matures clouds that aren't ready to rain yet. The clouds would have rained on their own, but at a later time and most likely in a different location.
When Dance Powder is used, all of the water contained within these clouds would all be used up. Because of this, other countries and locations who would have naturally benefited from the rainfall when these clouds naturally matured would be greatly deprived of rain.
Dance Powder was created long ago by a country that had no rain. The original creators of this powder called it Dance Powder, because it would make them dance with joy with all the rain that it would create. Despite the rain it created however, the powder unfortunately caused long periods of drought in other countries.
The controversy that the Powder brought whenever it was used started a war. The amount of lives lost in this war was so great, the World Government prohibited the manufacturing, possession, and use of Dance Powder worldwide.
The Arabasta Scandal
Dance Powder is first mentioned when Vivi and the Straw Hat Pirates paid a visit to Erumalu, a town that was once green but has long since been swallowed up by sand due to the nationwide drought. Three years before the present story line, some delivery men, who were actually Baroque Works agents in disguise, brought a large shipment of Dance Powder to Erumalu's port. They staged an accident in which the cart broke apart and the sacks containing the Dance Powder ripped open and the Powder spilled out. The agents then lied that the king had ordered for the powder to be delivered to Alubarna, the city where it rained the most. They then fled leaving all those who witnessed the staged accident to doubt the king.
A large scandal then arose around King Cobra as suspicions that he had been stealing all of the country's rain came about because of the incident in Erumalu. This scandal was further intensified when large amounts of Dance Powder were somehow brought into and discovered in Cobra's palace. Crocodile, the leader of Baroque Works, then further intensified the scandal by using the Full to process large quantities of Dance Powder to create a drought in Arabasta.
As a result, the people of Arabasta blamed the king for the drought. As towns dried up and people starved, a rebellion was stirred up to overthrow Cobra for a crime he did not commit.
- In a response to a fan who asked if Dance Powder was based on the same concept of using jets to get rid of rainclouds so people in England can play tennis matches at Wimbledon, Oda revealed his basis for Dance Powder. The model for Dance Powder is the real life compound, silver iodide, a substance that, when burned, will send up smoke that increases the size of clouds.
- One Piece Manga and Anime — Vol. 18 Chapter 161 (p. 8-17) and Episode 96, How Dance Powder is used and the effect of its presence in Arabasta is explained by Vivi.
- One Piece Manga and Anime — Vol. 19 Chapter 172 (p. 16) and Episode 107, Crocodile states that Dance Powder's main ingredient is silver.
- One Piece Manga and Anime — Vol. 23 Chapter 212 (p. 4) and Episode 127, The ship being used by Baroque Works to process Dance Powder, Full, is revealed.
- SBS One Piece Manga — Vol. 30 (p. 44), Fan Question: Is Dance Powder based on how they clear rainclouds in England?
- Rainmaking – Wikipedia article on acts of attempting to induce or increase precipitation.
- Silver iodide – Wikipedia article on the real life substance Dance Powder is based on.