Old School Americana & Nostalgia


‘Seinfeld’: The Real Person Who Inspired Elaine’s Hilarious Dance Moves

‘Seinfeld’: The Real Person Who Inspired Elaine’s Hilarious Dance Moves

Julia Louis-Dreyfus certainly could kick up her heels pretty well, for a lot of laughs, in her role on Seinfeld. Come on now, you’ve seen Elaine Benes dance, haven’t you? She’s got a little twist-and-kick action going down all the time. Imagine if there was another human being on the Earth that inspired those steps.

Well, gosh darn, there is someone.

Let’s take a little trip, though, down Memory Lane for a Seinfeld episode titled The Little Kicks. We end up seeing Elaine and George (Jason Alexander) at a company party. As it turns out, Elaine is asked to give a toast. She does pretty “good,” and then the fun begins.

Playing in the background is Too Hot to Stop by the Bar-Kays. Elaine looks around, encouraging people to get on the floor and start dancing. When no one moves, she asks, like, no one, “You want me to start?” After getting some encouraging hand claps, she puts down the champagne glass and goes to work.

There’s a little shake of the waist and hand gestures in 20 different directions on Seinfeld. Let’s not leave out the gyrations Elaine gives to her right and left feet. It’s a sight to behold. George must have thought so.

George Tells Jerry About Elaine Dancing On ‘Seinfeld’

She’s going to kick up her heels and not care about it. But George wanted to run away. At least, he looked like it.

When visiting Jerry’s apartment the following day, George asks Jerry if he’d ever seen Elaine dance before. Upon hearing the question, Jerry gets a fretful look on his face. He asks George if she is doing this and that. George nodded yes. It brought back some nightmarish memories of seeing Elaine dance for Jerry.

This episode does a good job of putting Elaine’s dance moves in the center of the story.

Now, who in the world would be an inspiration for Julia Louis-Dreyfus to shake it up like that? Well, it happened to be someone she knew quite well. This person has been front and center for many years with his variety show. In fact, Louis-Dreyfus worked with this person for a few years.

So, who is this mystery dance man? That would be one Lorne Michaels, the erstwhile ringleader of Saturday Night Live. Author Jennifer Keishin Armstrong shared this story in her book, Seinfeldia: How a Show About Nothing Changed Everything. She picks up the story from writer Spike Feresten, who reportedly was a receptionist for the NBC variety show at one time.

“As he stood at the door late one Saturday, he spotted his boss dancing,” Armstrong writes. “What he saw, as he later told me, was Lorne Michaels dancing as if he’d never seen another human dance before. The man heaved and gyrated to a rhythm only he could feel.”