‘Seinfeld’: Julia Louis-Dreyfus Perfected the Infamous ‘Elaine Dance’ in a Way We All Can Relate To

One of the most acclaimed actors on television, Julia Louis-Dreyfus has earned multiple awards and millions of fans. However, she remains best known as Elaine Benes on the hit sitcom Seinfeld. Over the years, Louis-Dreyfus has talked about how she created the character, including perfecting the notorious “Elaine dance.”

Julia Louis-Dreyfus became famous as Elaine Benes on ‘Seinfeld’

Seinfeld Elaine dancing, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Elaine Benes
Jerry Seinfeld and Julia Louis-Dreyfus from the show ‘Seinfeld’ in 1997 | Getty Images

Louis-Dreyfus was already a comedy veteran by the time she landed the role of Elaine Benes in Seinfeld in 1989. However, her role on the show catapulted her to prominence. And over the years that followed, Seinfeld became one of the most critically acclaimed TV series of all time. Louis-Dreyfus received praise for contributing to the show’s success, and as Elaine, she made waves.

The character of Elaine Benes is friendly, sarcastic, and incredibly disorganized. As Jerry’s ex-girlfriend and one of his best friends, Elaine is often involved in the show’s central storylines. She tends to have bad luck with men, but her positive attitude keeps her bouncing back. One of the character’s most legendary moments remains the “Elaine dance” episode. As Louis-Dreyfus admitted in a 2019 interview, though the dance moves were bad, it took a lot of practice to perfect them.

How did Julia Louis-Dreyfus come up with the infamous ‘Elaine dance’?

In 2019, Julia Louis-Dreyfus opened up about how she developed Elaine’s awful dance moves.

“The Elaine dance is from this episode called ‘The Little Kicks.’ And, um, it was just written that Elaine danced really badly. And so, the night before the table read, I had the script, and frankly, I just stood in front of the mirror and tried to do movements that looked incredibly bad,” the actor told Vanity Fair.

“I remember my mom was staying with us at the time, and I came downstairs, and I sort of auditioned these different movements for my mom and my husband. And they all voted on the one that I did. So there you go.”

She also acknowledged how many fans appreciate the outrageous moves.

“People approach me about the dance all the time. I say, ‘Oh, thank you so much. No, I’m not gonna do it.'”

The actor admits the ‘Elaine dance’ embarrasses her

Over the years, Julia Louis-Dreyfus has talked about the process of creating her Seinfeld character, spotlighting the differences between her real-life personality and that of Elaine Benes.

In a 2013 interview with the Archive of American Television, Louis-Dreyfus revealed that despite the fact that she committed to making the “Elaine dance” unique, she doesn’t enjoy watching it onscreen.

“It’s hard to watch — because I had to commit to it,” she told the Archive of American Television. “I had to commit to feeling cool while doing it. It really has a humiliating … you’re really laughing at her. I’m really glad that it worked, but I don’t watch it very often because it embarrasses me.”

Still, Louis-Dreyfus’ dedication to developing Elaine’s personality and quirks helped make Seinfeld iconic.

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