Step-By-Step Guide to Napoleon's Dance Routine

by Kristie Rohwedder

10 years ago, moviegoers were introduced to the eponymous hero of Napoleon Dynamite, and he changed the way we looked at chicken feet forever. (They are not feet. They are talons, GOSH.) We watched Napoleon stockpile tater tots in his cargo pant pockets, hunt for a fresh tube of Chapstick, play tetherball, feed Tina the llama, and bruise Kip's neck meat. He's a strange cat, but I'll be damned if many of us didn't grow to love him. And yeah, you read that right: As of June 11, Napoleon Dynamite is a decade old. Whoa. And in honor of this anniversary, Twentieth Century Fox Studios unveiled a Napoleon Dynamite/tetherball statue. Flippin' sweet.

Though I knew I could not compete with a life-size Napoleon statue, I wanted to celebrate ND's birthday somehow. After weighing all of my options (I could make a Vote For Pedro t-shirt! Or attempt to put my very short hair in a Deb-esque side ponytail! Or adopt a llama!), I ultimately decided to pick out all of the life-changing moves from Napoleon's dynamite (sorry not sorry) dance routine set to Jamiroquai's "Canned Heat." I may not be able to build a statue, but I can definitely handle watching a video of a dance routine over and over again.

It's been a hot minute since I've seen the movie, so I'd forgotten just how intense the choreo is. Every millisecond is screengrab worthy/a slice of magic. But! I hunkered down, analyzed the tape, and chose the best of the best. It was a grueling task, but I gave it my all. Heck yes I did.

The Hands In Pockets

The audience has no idea what they're in for.

The jump out with hands in pockets


The Throw of the Hands


The Backwards Wolverine Claw Shuffle

Quite possibly one of the more intimidating moves out there.

The pelvic thrust

It's a classic dance move for a reason.

The Shoot That Basketball Without Looking


The arms over head rocking to the side

Get into it.

The Bird Flap

Feel the wind beneath your wings.

The squat + hip swivel + arm isolations

So much power to behold.

The pose to end all poses

Only those who can truly handle this pose may strike it.

The “I see you, audience” point

Show 'em who's running this.

The overarm side clap

Go on...


The hands have a mind of their own move

This is their dance routine now.

The Swat the Bee


The Elvis/umpire “you’re outta here” move

A move steeped in nuance and complexity.

The Somersault

You've been dancing for two minutes? You're getting winded? Too bad. Can't lose steam now. Gotta kick it up a notch.

The Jazzy Slither

Like a snake with legs.

The I'm Done

When you're done, you're done.

Watch the masterpiece in its entirety here:

Don't freak out: At around the 2:17 mark, the choreo reverses. Like a mirror. That's why the routine seems longer than you remember. It's weird, yeah, but it was the clearest video I could find. Such is life.

Images: Fox Searchlight; Tumblr [2]