How to do the napoleon dynamite dance

'Napoleon Dynamite' Turns 10 So Here's a Step-by-Step Guide For His "Canned Heat" 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]

Jon Heder Reveals 'Napoleon Dynamite' Solo Dance Scene Film Secrets

With a shoestring budget, offbeat characters, and a largely-unknown cast, indie comedy "Napoleon Dynamite" is one of Hollywood's most surprising success stories.

"Napoleon Dynamite" was first released in 2004 after premiering to critical acclaim at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. It was also a major hit when it received a wider release from Fox Searchlight Pictures. "Vote for Pedro" shirts soon became ubiquitous, as did references to "ligers" — a half-tiger, half-lion hybrid drawn by Napoleon.

Jared Hess and his wife, Jerusha, wrote a film about a high school loner Napoleon (Jon Heder) and his eccentric circle of friends and family.

Set in Preston, Idaho, where Hess himself spent much of his adolescence, the film perfectly captures the backwards charm of a small rural town, where Cyndi Lauper and Moon Boots reign supreme even in the year 2004, and after-school chores include feeding pet llamas. 

One of the film's most iconic moments occurs near the end, when Napoleon performs a stunningly skillful dance (to funk band Jamiroquai's "Canned Heat") in front of his peers in order to help his friend Pedro (Efren Ramirez) become class president.

Napoleon's moves became the stuff of legend after the movie turned into a blockbuster. But Heder told Insider he just kind of "winged it" when it came to filming the scene since there was no choreographer working on the movie.

For the film's 17th anniversary, Insider spoke to Heder, Hess, who also directed the film, and Ramirez about how Napoleon's now legendary solo dance scene came to be — and why the film's quiet charm endures years after its release.

Jon Heder during his solo dance scene in "Napoleon Dynamite." Fox Searchlight; CBS via Getty Images

The director first learned of Heder's dance skills while they were both students at Brigham Young University

The way Heder explained it, he and his twin brother, Dan, were always "obsessed" with the 70s and "loved the 70s all through high school." 

But when the brothers arrived at Provo, Utah's BYU in the late 90s, their obsession reached new heights. Inspired by disco music and the 1977 film "Saturday Night Fever," they began dancing together on nights out. When the twins' lives started "forking," or growing apart, the actor continued to dance on his own, mostly at the bidding of his friends.

"I was obsessed with Jamiroquai. I just loved them. When their newest album came out that was the album I was dancing to everywhere," Heder said of the British funk band's 2001 project, "A Funk Odyssey."

It didn't take long before Heder's dance moves caught the attention of Hess, who was also enrolled at BYU at the time. The two soon collaborated on a short film, "Peluca," which followed a quirky high schooler named Seth (Heder), whom Hess described to Insider as "kind of the same character" as Napoleon.

While shooting "Peluca" in Idaho, the crew had extra film left so Hess decided to film Heder grooving in character, inspired by the actor's now infamous dancing.

You just wouldn't expect a guy that looks like that to throw down some wicked moves. director Jared Hess

"I was like, 'Jon, while you're still dressed up in the moon boots and everything, let's go shoot this shot,'" Hess recalled to Insider. "'At the end of this empty dirt road, I'll just turn on the radio, and whatever's playing, just dance to the music. '" 

Hess ended up filming Heder dancing for "a minute and a half" to a Jamiroquai song that just so happened to be playing on the radio.

"The dynamic of seeing this guy that looked like [Heder], being able to throw down some pretty impressive moves, is so strange and entertaining and funny all at the same time," the director said. "It was just kind of this incredible epiphany that occurred." 

Ultimately, that dance scene didn't end up making it into "Peluca." But Hess and his wife were inspired to include a similar sequence in the feature they were writing — called "Napoleon Dynamite." 

Heder recalled Hess telling him at the time, "'Yeah, it's going to be the climax for the film; you dancing.'" 

Efren Ramirez and Jon Heder in a still from "Napoleon Dynamite." Fox Searchlight; CBS via Getty Images

Heder got the 'Napoleon Dynamite' dance scene done in three takes

In the film, Napoleon's impassioned dance to Jamiroquai (during an assembly in front of the whole school) comes as a last-ditch effort to secure votes for Pedro, his new friend who desperately wants to be class president. But the dance also impresses Napoleon's friend and maybe-crush Deb (Tina Majorino), and forces his high school classmates to think of him in a new light. 

Hess and Heder told Insider that they took a more unorthodox approach to filming the now-iconic scene. Running low on funds and unsure what song Napoleon would actually be dancing to, the cast and crew were forced to get creative. 

"We had one roll of film left and basically had just three takes to get the entire dance sequence filmed," Hess said. "I remember after each take I was like, 'Oh, man.' I didn't think that we had it. I was really worried."

"And so I just kind of had to live with it and cross my fingers," he added. 

Although the film didn't have a choreographer to help Heder with his dance moves, the actor knew that he wanted to make Napoleon's dance markedly different from the character's normal physicality.

"Like, Napoleon barely moves. He doesn't express a lot, he doesn't get that animated," Heder recalled. "We knew the vibe of the whole movie and the purpose of this dancing would be so different than the way Napoleon usually moves."

He also had some pretty straightforward direction from Hess: "Dude, you just do your thing."

"That was his direction. He just put it in my hands," Heder said. "Then I realized, you know what, I'll just do what I normally do. I'll just do my best to make it as funky as I can and as good as I can."

Really the Napoleon dance is just dancing from your heart. Jon Heder

Hess also told Insider that some skillful editing was involved to make Heder's dance even more memorable, combining the best shots from multiple takes for the final version. 

"When we got into the cutting room, when we were editing the film, it was like, 'Oh, wow. Yeah, we've definitely got it,'" the director recalled. "We ended up kind of Frankensteining together different dance moves from all three takes that we did and [put] them together as one.

"It worked because it wasn't a professionally choreographed sequence," Heder added. "It had a little of that 'just making it up as I go' vibe." 

Adding to the pressure was the fact that Heder had to dance to multiple songs with similar tempos, in the event that their licensing request for Jamiroquai's "Canned Heat," the second single from the band's fourth album, "Synkronized," was denied. 

"One take was to 'Canned Heat.' Another take was to 'Little L,' which is another Jamiroquai track from their album 'Funk Odyssey,'" Heder detailed. "And then we danced to a Michael Jackson song from 'Off the Wall.'" 

Both creatives agree that the scene wouldn't have been quite the same if they hadn't secured the rights to "Canned Heat," but that ultimately, the success of the scene came down to the hilarious visual of Heder's character dancing his heart out. 

"At the end of the day, you still would have had a nerd performing some ridiculous dance moves in front of a high school," Hess said.  

And Napoleon's audience? Those were real high school students from Preston, Idaho, who worked for free, according to the director.

"We didn't have any money we could offer them," Hess recalled of casting the students. "It was just like, 'Hey, wanna come be in a movie and get a free bottle of Gatorade' or whatever we had out of the cooler. But we offered everybody a credit in the film. So it's a pretty long credit sequence at the end." 

The extras didn't even get to see Heder's dance, nor did any of the other cast members. 

"We actually shot all of their reaction stuff, weirdly enough, without Jon dancing. Cause they didn't want Jon to  overdo it," Hess explained. "Jon was literally just performing for the crew. He wasn't even performing for an actual audience of extras, which is kind of weird. He was boogieing down for just a bunch of film school friends." 

The result was one of the most memorable movie climaxes in recent years: a quietly joyous, slow-building celebration of dance and movement, performed by one of film's most unassuming protagonists.

"We had no idea how it was gonna turn out until we went to the Sundance Film Festival and we saw the whole thing," Ramirez, who played Pedro, recalled. "It was just perfect — from the crowd's reaction to Heder's dancing." 

Jon Heder in "Napoleon Dynamite." Fox Searchlight Pictures; CBS via Getty Images

In the years since its release, Heder's dance has become an instantly recognizable part of the film

Nothing has been quite able to match the barely-contained exuberance and self-effacing coolness of Napoleon's dance since, and the scene has become as much of a calling card for the movie as a "Vote for Pedro" shirt. 

"As a character, it definitely won Napoleon some long overdue respect," Hess said of the dance. "It's like, here's a guy that's just flying under the radar in life and is underestimated by everyone. Suddenly he has a showcase for this weird secret talent, but he's using it to help his best friend. " 

Ramirez agreed.

"This is what a friend would do for his friend, and that Napoleon put himself on the line like that, that's so wonderful to see," he told Insider. "It's like, wow, that's what friends are for."

But if you're expecting Heder to ever bust a groove like that again, don't wait on it.  

"It was all freestyle. I didn't memorize it. I mean, look, I've seen it many times, so there's certainly moves I could do, but I don't remember the order," he said.

"I always tell people: Really the Napoleon dance is just dancing from your heart," Heder added. "It's just like, feeling it and just letting it go. Because what it was. That's just all I did for it, was just feeling the groove." 

What is the Net Worth of Napoleon Dynamite? –

In 2012, Heather returned to the role that brought him fame, voicing Napoleon Dynamite in the Fox Network animated series Napoleon Dynamite, which debuted in 2012. approximately $10 million .

Net Worth: $15 million
Last update: 2021

• October 27, 2021

Here, who is the woman at the end of Napoleon Dynamite?

Girl on a bike Tsedilka , his ex-girlfriend. There are fleeting references to "Tammy" from Uncle Rico early in the film, but this is not part of the plot being explored.

Accordingly, what does Uncle Rico have to do with Napoleon Dynamite?

Rico Dynamite is Napoleon and Uncle Kip . He first appears in the film to take care of Napoleon and Kip after their grandmother breaks her tailbone in the sand dunes.

Does John Heder receive royalties from Napoleon Dynamite?

His most notable role was Napoleon Dynamite - 15 years have passed since the film's release, so he is still receiving royalties from . How does Jon Heder make money as an actor? As of 2017, his net worth is $15 million.

Therefore, who is this lady with Uncle Rico?

Both John Heder (Napoleon) and Efren Ramirez (Pedro), who play the main characters in the film, have identical twins in real life. Uncle Rico's girlfriend who rides her bike at the end of the movie0003 Real life wife of Aaron Ruell (Kipa) .


Is LaFaundukh a man?

Los Angeles, California, USA Shondrella Dupree Avery (born April 26, 1971) is an American actress, model, and comedian. Her film roles include La Foundouh Lucas in the independent comedy Napoleon Dynamite (2004) and supporting roles in Domino (2005) and The Secret Life of Bees (2008).

Where is Uncle Rico from?

Glendale, California, USA Jonathan Francis Gris (born June 17, 1957) is an American actor, writer, and director. He is also credited with the names John Francis and Jonathan Grice.

Is John Heder a twin?

Heather was born in Fort Collins, Colorado, the son of Helen (née Brammer) and physician James Heather. He has identical twin brother, Dan ; Rachel's older sister; older brother Doug; and two younger brothers, Adam and Matt.

Who played the cousins ​​of Pedro Napoleon Dynamite?

Daniel and Luis Moncada

Daniel Moncada
Born May 17, 1980
occupation Actor

Rico's uncle at the White Lotus?

Actor John Gris who plays Greg in The White Lotus is best known as Uncle Rico from 2004's Dynamite Napoleon. … But it's his role as Uncle Rico, the short-tempered and constantly scheming former Napoleon Dynamite football player that fans, seeing him play a pivotal role in The White Lotus, most likely remember him for.

How much money did Napoleon Dynamite make from dating?

Napoleon Dynamite (2004)

Theatrical production
Cash register $44,540,956 Details
International box office $1,581,757 Details
World box office $46,122,713
Additional financial details…

Can John Heder dance?

For Napoleon's dance number, director Jared Hess asked John Heather improvises and dances to three different songs. . Hess then took the "best" moves from each song and put them together into one program using one song.

Does Napoleon Dynamite have autism?

He exhibits several symptoms of Asperger's disorder , but he also challenges the notion that children and adolescents with Asperger's spectrum disorders will not be accepted or understood.

How much did Jon Heder make for Blades of Glory?

How do I convert this to dollars? Jon Heder should have received around $12-14 million just for being in one movie. Jon Heder also starred in Blades of Glory as Jimmy McElroy with Will Ferrell playing Chazz Michael Michaels.

Are Kip and LaFandou married?

9. The film features the real LaFandou family. Shondrella Avery played La Faunduh, Kip's African-American girlfriend, Napoleon's (played by Aaron Ruell) older brother. … Her real family shows up in the end when LaFounduh and Kip get married in .

Pedro from Napoleon dynamite?

Los Angeles, California, USA Efrain Antonio Ramirez (born October 2, 1973) American actor and DJ, best known for playing Pedro Sanchez in the 2004 indie film Napoleon Dynamite. He later reprized his role in the 2012 animated series of the same name.

What does Napoleon throw at Uncle Rico?

Now he spends his time filming himself tossing and turning soccer balls . Many years after Napoleon and Kip's grandmother breaks her tailbone, their grandmother calls Rico's uncle to take care of both of them while she is in the hospital.

John Heder in Heartland?

10. John Heder. Career highlights: Starred in Napoleon Dynamite (2004) and Blades of Glory (2007). In Heartland: Portrays an old school bowling alley manager in When Jeff Tried to Save the World.

Why was Pedro hot in Napoleon Dynamite?

Pedro seems to love American food since he started with a root dog. He warms up somehow but he tries to drink water and take a bath but realizes it was his hair that made him so hot so he shaves it all off then puts on a hoodie and then tightens it up because he doesn't want to for someone to see it.

What is Pedro talking about in Napoleon Dynamite?

Pedro. [His Class President Campaign Speech] I don't have much to say, but I think that would be nice if Saint Santos was brought to the school to guard the corridor and bring us good luck .

What does cousin Pedro say to Napoleon?

LaFaundouh's cousin

The final ingredient of the scene is represented by LaFaundouh, who, learning that Napoleon is interested in dancing, tosses him an unmarked cassette and says: " my cousin did it.

What does BLM mean on the white lotus?

When Jennifer Coolidge's character, Tanya, runs into a BLM man in episode 4 of HBO's White Lotus, she assumes he is part of the Matter Black Life Movement .

What happened to Jared Hess?

Jared and Jerusha Hess, writers of Napoleon Dynamite, wrote three more films - Nacho Libre (2006), Gentlemen of the Broncos (2009) , and Don Verdin (2015) - and are currently writing the Nicktoons movie for Nickelodeon, which brings characters from Doug, The Hunters and other cartoons to life.

How long did it take John Heder to learn the Napoleon dance with dynamite?

Heder made the Napoleon Dynamite dance scene in three berets. In the film, Napoleon's impassioned dance with Jamiroquai (during a meeting in front of the entire school) is the last attempt to secure votes for Pedro, his new friend who desperately wants to be class president.

Is John Heder a twin?

John Heder and Dan Heder

Napoleon Dynamite Star and his identical twin brother Born in 1977.

Last update: 18 days ago - Authors: 16 - Authors: 13 - Links: 22 interviews and posts; 4 Video.

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10 interesting facts about Napoleon's dynamite


top-limit-leaders' >

ChapStick, llamas and tater tots are just a few of the things that appear in Napoleon Dynamite , the cult film made for just $400,000 grossed $44.5 million. In 2002, Brigham Young University student Jared Hess directed the black-and-white short film Wing with his classmate John Heder. The film was accepted into the Slamdance Film Festival, giving Hess the courage to turn it into a feature film. Hess used his real-life upbringing in Preston, Idaho - he had six brothers and his mom owned llamas - to form the basis of a film about a nerdy teenager named Napoleon (Heder) who encourages his friend Pedro (Efren Ramirez) to run away. for the class president.

In 2004, the indie film screened at Sundance, was quickly bought by Fox Searchlight and Paramount, and then released less than six months later. Today, the film remains so popular that in 2016, Pedro and Napoleon reunited for a commercial for Burger King. To celebrate the film's 15th anniversary, here are a few facts about the constantly quoted comedy.

why does my dog ​​twitch in his sleep

1. Deb is based on Jerush Hesse.

Jared Hess' wife Jerusha co-wrote the film and based Deb on her own life. "Her mom made her a dress when she was going to a dance in high school and she said, 'I'm not very developed yet, so my mom overcompensated and got really big, fluffy shoulders,'" Jared said. Rolling Stone . "Some guy dancing with her patted her sleeves and actually said, 'I like your sleeves...they're really big.'

Tina Majorino, who played the fictional Deb, had never done comedy before because people thought she was a dramatic actress. “The fact that Jared even let me in and read was very appealing to me,” she said. Rolling Stone . "Even though I didn't get the part, I just wanted to see what it's like to audition for a comedy because I've never done that before."

2. Napoleon's famous dance scene was the result of extra film footage.

At the end of filming Wing Hess had a minute of film left and knew that Heather liked to dance. Heather was wearing moon boots—something Hess had worn before—so they drove to the end of the dirt road. The radio was turned on in the car and "Canned Heat" by Jamiroquai was playing. "I just told him to start dancing and I realized: this is how we should end the film," Hess said. Rolling Stone . “You don't expect things like that. They're just part of the creative process'.

Heather told HuffPost that he drew inspiration from Michael Jackson and the dance in front of the mirror for the scene at the end of the film. But when it came time to film the dance for the feature film, Heather felt "pressure. " “I thought, ‘Oh shit! "It's not just a stupid scene," he said. PDX monthly . “This is the moment when everything comes and he makes a sacrifice for his friend. This is the whole theme of the film. Everything leads to this. Napoleon was that loser. This should be the moment he wins." Instead of hiring a choreographer, the filmmakers told him to "just figure it out". They filmed the scene three times with three different songs, including Jamiroquai's "Little L" and "Canned Heat".


Napoleon Dynamite Fans continue to flock to Preston, Idaho to tour the film's filming locations.

In a 2016 interview At Salt Lake Tribune , Preston Citizen Circulation manager Rhonda Gregerson said that "at least 50 groups of fans come into the office each summer wanting to learn more about the film." She said people come from all over the world to see Preston High School, Pedro's house and other filming locations as stops before heading to Yellowstone National Park. "If you talk to a lot of people in Preston, you'll find a lot of people who are sick of it," Gregerson said. "I still think it's great that interest in the city continues long after the film's release."

In addition to film sets, the city hosted the Napoleon Dynamite festival. In 2005, the festival drew about 6,000 people and included a potato-eating contest, a moonboot dance contest, key chains for sale, and a tetherball tournament. The festival was last held in 2008.

4. Idaho passed a resolution endorsing the filmmakers.

Jerusha and Jared Hess Frederick M. Brown, Getty Images

In 2005, the Idaho legislature passed a resolution praising Jared and Jerusha Hess and the city of Preston. HCR029appreciates the use of potato cards to "promote Idaho's most famous export." He extols cycling and skateboarding to promote "better air quality" and states that Kip and LaFawnduh's relationship "is a tribute to Idaho's e-commerce and tech industry. " The resolution goes on to say that those who "vote 'no' on this concurrent resolution are fucking idiots." Napoleon would be proud.

5. Napoleon was another botanist.

Of course he was clumsy, but Napoleon wasn't as smart as other cinephiles. "He's not a genius," Heather told HuffPost. “Maybe he gets good grades, but he's not an A student; he's just socially awkward. He doesn't know how much of an outcast he is and that gives him such confidence. Sometimes he tries to be cool, but mostly he just goes for it and does it.”

6. The title sequence included several different hand combinations.

Eight months before the theatrical release, Fox Searchlight asked Hess to film the title sequence, which made it clear that the film was set in 2004, not the 80s or 90's. Napoleon's student certificate states that the events took place in the 2004-2005 academic year. Heather's hands move objects in and out of frame, but Fox didn't like his barbs. “A couple of weeks later they came out with a hand model that had great hands but was five or six shades darker than Jon Heder,” Hess told Art of the Title. “If you look, it’s like the hands of three different guys are there - our producer’s hands are there too.”

7. Napoleon Dynamite screwed up the Netflix algorithms.

Since 2006, Cinematch, Netflix's recommendation algorithm software, has run a competition called The Netflix Prize. Anyone who can make Cinematch's predictions at least 10 percent accurate will win $1 million. Computer scientist Len Bertoni had a hard time predicting whether people would like Napoleon Dynamite . Bertoni told New York Times the film is "polarizing" and has a Netflix rating of one or five stars. According to Bertoni, if he could accurately predict whether people would like a film, he would be much closer to winning the prize. It didn't happen to him.

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The contest finally ended in 2009 when Netflix gave the top prize to BellKor's Pragmatic Chaos, which is 10.06% better than Cinematch.

8. Napoleon accidentally got a bad perm.

© 2004 Twentieth Century Fox

Heather got a perm the night before filming started, but something went wrong. Heather called Jared and said, "Yes, I got a perm, but it's a little different than before," Hess said. Rolling Stone . “He showed up the day before filming and looked like Shirley Temple! The curls were huge! They didn't have much time to fix the mistake, so Hess hired Jerusha and her cousin for a re-perm. It worked, but John was not allowed to wash his hair for the next three weeks. “So he survived three weeks in the Idaho heat on this stinky diet,” Jared said. “They shot near dairy farms, there were a lot of flies; they all flew in and out of his hair.”

9. The film starred the real LaFanduha family.

Shondrella Avery played LaFawnduh, Kip's African-American girlfriend, Napoleon's (played by Aaron Ruell) older brother. Prior to filming, Hess called Avery and said, “You remember there were no blacks in Preston, Idaho, right? Do you think your family might want to be in the film? "And that's how it happened," Avery said.

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