Elvis Presley Introduced a Unique Dance Style in the Movie ‘Girl Happy’

by Matthew Wilson

Elvis Presley may have dazzled with his unique vocal performances. But the King knew how to throw a show with his assortment of dance moves. In fact, Presley once created a unique dance move just for a movie he was starring in.

That film happened to be “Girl Happy” in 1965. Presley performed the song “Do the Clam” and the associated Clam dance during the film. Feeling those tropical vibes, Presley played before a crowd. Eventually, some backup dancers also got involved.

The entire scene feels like a version of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” before “Thriller” even existed. Perhaps, the King of Pop felt inspired by the King of Rock ‘n Roll’s performance? It wouldn’t be the first time. Or, as they say, great minds think alike.

Elvis Presley on His Dance Moves

It’s all the more surprising that Elvis Presley spent most of his early life not knowing how to dance. In fact, he refused to hit the dance floor at his high school prom. But when the King started performing, he needed an outlet for his nerves. Thus, he created his now-iconic dance moves.

“Some people tap their feet, some people snap their fingers, and some people sway back and forth. I just sorta do ’em all together, I guess,” Elvis Presley said in regards to his dancing.

But during his career, Presley drew a number of critics for his dance moves. Specifically, at the beginning of his career, critics believed the singer promoted sex through dancing. They viewed his dance moves as vulgar. But Presley always disagreed with his critics and eventually the public started to catch on to the new style. According to Presley, he just wanted to get in rhythm with the music around him.

“Naw, sir. I don’t like them to call me Elvis the Pelvis. It’s the most childish expression I ever heard from an adult. Elvis the Pelvis. And another thing. I don’t roll my — what they call ‘pelvic gyrations’ — my pelvis has nothing to do with what I do. I just — I get rhythm with the music … jump around to it because I enjoy what I’m doing. I’m not trying to be vulgar, not trying to stimulate [sic] sex. I just do a lot of wigglin’ and quiverin,’ but I never do a bump or grind. I can’t sit still when I sing, so the kids can’t sit still,” Presley said in the interview, according to TV Insider.