Tim Burton Tasked Wednesday’s Jenna Ortega With Making Up Viral Dance, And She Shared The Story About How It Came Together

Jenna Ortega as Wednesday Addams dancing in Wednesday
(Image credit: Netflix)

Who knew that Wednesday Addams would be so trendy? Following the release of Netflix’s mega-successful series Wednesday, Jenna Ortega’s titular character has been going viral on TikTok with her “Wednesday dance,” which has even been seen and recreated by Lady Gaga. Now Ortega is opening up about how Tim Burton tasked her with the choreography and how the viral dance came to be. 

Jenna Ortega recently appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, where the two got on the topic of the iconic dance. In the fourth episode, Wednesday goes to the Rave’N dance, where she does an odd but on-brand dance. Ortega discussed how she and director Tim Burton decided on what to do for it:

Well, I read Episode 1.04 pretty early on, and we didn’t know what song we were going to be using, we didn’t know what the situation was. Initially, they wanted a flash mob, but I thought, ‘No, there’s no way Wednesday would be cool dancing and encouraging people.' So the director, Tim Burton, and I talked about it a little bit, and he said, ‘Yeah, let’s not do a circle, let’s have it be your own thing.’ I remember about a week before we shot the dance, he chose the song ‘Goo Goo Muck’ by The Cramps, and The Cramps is one of my favorite bands ever. So I was super excited, super pumped – it was on my Episode 4 playlist. And he came to my trailer about two days before we shot it and said, ‘Hey, Jenna, I know you said you wanted to choreograph this yourself because I refuse to see a choreographer. I know you got it, you’ve been working on it. I’m not even worried about it. I trust you.’ I said, ‘Yeah, you know. It’s all so good.’ And I had not gone over it at all.

Although Ortega was clearly excited to choreograph the dance, she underestimated just how much work it would be. She mentioned that she also had to deal with fencing and cello lessons, likely on top of learning lines while also trying to work out a dance. Luckily (and obviously), she came through. After much research, Jenna Ortega pulled off what is now an impressive and iconic dance that is loved and recreated by many:

I was kicking myself, I felt like such a fool. I was like, ‘I’m not a dancer. I don’t do any of that. I have no experience in that field.’ And then, yeah, I didn’t sleep for two days. I watched videos of Siouxsie and the Banshees, Denis Lavant in Beau Travail. I found archival footage of goth kids dancing in clubs in the ‘80s. Lene Lovich, Nina Hagen, just anything that I could get my hands on. And on the day, I thought, ‘Well, alright.’ Let’s just see what happens.’

Between Wednesday’s dance skills that are clearly unique and Ortega’s lack of dancing experience, the routine turned out pretty incredible. It just goes to show that even making stuff up on the spot can be completely true to a character, and if there are any behind-the-scenes videos from filming that day, I would love to see them.

Since Wednesday’s release, the show has gone on to be one of Netflix’s most successful shows ever and gone viral in more ways than one. The dance isn’t the only thing that floated around TikTok, as Reese Witherspoon reacted to a Legally Blonde reference in the series, which was a crossover no one knew would happen but was a fantastic addition. 

Meanwhile, viewers have also been sharing their thoughts about Wednesday’s Season 1 finale, and the consensus seems to be a combination of disbelief and and hope for a Season 2 renewal as a holiday gift. It’s clear that this new series has opened the door to a new generation of fans of The Addams Family, and if a second season of Wednesday does happen, one can only hope she continues her unique moves in celebration.

You can watch Wednesday’s dance and more in all eight episodes of Wednesday streaming now on Netflix with a subscription! Be sure to check out the Netflix 2023 TV schedule to see what’s coming to the streamer in the new year.

Megan Behnke
Freelance TV News Writer

Passionate writer. Obsessed with anything and everything entertainment, specifically movies and television. Can get easily attached to fictional characters.