You Can Sing Like Elvis, But Can You Move Like Elvis?
As many times that I have seen an Elvis Tribute Artist Perform, I have seen very few that have had the same smooth catlike moves that the King of Rock & Roll possessed. As entertaining as it is to watch someone try to move like Elvis, sometimes it is downright ridiculous looking, it almost looks like they are having a seizure.
The best way to perfect the onstage movements of Elvis Presley is to remember that Elvis had remarkable balance and that what he felt from the music was how he moved. Elvis did not just go out on stage to thrust his body into convulsive acts for no reason, it was the emotion and energy of a song that brought out the hip gyrations, leg shaking and hand movements from his body, the faster and stronger the song, the more powerful the movements, never violent, just an extension of the music’s strength. If a song was slower and smooth, maybe a simple head gesture was all he needed to get his feeling across, for some examples of Elvis expressions of music extension through his body, take a look at a few of his videos.
For starters, the most famous song/movements combo would have to be “Suspicious Minds” from the Aloha Concert, the combination of arm, hip and leg movement is incredible, to be able to move all three in one motion without losing your balance is very difficult, I know, I’ve tried. Elvis’ study of the martial arts is credited for his extreme control of balance, I have seen many a Tribute Artist stumble and almost lose their stance completely trying to mimic this performance, here’s a hint, PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT. Another performance from that concert is “Burning Love”, once again, Elvis displays his sense of balance. For an example of a slower song’s physical expression, take a look at “Elvis, That’s The Way It Is”, two performances that come to mind are “Sweet Caroline”, where he not only involves arms and hips, but the hips seem to swivel and twist all the while in tempo to the song, “Just Can’t Help Believing” is the other, it has minimal leg and arm movement but a great example of head movement and facial expression. For Elvis’ younger performances, try to find a copy of Elvis’ first performance on Ed Sullivan, the later ones as we all know were from the waist up, his movies also make as wonderful reference for most of his early songs, plus they are also fun to watch.
Finally, when Elvis simply walked the stage, it was never in a fast impatient pace, he never ran from one side of the stage to the other, it was always in a catlike prowess that looked as smooth as someone gliding on ice skates, Elvis always entered the stage from the side and turned and walked backwards acknowledging the entire audience, not just the people at center stage, he would glide from one side of the stage, smoothly turn at the opposite end and proceed back to center stage never loosing a step. So for those of you who are new to the Tribute Artist world, remember, it’s more than just throwing your hands in the air and swiveling your legs and hips, it’s an extension of yourself into the music, almost as a conductor to an orchestra.
Until next time E fans, “Elvis has left the building!”.
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