Does the mere mention of Michael Jackson’s signature dance move have you itching to get out on the dance floor (or your kitchen floor)? Before you try to master the moonwalk, find out how much you know about its history with this out-of-this-world quiz.
Dancers from your favorite Saturday morning TV show “Solid Gold” taught Michael the moonwalk in the early 1980s, but it came from dancers long before.
Michael Jackson claimed that the media coined the name “moonwalk” for his dance. Obviously he didn’t mind...
It’s just one in a whole series of sliding dance steps, including the front slide, side slide and circle slide.
The moonwalk is part of a funk style dance technique called popping, which is done while standing. To breakdance, you have to throw down some cardboard and spin on the floor.
James Brown did do an old ragtime dance step called The Camel Walk that somewhat resembles a forward slide, but it’s not the moonwalk.
“Walking Against the Wind” is one of Marceau’s classics and it includes the airwalk – a sort of stationary moonwalk.
Popper Jeffrey Daniel did the moonwalk – which he called the backslide – on the British show “Top of the Pops” a year before Michael Jackson debuted his version, to wild acclaim.
Michael moonwalked in the commercials, but he first showcased his signature move on the 1983 TV special “Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, and Forever.”
Live performances of “Billie Jean” stayed pretty much the same since the Motown special. Why fix something that isn’t broken?
A sequined frog named Judy taught Jimmy and others a “moonwalk” but it didn’t look much like the backslide.
Corey Feldman – teen idol and half of the “Two Coreys”) – as a close friend of Jackson’s in the 1980s and took it the level of dressing and dancing like Michael. (Yeah, we think it’s weird too.)
After being shown a clip of Bill Bailey backsliding, Daniel told British TV presenters that he has never seen it before and thought it had come from the streets.
Not only did he give credit, he employed them. Jeff Daniel, Cooley Jaxson and Caspar Candidate all appeared in some of Jackson’s videos. Daniel choreographed a few of them.
Jackson saw Jeff Daniel moonwalking at a concert that he attended, and asked him and other dancers afterwards to teach him how to backslide.
All three have spoken of their connection to Michael; Cooley Jaxson sells a DVD that shows how to moonwalk as well as do other slide steps.
Daniel is always gracious about how much he learned from working with Michael and says Michael never claimed he invented the moonwalk.
Moonwalking looks simple, but that’s why it’s an illusion. It’s a tricky step to master.
Although moonwalkers have been accused of everything from using an oiled floor or having wheeled shoes, it’s all in the technique.
A 2010 YouTube clip shows pop/dance diva Rhianna trying to moonwalk in heels during a concert...and failing miserably.
Bowie did learn from Decroux, but he performed the stationary, traditional mime airwalk -- not the backslide or the moonwalk.