Dance Crazes: The Moonwalk


The Moonwalk is a dance move that was popularized by Michael Jackson, following a live performance of “Billie Jean” at the televised Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever concert on March 25, 1983. An illusion is created by the dancer who moves backwards whilst seemingly walking forwards. Many believe that Jackson was the innovator, but it’s likely that the move was copied from singer and dancer with popular soul/dance group Shalamar, Jeffrey Daniels.

18 responses to “Dance Crazes: The Moonwalk

  1. Wow. That Shalamar video is, eh, fascinating. Just a guy dancing!

    … and I actually thought Wacko Jacko was responsible for the moonwalk, so that’s me learned a wee something something.

  2. Haha. The moonwalk. We all wanted to learn how to do it at a certain age. And I remember looking longingly at a replica of his famous multiple zipper leather jacket for sale in the local department store around the same time.

  3. It goes back further than that, my friend. MJ was an admitted devotee of dancer/choreographer Bob Fosse. Check out this comparison. Fosse moonwalks at about 2:00/

    • I bow to your superior knowledge on all things Michael Jackson my friend. I have to admit that this article fooled me into believing that Daniel had taught Jackson the dance. Goes to show that we shouldn’t always believe what we read on the internet.,28804,1907409_1907413_1907560,00.html
      “Dancer and singer Jeffrey Daniel was a member of the R&B group Shalamar and pioneered the dance move the backslide — which, after he taught it to Michael Jackson, became known as the moonwalk.”

      • Well, my knowledge of MJ ain’t all that great. But I am a big musical fan so I know Broadway and movie musicals reasonably well, hence Fosse. I do know for a fact there were African-American dancers doing this move pre-Fosse. And a Rolling Stone article claims it was two other dancers who taught the moonwalk to MJ! But those stylized poses? All Fosse. See: Chicago.

      • Here’s a quote from the RS article. Apparently this thing has many fathers!

        Finally, as Michael executes the moonwalk, formerly known as the backslide, formerly a dance belonging to the Electric Boogaloos, Cab Calloway, James Brown, Damita Jo Freeman, Casper and Cooley, Jeffrey Daniel, Mr. Bojangles, Bob Fosse, Marcel Marceau, and Shields and Yarnell, a sort of screech erupts from the crowd.

      • Yeah, who the hell knows? Seems like he got stuff from a lot of different people and put it together in his own way. He’s not here to ask.:-)

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