Who taught michael jackson how to dance

Who Really Taught Michael Jackson the Moonwalk?

Michael Jackson’s debut of the moonwalk changed the game. Already a skilled dancer, Jackson’s new glide put him in a league of his own. The dance became synonymous with the King Of Pop. Jackson’s credited street dancers for the famous dance but there have been others who’ve insisted they taught the superstar Jackson kid the moonwalk. Bobby Brown recently spoke of his time dancing with Jackson, leaving many wondering who taught Jackson the iconic dance.

Michael Jackson 1987 | Dave Hogan/Getty Images

Michael Jackson debuts the moonwalk; Jackson says he learned the dance from street dancers

According to an ABC News article about Jackson’s moonwalk, Jackson first showed off the dance when he performed at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium on March 25, 1983. The rest of the world did not see Jackson slide effortlessly across the stage until Jackson performed in the TV special Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever.

Jackson hit the stage with his fedora, black sequin jacket, and white sparkling glove in tow. During the song’s bridge, he performed an impromptu choreographed routine, equipped with the moonwalk. The audience went wild. 

Source: YouTube

Related: Michael Jackson: Hall & Oates Said He Admitted He Stole ‘Billie Jean’ From Them

The performance would be lauded as the defining moment of Jackson as a solo artist. Each live performance of “Billie Jean” thereafter modeled his performance from Motown 25.

In a 1993 interview with Oprah Winfrey, Jackson said he’d learned the dance from children who danced in their neighborhoods.

“The moonwalk came from the beautiful children, black kids that live in the ghetto, the inner cities who are brilliant and have that natural talent for dancing, any of them like the running man, they come up with these dances, all I did was enhance the dance,” he said.

Cooley Jaxson on teaching Michael Jackson the moonwalk

In a 2018 interview with ABC News, Cooley says he met Michael while he was working as a dancer Soul Train. Michael was interested in learning some new moves, one of which was known as “the backslide.”

“The backslide — you slide backward and [you] make you look like you’re walking forward. So it’s an illusion,” Cooley said. “The moonwalk is in a circular motion…like you’re floating in air…And you keep continuing in a circle,” he said. 

Michael Jackson 2002 | Michael Caulfield/WireImage

Cooley and a few other Soul Train dancers took time to work with Michael to perfect the dance. At first, he says Michael struggled to understand the concept of the dance.

“He [Michael] kept saying, ‘I can’t feel it. I can’t feel it,’ and we’re like, ‘Feel what? You just do it,'” Jaxson said. “[And Jackson said] ‘No, no, you don’t understand. I can’t feel it,’” Cooley said “He [Michael] wanted to feel that slide. He wanted to feel like he was moving forward but going backward. And once he got the feel, from my understanding, that’s when he performed on ‘Motown 25.'”

The Jackson siblings say Shalamar member taught Michael Jackson the moonwalk

The part about Jackson learning the moonwalk during a teaching at Soul Train may be true. But, the Jackson siblings say it was founding Shalamar member, Jeffrey Daniel, who taught Michael and not Cooley. Jackson’s siblings spoke about it on the television special, The One and Only Michael Jackson.

La Toya Jackson confirmed that the moonwalk was already a popular street dance. Daniel corroborated Cooley’s account of the dance being known as “the backslide.” “It’s like walking forward on an escalator that brings you back as you’re continuing to walk forward…that’s the illusion of the backslide,” Daniel said.

Michael Jackson and La Toya Jackson 1984 | Jeffrey Mayer / Contributor / WireImage

Related: The Michael Jackson Performance Beyoncé Watched ‘For Hours’

Michael publicly called the dance the moonwalk, which Daniel says is actually a term for a similar dance.

Bobby Brown says he taught Michael Jackson how to moonwalk

Brown isn’t letting Cooley or Daniel take the credit. In an Instagram live session with rapper Fat Joe, Brown says he taught Jackson the dance after learning it himself while on tour with New Edition.


Source: Instagram

“When we [New Edition] first started out I had just came from Alabama learning how to do the Moonwalk, the real Moonwalk, where you put the sand on the ground and do it from the sand on the ground and it was like soft shoed. And Michael asked me to show him how to Moonwalk,” Brown said, as reported by The Jasmine Brand. “He [Michael] may have perfected it, but I taught him how to do it.”

It’s possible that Jackson learned a variation of the dance from all three men. Both Cooley and Daniel allege to be part of the Soul Train dance crew that helped Jackson. Brown was also popular for his creative dancing during the time.

Michael Jackson Didn't Create The Moonwalk... Here's Who Taught Him

By Baylee Allen

Although some people may think The Moonwalk was invented by Michael Jackson, it actually was not.

We all know who Michael Jackson is, and we all certainly know his famous dance move: The Moonwalk. Although some people may think The Moonwalk was invented by him, it actually was not... And it was also not called The Moonwalk, originally.

So, who was it invented by? What was it called originally? Which rockstar also did the dance? And how did Michael Jackson perfect it the way he did?

The Moonwalk Was Originally Called The Backslide

According to Jackson's older sister, LaToya during an interview with British television host, Frank Skinner, the dance was actually a dance called the Backslide originally and that a dancer named Geoffrey taught Michael and that Michael changed the name after he learned it from Geoffrey.

"I don't know if you had this show called the Soul Train. There was this dancer Geoffrey, who was always doing the moonwalk on that show. He taught Michael how to do it."

Jackson moonwalked for the first time during the Motown 25 show in 1983 during a performance of his hit song, Billie Jean, and it was instantly a hit amongst his fans. The Moonwalk only lasted for about two and a half seconds, but it was still enough to leave an impression on people who were in the audience and witnessing something that was bound to be

According to other sources, some other public figures also managed to pull off The Backslide at other points. In 1932, jazz singer and bandleader Cab Calloway was recorded doing the what-would-be famous dance move in a series of 1930's short films of the late jazz singer.  In the 1950s, an African-American tap-dancing star named Bill Bailey managed to pull it off. Not only that, but rockstar David Bowie also did a small bit of the move during the opening of a performance of Aladdin Sane.  

Related: Michael Jackson Used To Own A Chimp... Here's Where It Is Now

Bobby Brown Claims Michael Got It From Him

In 2017, R&B singer Bobby Brown, went on to claim that he was the one who taught the King of Pop the dance.

“Actually, I was the one that taught Michael how to do it... We was poppin,’ he was watchin’ us pop. He saw me do the moonwalk. And he [asked], ‘What is that?’ And I did it again. He just watched it, and he just started doin’ it.”

That claim was later disputed by Jackson's longtime family friend and publicist, Steven Manning, who said, and quote, "the timeline isn't even right" and then said that he invited New Edition, the R&B group Brown was apart of at the time, for Christmas dinner in 1983, over seven months after Jackson made his debut with The Moonwalk. Manning also went on to add that there was no dancing and no music at all.

Though Jackson was not the first person to do this dance, he is the one who made the dance popular as it still is, almost thirty-seven years after it's debut. Not to mention, he really perfected it in every way, which is why it will always be a very memorable dance that will live on forever.

Next: Mike Tyson Spills Secrets About Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson choreographer Stacy Walker - Latest news from Russia and the world today

- Stacy, the idea of ​​showing the Michael Jackson show without Michael Jackson is quite risky. Are you afraid of criticism?

- I'm not afraid. Because I know what my intentions are. And I am responsible for everything that happens in the show, I have to make sure that everything is correct, authentic, with respect to Michael. Deciding to show this to the general public was not easy. But the family, agents - all pushed me to a positive decision. And I am very grateful to all these people for their help. Work has become a kind of therapy for me. Helped me through a very sad time. nine0005

– In addition to dancing, what will be in the concert? Music - a phonogram?

- No, there will be a combination of everything: recordings and live performance. We have a live band and vocalists.

- Have you seen the movie "That's it"?

- Of course. I starred in it (laughs). I watched it twice - in September, before the premiere. The painting was still in the editing process. I was surprised how they even managed to make a film from rehearsal recordings. Because we recorded the rehearsals not to show them to someone later, but for our work. For "debriefing", self-criticism. In general, it was amazing and pleasant to look at it. The second time I liked it no less, but it was, of course, sad, because no one will ever see this performance again. We didn’t have time to play ...

– Were you in Moscow with Jackson in 1996?

– No, I have never been to Russia at all. I worked with Michael on the History world tour. So I really want to get to your country!

- What are your memories of the History tour?

– It was great! I danced on stage with Michael, I felt his energy. He's electric! And I was also struck by the huge number of screaming fans everywhere. I'm sure Jackson has the best fans in the world (laughs). nine0005

- I saw them too - the crowd outside the National Hotel. Impressive.

- That's why I'm so excited about our King of Pop: Michael's fans know all his work, they understand it perfectly. They cannot be deceived. But they will appreciate authentic moments from Michael's past.

- Stacey, you've choreographed so many pop artists that I don't even know which one to ask you about. Just tell me, what is the craziest tour of your career?

– Everyone is crazy! (Laughs) Seriously, I've been fortunate to work with many very different artists, celebrities. And I have learned something from everyone. But working with Michael Jackson is something very special. I have learned a lot. Gained great experience. Even the choreography.

- How would you describe Michael Jackson as a dancer?

- Incredible, the only one, like no one else - well, these are all obvious epithets, you understand. He created his own style - this was his main genius. He, roughly speaking, connected the unconnected. He was very fond of watching old films - with Fred Astaire, Jim Kelly, Bob Foss - they inspired him a lot. And he somehow managed to combine that old choreography with modern trends, breakdance, for example. How he came up with this idea - I don’t know, but this is how a unique style developed. Which, by the way, has influenced many of today's artists, such as Usher and Justin Timberlake, for example. nine0005

- What was so special about Michael Jackson's body and muscles, why he could jump, dance at a breakneck pace, "slide" across the floor?

– God, I don't know. Mystery! One thing I can say: he was not afraid of work. One movement could rehearse for weeks. He did not go on stage until everything was perfect in the show: himself, dancers, musicians, vocalists ... Everything, in general.

– Perfectionist?

Exactly. He demanded the same from the team, he hired only the best. It was, frankly, very comfortable to work in such conditions. He always knew exactly what he wanted, what was needed for this and how best to do it. I liked that I was given clear tasks. In general, he is a professional, what can I say. nine0005

- A lot has been written about the personality of Michael Jackson, and polar ones at that: egoist, altruist, unsociable, withdrawn, infantile, too smart, and the like. What is real?

- Well, I can't talk about the personality of Michael Jackson. I can only talk about what I myself felt while working with him. He seemed very kind to me. He greatly appreciated the talent in people. Dancers and vocalists felt great with him, he inspired them. By the way, we had a huge team, but after each rehearsal, Michael thanked everyone personally. nine0005

- Maybe a strange question for you, but still: why is dance so much attention in modern pop music? Back in the 1970s, it was impossible to imagine an artist surrounded on stage by a dancing crowd. It started in the 1980s...

- The question is not strange. You are absolutely right: it all started in the 1980s, and again, the “fault” is Michael Jackson. By and large, we American dancers owe our careers to him. Not literally, of course: he couldn't hire us all. But it was from him that the fashion for large dance groups went. nine0005

– So the dance trend started by Jackson created new jobs?

- Yes. Jackson put dancing on a commercial footing. Before him, where could a dancer work? In musical theatre. On Broadway, if you're lucky. There was nowhere else in particular. And in the 1980s, clips, concerts, movies, TV programs, tours around the world appeared ... I don’t know what I would be doing now if it weren’t for Michael Jackson. My co-workers think the same.

– What influenced you as a dancer? nine0004

– I was into all styles. Over time, this turned into a super task: to be able to dance well for everyone. I especially love contemporary dance, jazz, hip-hop, and couple dances: tango, swing…

– Do you know Russian ballet and folk dance?

- I love Russian ballet! This is a unique beauty and elegance. We have one dancer in the team named Misha. His mother is a ballerina, she came to practice ballet with us twice a week. Fantastic woman: Michael even asked her to give lessons to his children, but it seems that they did not have time to study ... Unfortunately, I hardly know folklore. But here we have one in the troupe - I'm sure he knows how to dance something Russian or Ukrainian, because he makes such breathtaking jumps, with legs in different directions (laughs). nine0005

who actually invented the moonwalk

March 25, 2013 17:58 Maxim Dinkevich

Exactly 30 years ago, during the performance of Billie Jean at the Motown 25th Anniversary Concert, Michael Jackson moonwalked across the stage. Subsequently, she became the hallmark of the singer. However, Jackson should not be considered the inventor of this technique. nine0005

Exactly 30 years ago, on March 25, 1983, during the performance of the song Billie Jean at the concert in honor of the 25th anniversary of the Motown record label, Michael Jackson walked the stage "moonwalk". She subsequently became the hallmark of the King of Pop. However, Jackson should not be considered the inventor of this technique, Stop The Presses journalists write!

Trying to find out who invented the "moonwalk" is like looking for a needle in a haystack, journalists say. For example, the famous American jazz musician and showman Cab Calloway said that he performed the same movements on stage as Michael Jackson back in 1930s. Be that as it may, the earliest footage of what appears to be the late King of Pop dancing is from the mid-1950s. According to one version, the authorship of the "moonwalk" belongs to the American dancer Bill Bailey.

However, according to the authors of Stop The Presses!, Michael Jackson "peeped" the dance that made him famous not from Bailey, but from his contemporary Jeffrey Daniel, who was a member of the disco group Shalamar.

What did Michael Jackson himself say about this? In his memoirs, published in 1988 as a book, which is called "Moonwalk", the star honestly admits that the legendary dance was not his own invention.

"I practiced the moonwalk at home for a long time. At that time it was a street dance that black guys danced in the ghetto. However, I decided to add a few of my own elements to it. Three boys inspired me to these actions. They gave me basics. I practiced them at home for a long time, adding a couple of new movements to the original dance, "Michael Jackson wrote in his autobiography. nine0005

Who were these three guys who gave the famous performer his signature dance? Without a doubt, we are talking about Jeffrey Daniel of Shalamar and his bandmates: Geron "Casper" Candidate and Derek "Cooley" Jackson. Daniel was three years older than Jackson, so most likely, Jackson called him "boy" out of warm feelings.

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