Paris Jackson: I can't sing, dance or MOONWALK
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Michael Jackson was known as an incredible dancer throughout his singing career. His signature kicks and flicks, as well as his crotch-grabbing, became synonymous with his work. Another move that gained huge popularity was The Moonwalk, which Michael is credited with bringing to the public.
Did Michael Jackson invent the Moonwalk?
While The Moonwalk was performed by Michael, another move known as the backslide was performed before this popular dance.
In fact, it was the backslide inventors, or popularisers, who taught it to Michael for him to make his own.
On popular US TV series Soul Train, three men performed a routine which included the backslide.
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Those men are Jeffrey Daniel, who was a founder of band Shalamar; Geron ‘Caszper’ Candidate and Derek ‘Cooley’ Jaxson.
Derek and Jeffrey have both talked about teaching the backslide to Michael, but it seems the singer struggled with it initially, thus being forced to make it his own.
Cooley told ABC News: “The backslide – you slide backward and [you] make you look like you’re walking forward. So it’s an illusion.
“The moonwalk is in a circular motion… like you’re floating in air.
“And you keep continuing in a circle. The moonwalk was coined from Michael Jackson. That was a whole different dance move.”
“Once we got the chance to finally teach him [Michael Jackson], he kept saying, ‘I can’t feel it. I can’t feel it,’ and we’re like, ‘Feel what? You just do it.’
“[And Michael Jackson said] ‘No, no, you don’t understand. I can’t feel it.’ … He 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.'”
Cooley and Jeffrey joined Michael on Smooth Criminal, performing moves which included the anti-gravity lean and the moonwalk.
Jeffrey also helped choreograph music videos with Michael, including Bad, as well as working with him on his tour.
Speaking to TIME magazine at the time of Michael’s death, Jeffrey said: “We first worked with him in 1980, but he did not do the moonwalk publicly until 1983 [on Motown’s 25th-anniversary TV special].
“And after he did it, he asked, ‘How was it?’ And I said, ‘Why did you wait so long?’
“He said, ‘Well, it still didn’t come out right.’ I’m like, Huh? This is the performance that totally blew everyone away — and he said something didn’t come out right.
“Whatever was going on in his mind, we would never know it.
“We all know that it was a mind-blowing performance, and it just took him to another level.”
Jeffrey also said Michael rehearsed ‘religiously’ on his dances every Sunday, but would also insist on watching inspiring dances in order to help him with his performance.
Jeffrey added: “And then watching Fred Astaire films, watching Gene Kelly, watching the Nicholas Brothers, watching Sammy Davis Jr., getting inspiration.
“He could eat popcorn like nobody I knew, ’cause I could eat some popcorn.
“And we’re sitting watching movies together and you can hear him scraping the bottom, and I’m just cracking up laughing.
“And he breaks out singing along with the movie. I was like, ‘My God, he’s just like anybody else you know.’”
So, while Michael adapted the backslide for his own moves, it seems The Moonwalk was something of his own, as even those who worked with him have not taken credit for Michael’s genius.
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