Did MJ exploit his potential as a dance performer to the fullest?

mj_frenzy

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Taking his exceptional dance talent into account, personally I believe that MJ did not exploit his full potential as a dance performer.

I am mainly referring to the fact that he did not seem eager to adopt new dance routines (in his performances) during the process of time.

It could be claimed that several possible reasons are to blame for that: lack of interest on his part after a certain point, lack of new exciting choreographic ideas on his part, uncertainty issues, or even some sort of limitations posed by the basic (& mostly unchanged) team of his co-dancers.

Or, maybe he just thought that people were mainly interested in seeing his iconic dance moves again & again, so he acted accordingly.

It is often brought up (by both his fans & general public) that MJ’s live performances look almost identical when it comes to certain tours (that observation aims primarily at the HIStory Tour).

Moreover, the Medley performances of the MTV Music Video Awards (1995) & MJ/Friends Concerts (1999) are identical from a choreographic standpoint.

That phenomenon is still obvious in the ‘00s. The MSG Anniversary Concerts (2001) & the American Bandstand performance (2002) are two examples that spring to mind.

Judging also by his This Is It rehearsals, MJ seemed (again) to be inclined to rehash his old, same dance routines.

In short, I feel that MJ did not exploit his potential as a dance performer to the fullest.

Discuss.
 

Tony R

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Did he fulfil his potential? Yes, as a pop performer. No if he was a professional dancer, which he wasn't.

But I was going to say same as Respect, he didn't change his routines up. I.e. Dangerous was always Dangerous, Beat It was always Beat It etc. Sometimes the occasional enhancement.

But that's a different discussion.
 

barbee0715

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Did he fulfil his potential? Yes, as a pop performer. No if he was a professional dancer, which he wasn't.

But I was going to say same as Respect, he didn't change his routines up. I.e. Dangerous was always Dangerous, Beat It was always Beat It etc. Sometimes the occasional enhancement.

But that's a different discussion.
And I don't think he should have changed it either-just alter it a bit for the stage. Those were instantly classic songs and dances.

That would be like Liza Minnelli or Ben Vereen performing their classic songs without the iconic Bob Fosse choreography. Or Judy Garland performing 'Born in a Trunk' without the clown costume while sitting on the stage. It wouldn't be right.


(To see Michael's sheer talent as a dancer, just watch the Variety shows-tons of dance routines in every style imaginable).
 

Themidwestcowboy

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What truly gets overlooked is Michaels incredible tap dancing! I have never seen a pop peformer master the art of tap dancing at the level that MJ did. The variety shows are a great watch!
 

mj_frenzy

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respect77;4190269 said:
I totally disagree with your post. Totally. As if we aren't even watching the same performer.

The man has produced more iconic moves, dance steps and choreographies than anyone has ever done.

Thriller dance routine
Beat It dance routine
Billie Jean dance routine (a different one in the video and a different one in concerts)
Bad dance routine
Smooth Criminal dance routine
Panther Dance
Remember The Time dance routine
Dangerous dance routine
Scream dance routine
Ghosts dance routine (which is technically his probably most difficult routine and very creative as well - so that single handedly refutes any notion of him declining and "lack of new ideas" too)

I possibly missed a couple too.

IMO that's more than enough.

Most of these are highly creative, individually recognizable, iconic in themselves - and he did them ALL. So I am not sure what you are talking about re. "lack of new ideas" and lack of progress when he did so many different, individaully recognizable and iconic dance routines that are emulated by many performers until today. It's the exact opposite, actually.

That he has trademark moves that reappear in several of his routines is only natural. It is only natural for ANY dancer - especially ones who developed their own trademark style like MJ did. You have to be able to find that fine balance between creating something new but not abandoning your own style as a dancer. MJ mastered that perfectly actually.

To me your post seems to be too focused on the fact that he rarely changed his concert performances, but that has nothing to do with a lack of new ideas and lack of progress - and that should be clear enough from the abundance of new ideas all the time in his routines in his videos and the constant progress. That he mainly stuck to the same things or similar things in concerts has more to do with what he thought the audience was expecting from him in a concert, IMO.

I really appreciate your pretty long post in response to my question.

His dance abilities in his music clips speak for themselves. I think no one can deny the fact that those choreographies were highly creative & individually recognizable.

My question has to do mostly with his on-stage dance evolution, which after a certain point (for one or another reason, & not necessarily due to lack of new ideas) looked to me that was depending too much on what he had already achieved (in terms of choreography).

Tony R;4190286 said:
Did he fulfil his potential? Yes, as a pop performer. No if he was a professional dancer, which he wasn't.

But I was going to say same as Respect, he didn't change his routines up. I.e. Dangerous was always Dangerous, Beat It was always Beat It etc. Sometimes the occasional enhancement.

But that's a different discussion.

I am sure MJ was capable of more things than “the occasional enhancement”.

In all honesty, I wish MJ had experimented more with his on-stage dance routines (while keeping his songs' concepts basically the same).

I tend to believe that the mass appeal of his iconic dance moves did not allow him (after a certain point) to expand even more his on-stage dance abilities.
 

AdamBa17

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I totally disagree with your post. Totally. As if we aren't even watching the same performer.

The man has produced more iconic moves, dance steps and choreographies than anyone has ever done.

Thriller dance routine
Beat It dance routine
Billie Jean dance routine (a different one in the video and a different one in concerts)
Bad dance routine
Smooth Criminal dance routine
Panther Dance
Remember The Time dance routine
Dangerous dance routine
Scream dance routine
Ghosts dance routine (which is technically his probably most difficult routine and very creative as well - so that single handedly refutes any notion of him declining and "lack of new ideas" too)

I possibly missed a couple too.

IMO that's more than enough.

Most of these are highly creative, individually recognizable, iconic in themselves - and he did them ALL. So I am not sure what you are talking about re. "lack of new ideas" and lack of progress when he did so many different, individaully recognizable and iconic dance routines that are emulated by many performers until today. It's the exact opposite, actually.

That he has trademark moves that reappear in several of his routines is only natural. It is only natural for ANY dancer - especially ones who developed their own trademark style like MJ did. You have to be able to find that fine balance between creating something new but not abandoning your own style as a dancer. MJ mastered that perfectly actually.

To me your post seems to be too focused on the fact that he rarely changed his concert performances, but that has nothing to do with a lack of new ideas and lack of progress - and that should be clear enough from the abundance of new ideas all the time in his routines in his videos and the constant progress. That he mainly stuck to the same things or similar things in concerts has more to do with what he thought the audience was expecting from him in a concert, IMO.
That's not really a great argument seeing as how the only songs you listed that were performed live were choreographed in the 80s and the routines never changed again.
 

SmoothCriminal1995

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He did absolutely!!

I understand the frustration with Michael a little, when you have seen every piece of footage, it can begin to be familiar.
But the more I watch the next generation of dancer, I appreciate Michael even more as a dancer. When you see Michael dance it's everything, its not about how fast he can do something or how cool he looks when he does it. All the new generation try so hard, yet with Michael its effortless and that is a master at his craft.
 

Lil Ced

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*insert obligatory "One Night Only" comment* This is why I want One Night Only to be leaked or released so badly. Apparently he did change a lot of the classic choreographies for his songs! I also find that his dancing in 1995 was the best of his career. Yeah. My 2 cents.
 

Annita

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*insert obligatory "One Night Only" comment* This is why I want One Night Only to be leaked or released so badly. Apparently he did change a lot of the classic choreographies for his songs! I also find that his dancing in 1995 was the best of his career. Yeah. My 2 cents.

But aren`t there also comments, I think for example from Ortega he felt not comfortable to change the classic choregraphy.
 

TarinJade

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As soon as I saw the thread title, I knew exactly where this was going because of the live performances. However, I am going with "yes he did" because of the uniqueness of each dance routine, and not the fact that he didn't keep evolving the routines over the years.
 

KOPV

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He fulfilled his potential but there are things the general public were/are not aware of... ie. his capabilities is tap dancing, and various dance styles/moves that are more so classified as 'classically trained'
 

Ms. BlueGangsta

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*insert obligatory "One Night Only" comment* This is why I want One Night Only to be leaked or released so badly. Apparently he did change a lot of the classic choreographies for his songs! I also find that his dancing in 1995 was the best of his career. Yeah. My 2 cents.

I'd probably faint if the One Night Only rehearsals (because filming never started for the actual thing, right?) were ever released.
Had Shana snatched those tapes we'd probably be watching em by now.:hysterical:
 

DancingMjsdream

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I only wished that MJ did more of his nineties routines live.Dangerous was perfect. It would have been great if he had done RTT or Ghosts
 

Tony R

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On the 'should he have changed his routines more' angle...I was always vehemently on the yes camp. Until someone pointed out to me, that if they'd have gone to see him live & he didn't do Billie Jean as per Motown 25 they'd have felt a little cheated. I'd never seen it from that angle before. I was seeing it as someone who'd seen him live many times.

Having said that, by HIStory I still thing things like the J5 medley were getting tired, but that's more song selection than routine maybe.

So, personally I'd have killed for a new Beat It or Thriller routine, but I can see why some wouldn't. It seemed like on This Is It, we'd have got some variation for TWYMMF and the video for Smooth Criminal.
 

myosotis

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I think he didn't change them because (like his music) he wanted the dances to be 'immortal'.

In the same way as he looked at Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite ('every track a killer'), he wanted his choreographed dance pieces to be perfect incarnations of the story he wanted to tell for each song. If you went to see a Russian ballet performance of 'Swan Lake' , you'd expect to see the classic steps. If you went to see a stage performance of 'West Side Story', you'd expect to see the classic Jerome Robbins steps. Same with Michael's choreographed pieces. And because they are 'set', people love to perform them (and benchmark themselves against Michael) , and so the dances live on.

As to Michael's development as a dancer, you have to go back to his early teenage years to see how far he'd travelled, dance -wise. At the end of his life he was still a mesmerising performer, even using the 'same' choreography. Watching 'TII', I found it hard to drag my eyes away from MJ to the backing dancers, because he danced with his whole personality, his face, his fingers, his clothes. He was the ultimate expression of his art, and you never wanted to miss a moment. That I think was the true measure of his dancing...not how many times he changed the steps or the movements.

(And I so agree that the HBO rehearsals would be wonderful to see. I'm not sure that we would love the new choreography as much as the old, though. )
 

kevin_1990

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Sorry for going off topic a little bit i know this is not about his dancing what i'm going to say but re-watching 'This Is It' again it's amazing to watch how much of a great showmanship he had making all those intro video's for the songs he wanted the best for his fans with all the amount of time and creativity he and others put into this tour it truely would have been the best show in the world.
 

Jabz

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I'd love to break things down, because as a dancer, people throwing the term around like MJ not being a "professional dancer"... Do you even know what professional means? It means you get paid to do whatever skill/service you provide. You can be a professional dancer and be shit, you could be a non professional dancer and be the best in the world. Its irrelevant. And while MJ is self taught, he has been taught things by many other dancers such as Jeffrey Daniel, Poppin Taco, etc.

Now when it comes to his performances the live solo stuff all has some kind of evolution, if you compare the last performance of Dangerous to the Dangerous Era version, there are loads of changes, from the way the music is mixed to the sound effects to the choreography. However there are things that don't have the same evolution, such as Beat It, but that doesn't mean it needed any changes.

I do however agree with the original poster. Every time a clip comes out and I see MJ do moves I hadn't seen him do before, like when Bad Wembley was released, I wanted to see more of that, the things I knew he was capable of but never saw, and where he could take it. Even in Billie Jean his gliding changes, he adds more of that cobra style to it.

But things like, never having a live version of RTT? Soul Train doesn't count. Was he not confident with the choreography? He got it wrong sitting in a chair, lol. No versions of 2 Bad on the HIStory tour? Despite it being one of the most technical routines and clearly it was being brought in for TII. No choreo for Scream, No choreo for YRMW at MSG 2001. Never a live version of Bad with choreo. But then we did get choreo for things like Will You Be There, In The Closet (though short and a bit crappy IMO). I feel he was limited by his creative team, while I have no insight because I wasn't there, Travis and Lavelle seem like yes men that wouldn't challenge Michaels creativity, they had been with him for like 20 years Sometimes its good to have variations of things but I think Michael was afraid to change things too much because the fans wouldn't like it.

TV Guide: What's your favorite song to perform?
Michael: "Billie Jean", but only when I don't have to do it the same way. The audience wants a certain thing. I have to do the moonwalk in that spot. [Laughs] I'd like to do a different version.

I spent way more time then I wanted to on this post and I don't even think I remember and\or proven my point, lol. Sorry for probable typos!
 
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