Meaning of MJ famous provocative dance motions

Richard76

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Is there any meaning of famous MJ provocative dance motions? Or whey they came from? I'm talking about MJ ripping clothes off or while MJ taking his crotch or other similar motions. Always wonder what does it mean. Just read somewhere, people claim that it could be his childhood mental trauma, when he used to perform in adult clubs or when he got abused by his dad... I dont want to believe in that, just want to know the truth
 

Hiker

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Oh boy! Where do I start!! He has been quoted by Michael Bush saying -
“You’ve got to impress the men and make love to the women.” Jackson is quoted to have said about his stage performances.
... and ...
“Girls love cake, so we give them cake.”
I honestly don't know what "cake" refers to, but this was during shirt ripping phase.

So I don't think it came from trauma, it was well thought out strategy by Michael. It got more and more explicit as he got more confident. Michael has often been viewed as someone who wanted to push the boundaries, and his provocative dancing is one way of pushing the boundaries. I am sure he drew inspiration from his early years watching dancers in strip clubs. I won't associate his dancing with trauma, he seemed to quite enjoy pushing those boundaries.
(... and we are very grateful for that ;) )

I have not read Michael Bush book, this is my source
 

Richard76

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Oh boy! Where do I start!! He has been quoted by Michael Bush saying -
“You’ve got to impress the men and make love to the women.” Jackson is quoted to have said about his stage performances.
... and ...
“Girls love cake, so we give them cake.”
I honestly don't know what "cake" refers to, but this was during shirt ripping phase.

So I don't think it came from trauma, it was well thought out strategy by Michael. It got more and more explicit as he got more confident. Michael has often been viewed as someone who wanted to push the boundaries, and his provocative dancing is one way of pushing the boundaries. I am sure he drew inspiration from his early years watching dancers in strip clubs. I won't associate his dancing with trauma, he seemed to quite enjoy pushing those boundaries.
(... and we are very grateful for that ;) )

I have not read Michael Bush book, this is my source
So he indeed was grabbing his crotch and ripping his clothes off, because he saw it in the strip clubs.....? damn. i was sure that is not true...i just dont want to think that MJ could associate himself to strippers 😅
 

Hiker

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So he indeed was grabbing his crotch and ripping his clothes off, because he saw it in the strip clubs.....? damn. i was sure that is not true...i just dont want to think that MJ could associate himself to strippers 😅
Noooooo, That is not at all what I said!! :mad: I said - I think he might have drawn his inspiration from watching the dancers there. Inspiration is not same as copying, and its not at all the same as association oneself with strippers.
 

Richard76

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Noooooo, That is not at all what I said!! :mad: I said - I think he might have drawn his inspiration from watching the dancers there. Inspiration is not same as copying, and its not at all the same as association oneself with strippers.
oh. well. there is still one main question. woman dancers or man dancers? because some dude from this forum claimed that MJ tried to look. feel more feminine, and if he was inspiring from woman strippers there is a really crazy combo mix 😅
 

Richard76

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4204ac8846bd877a6e9b76d03fe0e35c--famous-people-pop.jpg

damn. i just remembered this photosession. and now i just dont know what to think...
Noooooo, That is not at all what I said!! :mad: I said - I think he might have drawn his inspiration from watching the dancers there. Inspiration is not same as copying, and its not at all the same as association oneself with strippers.
 

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4204ac8846bd877a6e9b76d03fe0e35c--famous-people-pop.jpg

damn. i just remembered this photosession. and now i just dont know what to think...
Well, Its one of the 10,000 pictures of Michael from 100s of photo shoots. It does not really mean anything.
 

Hiker

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He said even he can not believe the things he does on stage
.... and I don't think anyone believes him 😂😂, Michael the perfectionist just goes out on stage in front of a million people and does whatever the music asks him to do. Not buying it. I am sure some of his moves were impromptu, maybe that part increased over time, but most of them were calculated and practiced. Though that's just my opinion.
 

staywild23

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"Cake" refers to his bare chest. Can't remember where I heard/read that but that's what it's supposed to refer to.
YES! The first time I heard this I had to laugh. I find it adorable.
 

staywild23

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Yeah, so, I don't think any of Michael's dance moves are 1) from trauma or 2) feminine. I think they are sensual AF though and most of us are just not used to seeing men be that sensual on stage. We see women doing it more often, so it's easy to associate it with women. But there is nothing feminine about Michael's dancing in my opinion. All that swagger is 100% man LOL

But on another note, yes, Michael saw lots of stuff he shouldn't have as a child. Certainly some of it impacted and influenced him. But, he is also an unbelievably well-traveled person who picked up inspiration from cultures all around the world. He's also an extremely well-rounded person with his interest in film, photography, visual art, music of all genres, etc. The man studied tremendously. I mean, look at how diverse his major influences are and how he incorporated little bits of what he saw to create his own unique MJ style. The man was a genius. To put aside all of that intentionality and assume his dancing stemmed solely from traumatic experiences as a child seems like a disservice to the greatness of his art. Finally, it suggests that maybe there is something wrong with how he dances, or that him being sensual and sexy on stage is something that can't simply be explained by the fact that this is just part of who he was as a person. I strongly believe that Michael was a passionate, dynamic, sensual, sexual person who radiated that kind of energy on stage because it came from within himself. The dance moves were absolutely a part of his branding, to appeal to his audience, and shine a light on his incomparable charisma. But I also believe the inspiration for both his music and his moves came from somewhere deep inside of him. Remember, he said he felt most like himself on stage. It stands to reason that this is just a part of who he was.
 

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ummm... Well he definitely understood the draw of being a provocateur with sexuality. In the 50's Elvis "gyrated" his hips and it created a craze... I think it's more so understanding the business, how to draw attention, taking pieces from previous performers and film actors - pushing it further to create that "craze".
 

Hiker

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Yeah, so, I don't think any of Michael's dance moves are 1) from trauma or 2) feminine. I think they are sensual AF though and most of us are just not used to seeing men be that sensual on stage. We see women doing it more often, so it's easy to associate it with women. But there is nothing feminine about Michael's dancing in my opinion. All that swagger is 100% man LOL
Absolutely, that swagger, that confidence, its so manly!!! He learnt from everyone and then made it his own.
 

zinniabooklover

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Is there any meaning of famous MJ provocative dance motions?
Not necessarily. Although it depends on what you mean by 'is there any meaning?'. Artistic truth and literal truth are two different things. A dance performance can't really be reduced to individual parts. Dance - or any art form - just doesn't work like that. You can't isolate one movement or gesture and try to pin down the 'meaning' as if it was a piece of evidence in court.

Or whey they came from? I'm talking about MJ ripping clothes off or while MJ taking his crotch or other similar motions.
Michael ripping his shirt is just him being a rock star, imo. I don't think it has any more meaning than that. It's a sexy, rock star thing to do, it's theatrical and dramatic, it'll get the crowd going wild. It emphasises a wild moment in a song. I don't think it means anything deeper than that.

As for the crotch grab, I think people over-think that one, as well. It is explicit but it's not vulgar or crude. In so far as it has any meaning, I think that can change. It can look very erotic and sensual but it can also seem very tough and challenging. Like a macho guy signalling his 'toughness' to a rival, perhaps. And that is complete guesswork on my part. I'm just throwing out ideas. It doesn't really matter. It's a dance gesture which he used often but which I think has been massively over-analysed.

Always wonder what does it mean.
Any single gesture, dance step, movement on its own doesn't necessarily mean anything. Woven into an entire dance performance it might mean something to an individual spectator - or to Michael himself. Or it might not mean anything. It might be abstract. Trying to analyse this stuff would be like trying to analyse his use of 'hee hee' in a song. What did any of it mean to Michael? Well, we don't know since journalists hardly ever asked him interesting questions about his work.

Just read somewhere, people claim that it could be his childhood mental trauma, when he used to perform in adult clubs or when he got abused by his dad
People come up with all sorts of crazy theories regarding Michael. It's highly unlikely that a dance gesture he used in his adult life is based on this one specific thing that he witnessed as a child. Artistic inspiration doesn't work like that, as far as I can tell.

People are always trying to psychoanalyse Michael. It's nonsense. Sometimes a sexy dance gesture is nothing more than a sexy dance gesture.
 

zinniabooklover

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I found this on another thread. I love it. From an article although can't see the details of which article / magazine. Let me go back and have another look. In the meantime:

"The most eloquent parts of the body when dancing are the hands and feet. Especially the hands. The hands are the third tool after words and facial expression to help us express our thoughts and feelings. They make gestures; they talk; they can even sing. I often tell my students that, to be truly expressive when dancing, the hands have to continue the impulse coming out of you, your gaze and your feelings. The palm and fingertips are the source of outpouring energy. They have to be visible. The hands are the most delicate instrument in movement.


Michael enhanced the visual effect with the help of white tape and a glove. They acted like fireballs of energy flashing against the darkness of the mysterious image. The same was true of the white socks – they accentuated his feet. And all this elegant magic of a cavalier in black suddenly opened up in a wild African ecstasy concealed under the covers of the theatrical props. Tap dance movements turned into sensual arching of the body, the famous daring crotch grabbing and crazy shirt ripping.


This works better than a striptease. It’s seduction at the level of subconscious associations and emotions, the level of beauty and not plain physiology. This is how Michael gripped the attention of even the most demanding women and young ladies who don’t fall for demonstrations of rude masculinity.

Did Michael realize what he was doing? I think, intuitively he did, and he also realized that he was drawing a lot of attention – but he never thought too much about it. And this allowed him to dance naturally, chastely and ingenuously, like a wild man. His dancing body became seductive and desirable, while his soul remained filled with pure energy. It is sensuality of a higher level, where the body is subject to the spirit."
 

staywild23

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Michael ripping his shirt is just him being a rock star, imo. I don't think it has any more meaning than that. It's a sexy, rock star thing to do, it's theatrical and dramatic, it'll get the crowd going wild.

IT SURE DOES! 😂 🥵

As for the crotch grab, I think people over-think that one, as well. It is explicit but it's not vulgar or crude. In so far as it has any meaning, I think that can change. It can look very erotic and sensual but it can also seem very tough and challenging. Like a macho guy signalling his 'toughness' to a rival, perhaps. And that is complete guesswork on my part. I'm just throwing out ideas. It doesn't really matter. It's a dance gesture which he used often but which I think has been massively over-analysed.
Because of my own appreciation for this move, I never think about what it means beyond, well... we have a whole thread for discussing why we like it. BUT I do think this part I bolded here is an excellent point. It makes so much sense that it increased during the Bad era given the image he was projecting during that time. I mean it's the plot of the song Bad and the video for it. Thanks for pointing this out! I legit hadn't even thought of it lol.

Sometimes a sexy dance gesture is nothing more than a sexy dance gesture.
Hallelujah!
 

staywild23

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THIS IS AMAZING. Thank you so much for sharing this!!

Michael enhanced the visual effect with the help of white tape and a glove. They acted like fireballs of energy flashing against the darkness of the mysterious image. The same was true of the white socks – they accentuated his feet. And all this elegant magic of a cavalier in black suddenly opened up in a wild African ecstasy concealed under the covers of the theatrical props. Tap dance movements turned into sensual arching of the body, the famous daring crotch grabbing and crazy shirt ripping.
love this!

This works better than a striptease.
soooo much better lol.

It's seduction at the level of subconscious associations and emotions, the level of beauty and not plain physiology. This is how Michael gripped the attention of even the most demanding women and young ladies who don't fall for demonstrations of rude masculinity.
I am never going to recover from this explanation. Wow. So on point it's crazy.

Did Michael realize what he was doing? I think, intuitively he did, and he also realized that he was drawing a lot of attention – but he never thought too much about it. And this allowed him to dance naturally, chastely and ingenuously, like a wild man. His dancing body became seductive and desirable, while his soul remained filled with pure energy. It is sensuality of a higher level, where the body is subject to the spirit."
BRILLIANT. Wow. I wonder if this is why I sometimes feel an almost "spiritual fullness" while watching him dance. Which can be confusing because I feel a lot of things when I watch him dance, sing, or perform in general, but never expected to feel that. But I do, often. I always say this, but it's true. MJ stimulates every part of me - mind, body, heart, soul. This explanation is everything.
 

zinniabooklover

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Because of my own appreciation for this move, I never think about what it means beyond, well... we have a whole thread for discussing why we like it. BUT I do think this part I bolded her is an excellent point. It makes so much sense to that it increased during the Bad era given the image he was projecting during that time. I mean it's the plot of the song Bad and the video for it. Thanks for pointing this out! I legit hadn't even thought of it lol.
I need to go back and check this but I've seen low-key versions of the crotch grab in Triumph and (I think) even in Destiny. In one of the videos I watched the brothers all did it. I'm sure I've seen that. I didn't pay too much attention cos the crotch grab is never the most interesting thing about Michael so my focus is always on other stuff. But I'm convinced I've seen it. I highly doubt ALL the brothers were doing a version of crotch grab as a way of working out childhood or teenage trauma from J5 days.

I think it's just a cool, sexy, edgy, sassy gesture. Emphasis on sassy!
 

zinniabooklover

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OK, so the article is one I found ages ago, read a bit, bookmarked it so I could finish it at a later stage ... and I promptly forgot all about it, lol. Cos I do that. Stuff my bookmarks with awesome stuff and then forget it.

Let's see if I can do the link:


Yes, it worked. The analysis is by a flamenco dancer called Amor. The bits I did read were awesome.
 

staywild23

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I need to go back and check this but I've seen low-key versions of the crotch grab in Triumph and (I think) even in Destiny. In one of the videos I watched the brothers all did it. I'm sure I've seen that.
OH yeah, he definitely did it before the Bad era. For sure. But I think it became the most....aggressive(?) during that time.

I didn't pay too much attention cos the crotch grab is never the most interesting thing about Michael so my focus is always on other stuff.
the MOST interesting thing about Michael?! Of course not! But a wonderful thing about him that I deeply appreciate? Oh yes lol.

But I'm convinced I've seen it. I highly doubt ALL the brothers were doing a version of crotch grab as a way of working out childhood or teenage trauma from J5 days. I think it's just a cool, sexy, edgy, sassy gesture. Emphasis on sassy!
lmaooooo
 

zinniabooklover

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OH yeah, he definitely did it before the Bad era. For sure. But I think it became the most....aggressive(?) during that time.
Oh, for sure it developed a lot. He definitely used it differently in different eras. His dancing evolved massively, didn't it? Even though there are core steps, movements, gestures he liked to use it never stayed the same so it never got boring. I was really just trying to make the point that the gesture, initially at least, wasn't unique to Michael. Who knows which brother invented it? Jackie, Marlon and Michael did the choreography together. Even if it was Michael's idea, the fact of all 3 of them doing it gives it a somewhat different meaning (if it even *has* a meaning, lol) than if it's done by Michael alone 10 years later.

the MOST interesting thing about Michael?! Of course not!
I wouldn't have a clue where to start if I was to try to decide what is the MOST interesting thing about Michael. That can be someone else's challenge, lol.

But a wonderful thing about him that I deeply appreciate? Oh yes lol.
:ROFLMAO:
 

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Michael Jackson tentatively started to grab his crotch area during the final concerts of the Victory Tour.

He realized that his female fans liked a lot that particular dance move.

So, from the BAD era onwards he decided to make it a standard dance move for his concerts, on stage performances and even for certain of his music videos.

There is no really a hidden, deep meaning behind that dance move, other than being a sexually suggestive dance move which added more sexuality to his on stage persona.
 

Hiker

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I only see it as provocative if he had grabbed someone else‘s crotch on stage
you are so not a woman :ROFLMAO: !!

Michael Jackson tentatively started to grab his crotch area during the final concerts of the Victory Tour.
that's interesting, I have not seen Victory to verify that, but this got me intrigued!
 
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