Michael’s signature dance moves

filmandmusic

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Have you actually realized how many he has lol

you’ve got the moonwalk, the robot 70s style, the robot 90s style, the side walk, circle glide, multiple spins, toe stand, the lean, the JB shuffle, ankle breaker, crotch grab, tap dance, mime dancing, the kick, his various arm and finger gestures, that move where he seems to kick his ass with his heel (often done during WBSS, MitM or BoW) I forgot some, right?

Only a select few of those has he used throughout his career though. His spins have always been there from the earliest Motown audition to this is it, toe stand has been around since 1979/1980, the JB style dancing has always been around in variations (making it his own). One of his rarest moves is the split which he only did in the 60s and early 70s so that is hardly signature but I still wanted to mention it lol. Another rare one is the robot walk (done in 1995 during BJ)

He basically kept expanding his move set all the time and he nailed all of them, he tweaked them until they looked like MJ moves, I never not once felt like he was copying, he was just making it better 🤯

It might not be worth making a thread for but I wanted to get this of my chest 😛
 

zinniabooklover

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Have you actually realized how many he has lol

you’ve got the moonwalk, the robot 70s style, the robot 90s style, the side walk, circle glide, multiple spins, toe stand, the lean, the JB shuffle, ankle breaker, crotch grab, tap dance, mime dancing, the kick, his various arm and finger gestures, that move where he seems to kick his ass with his heel (often done during WBSS, MitM or BoW) I forgot some, right?

Only a select few of those has he used throughout his career though. His spins have always been there from the earliest Motown audition to this is it, toe stand has been around since 1979/1980, the JB style dancing has always been around in variations (making it his own). One of his rarest moves is the split which he only did in the 60s and early 70s so that is hardly signature but I still wanted to mention it lol. Another rare one is the robot walk (done in 1995 during BJ)

He basically kept expanding his move set all the time and he nailed all of them, he tweaked them until they looked like MJ moves, I never not once felt like he was copying, he was just making it better 🤯

It might not be worth making a thread for but I wanted to get this of my chest 😛
Also his Jackie Wilson move. It's sort of a shuffle, similar to the JB one, but then he does this thing with his heel (right leg, IIRC), moving it across his body. Can't explain it very well. Don't know how often he did it. He didn't do it in any videos, afaik. There is a gif I bumped a while back. Will try to find it again.
 

Nite Line

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Also his locking (Not sure of the name) dance move that he did during Jam and some Jackson’s variety show performances.
 

Hiker

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Here you go
Dangerous-pose2.jpg
 

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Nite Line

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For me, Michael's best dance move is the spin and dropping on his knees. There is something quite magical about that.
 

Hiker

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For me, Michael's best dance move is the spin and dropping on his knees. There is something quite magical about that.
I always feel like, ouch! that must have hurt! But as a dancer he would know how to land.

I guess multiple spins and toe stand is too obvious :)
 

Nite Line

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I always feel like, ouch! that must have hurt! But as a dancer he would know how to land.

I guess multiple spins and toe stand is too obvious :)
I read somewhere that he used to wear knee pads.
 

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I read somewhere that he used to wear knee pads.
you mean not just the obvious ones outside in BoW, but inside? That would make sense given the amount of jumping on the knees he did, but I thought that would restrict the movement too :unsure:
 

filmandmusic

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My favorite move is simply the multiple spinning, he did it like 3 times per song in the 70s, it became quite rare later on ( except for MITM performances and sometimes billie jean)

My absolute favorite move is in the video clip for in the closet where he dance so casually right after the build up to the part that goes “
because there's something about you baby
That makes me want
To give it to you
I swear there's something about you baby
That makes me want”

He has only done that dance ones and it is way too short! lol there is a gif of it but yeah I don’t know how to post stuff like that.
 

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Everything this man does on stage is iconic, even throwing his arms on the side, even the way he walks/struts on stage!! No one can move like that. So I have been having really hard time isolating the real iconic dance moves from the rest. But here is the obvious footwork.

giphy.gif
 

Hiker

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My favorite move is simply the multiple spinning, he did it like 3 times per song in the 70s, it became quite rare later on ( except for MITM performances and sometimes billie jean)

My absolute favorite move is in the video clip for in the closet where he dance so casually right after the build up to the part that goes “
because there's something about you baby
That makes me want
To give it to you
I swear there's something about you baby
That makes me want”

He has only done that dance ones and it is way too short! lol there is a gif of it but yeah I don’t know how to post stuff like that.
Here you go (I hope you did not mean from the live performance!)

giphy-downsized-large.gif
 

Hiker

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... and life would be incomplete if I did not post something from dangerous, so here is the iconic finger dance. I don't think anyone in past, present or future can create dance with just one tiny finger!! This was probably unique to HN during Dangerous tour. I don't remember him repeating this later.

mjgif4.gif
 

Themidwestcowboy

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I love his "picking up the flowers" (lol) move that he does before the second verse and at the end of the second verse in Billie Jean.

It evolved with time. The one he did in Motown 25 was different than the one he did in The Victory Tour and the how he did it in the Bad Tour was very different from the one on the Dangerous Tour

 
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83magic

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michael’s dancing was the part of his expression that he was the most passionate, and spoke the most about. I personally think it’s synonymous with his name. the basis of most of his performances, and I wouldn’t have it any other way💜

I liked when he showed his range with the choreography, however, it was even better when he improvised alone.👍🏽

there were certain things that were his own. whether it was a move, a gesture, or even a facial expression.

he had at least three different kicks 🦵 my favourite being what I call ‘the corkscrew’. my number one ☝️ has to be the spin. I’ve never seen anyone do that like him. I wonder if he ever got dizzy?

the foot shifting, heel clicks, and of course, gliding, made it look as though he was on ice.

the way he was able to link a series of poses into one singular movement, was the essence of his genius. he was quick, intricate, light, and smooth. there was continuous flow. he had a great sense of timing ⏱ he knew how to pace himself, and when to let go.

he took inspiration from multiple sources (including animals) to create something completely different. even his teachers 👨‍🏫 sammy Davis jr and James brown praised him for that.
 

Hiker

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I love his "picking up the flowers" (lol) move that he does before the second verse and at the end of the second verse in Billie Jean.
Love that name - picking up the flowers :) Its a very cute dance move.

michael’s dancing was the part of his expression that he was the most passionate, and spoke the most about. I personally think it’s synonymous with his name. the basis of most of his performances, and I wouldn’t have it any other way💜

I liked when he showed his range with the choreography, however, it was even better when he improvised alone.👍🏽

there were certain things that were his own. whether it was a move, a gesture, or even a facial expression.

he had at least three different kicks 🦵 my favourite being what I call ‘the corkscrew’. my number one ☝️ has to be the spin. I’ve never seen anyone do that like him. I wonder if he ever got dizzy?

the foot shifting, heel clicks, and of course, gliding, made it look as though he was on ice.

the way he was able to link a series of poses into one singular movement, was the essence of his genius. he was quick, intricate, light, and smooth. there was continuous flow. he had a great sense of timing ⏱ he knew how to pace himself, and when to let go.

he took inspiration from multiple sources (including animals) to create something completely different. even his teachers 👨‍🏫 sammy Davis jr and James brown praised him for that.
LOVE this whole post! Nicely written. I want to write songs about his dancing, but I don't know how!

I can think of two types of kicks. I am imagining you are calling 'the corkscrew' where he moves his leg left and right, I think he did that towards the end of YRMW 30th Anniversary. My favourite would be where he kicks the leg and sort of pauses for a second. What I posted above.

My all time favourite move is spin + toe stand + body roll. I could not believe it was humanly possible to do a body roll with toe stand. He does it only in Dirty Diana short film I believe. I have a gif somewhere!

I have to think a lot more about signature moves (other than the obvious ones already posted here), but I am absolutely delighted by the improvised moves in live performances. To name a few -
1. Dangerous Copenhagen where he cuts his finger and uses dance moves during WBBS to indicate that the floor needs to be cleaned
2. Dangerous Moscow (I think) where during Jam he is sliding all over the dance floor to indicate that its wet and needs to be wiped.
3. Many times during TWYMMF when he goes off stage and then comes back and wipes his shoes on a towel without missing a beat!
 

filmandmusic

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@Hiker that’s it! Definitely not a signature move but my favorite nonetheless! So smooth and rhythmic…it looks like his dancing continues but it was cut from the video, i’ve always been curious to see how it goes on.
 

Hiker

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Happy to have found it. That's all what's in the video. I always think with Michael's dancing, you can just turn off the audio, watch him dance and recreate the music :love:
 

staywild23

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For me, Michael's best dance move is the spin and dropping on his knees. There is something quite magical about that.
OH man, I think I may agree. It is so hard to choose a favorite dance move of his, but this one gives me chills EVERY TIME. Magical is the right word. I love it so much I could cry!
 

zinniabooklover

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difjdsi-1.gif


Finally getting around to this. This is the one I was talking about. If you look at his right leg, he moves his foot onto his heel and then shuffles it across in front. That's a Jackie Wilson move although here Michael is taking it that bit further and making it his own as any good dancer would. The shuffle in general is James Brown *and* Jackie Wilson, obvs. But Michael definitely brings his own style, panache, beauty and ... well, something else. That indefinable 'something' that geniuses have.

I don't know if this qualifies as a 'signature' dance move. But it's mesmerising and astonishing. That'll do for me.
 
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zinniabooklover

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Sexonlegs.gif


Just wanted to throw this one into the mix, as well. It's another shuffle but he does it so well. It's pure James Brown but, again, he just makes it his own. Look at how he uses his feet. Awesome.
 

zinniabooklover

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tumblr_m5hni5lTRz1rxbjdro1_250.gif


One more! Apart from how astonishingly beautiful this is it's also typical of Michael. His precise placement - which not every dancer has - and his remarkable fluidity. And the subtlety. Everything is less and yet somehow more.
 

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Sexonlegs.gif


Just wanted to throw this one into the mix, as well. It's another shuffle but he does it so well. It's pure James Brown but, again, he just makes it his own. Look at how he uses his feet. Awesome.
It will take my eyes a while to get to the feet, there is so much going on with the jacket and the hands :love:🥵😵‍💫
 

Hiker

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🤩
tumblr_m5hni5lTRz1rxbjdro1_250.gif


One more! Apart from how astonishingly beautiful this is it's also typical of Michael. His precise placement - which not every dancer has - and his remarkable fluidity. And the subtlety. Everything is less and yet somehow more.
Really. That's a perfect dancer's pose, long legs and a tiny but very effective movement 🤩
 
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