The Origin of the Moonwalk

Dance Dance Evolution

Michael Jackson first performed the magical Moonwalk on March 25, 1983 at a Motown Records 25th anniversary party.

Jackson inspired countless imitators. But who inspired Micael Jackson?

Who inspired Michael Jackson?

Long before Michael performed it for Motown Records, The Moonwalk was a dance called The Backslide that kids were doing on the streets. Michael took notice, and according to Michael’s own sister, Latoya Jackson, he had street dancer, Jeffrey Daniels, come over to teach him.

But even Daniels is hesitant to take the credit. He says he saw one of the members of the dancing group The Electric Boogaloos perform the backslide. Daniels explains it was originally “more of a scoot thing” and he evolved it into longer strides in order to cover the entire stage.

The dance move can be traced even further back to Bill Bailey at The Apollo Theatre in 1955.

Beyond the Moonwalk

Jackson’s choreography borrowed more than just the Moonwalk. Of the many compilations online comparing Jacksons to his predecessors, the comparison between Jackson and Fred Astaire is especially astonishing.

Striking similarities can also be found in Bob Fosse (The Little Princess, 1974) for which of course someone on Youtube has appropriately created a Billie Jean remix.

Obviously all the moves and styles can never be credited to any single artist. Creation is a remix, constantly tinkering and tweaking with what came before. So what’s next in this dance dance evolution?

How about a “Moon Run”?



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