Fact or Fiction: The Moonwalk

Staff

Michael Jackson invented the moonwalk.

Dancers from your favorite Saturday morning TV show “Solid Gold” taught Michael the moonwalk in the early 1980s, but it came from dancers long before.

The moonwalk originally had a much more terrestrial name: the backslide.

Michael Jackson claimed that the media coined the name “moonwalk” for his dance. Obviously he didn’t mind...

The moonwalk can only be done backwards.

It’s just one in a whole series of sliding dance steps, including the front slide, side slide and circle slide.

The moonwalk is one of the many different styles of breakdancing.

The moonwalk is part of a funk style dance technique called popping, which is done while standing. To breakdance, you have to throw down some cardboard and spin on the floor.

The Godfather of Soul (James Brown) was moonwalking long before The King of Pop.

James Brown did do an old ragtime dance step called The Camel Walk that somewhat resembles a forward slide, but it’s not the moonwalk.

A key element on one of French mime Marcel Marceau’s famous routines influenced the evolution of the moonwalk.

“Walking Against the Wind” is one of Marceau’s classics and it includes the airwalk – a sort of stationary moonwalk.

Michael Jackson was the first person to ever moonwalk on television.

Popper Jeffrey Daniel did the moonwalk – which he called the backslide – on the British show “Top of the Pops” a year before Michael Jackson debuted his version, to wild acclaim.

Michael Jackson debuted his version of the moonwalk in his 1984 Pepsi Generation commercials.

Michael moonwalked in the commercials, but he first showcased his signature move on the 1983 TV special “Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, and Forever.”

Michael used the same dance routine for “Billie Jean” – including the moonwalk – since he first danced to it in 1983.

Live performances of “Billie Jean” stayed pretty much the same since the Motown special. Why fix something that isn’t broken?

A dance called “The Moonwalk” was shown on the 1970s kids’ show “H.R. Pufnstuf.”

A sequined frog named Judy taught Jimmy and others a “moonwalk” but it didn’t look much like the backslide.

Actor Corey Haim became known for dressing like Michael Jackson and performing the moonwalk and other signature dance moves.

Corey Feldman – teen idol and half of the “Two Coreys”) – as a close friend of Jackson’s in the 1980s and took it the level of dressing and dancing like Michael. (Yeah, we think it’s weird too.)

Dancer Jeff Daniel knew that the moonwalk, or backslide, had been performed by tap dancer Bill Bailey in the 1950s.

After being shown a clip of Bill Bailey backsliding, Daniel told British TV presenters that he has never seen it before and thought it had come from the streets.

Michael never acknowledged the dancers who taught him the moonwalk.

Not only did he give credit, he employed them. Jeff Daniel, Cooley Jaxson and Caspar Candidate all appeared in some of Jackson’s videos. Daniel choreographed a few of them.

A friend who saw an episode of “Solid Gold” first brought the moonwalk to Michael Jackson’s attention.

Jackson saw Jeff Daniel moonwalking at a concert that he attended, and asked him and other dancers afterwards to teach him how to backslide.

None of the dancers who taught Michael Jackson the moonwalk have spoken about it publicly.

All three have spoken of their connection to Michael; Cooley Jaxson sells a DVD that shows how to moonwalk as well as do other slide steps.

Jeff Daniel believes that Michael Jackson stole all of the credit for the moonwalk from him.

Daniel is always gracious about how much he learned from working with Michael and says Michael never claimed he invented the moonwalk.

It’s easy to learn how to moonwalk. You just slide your feet backwards, right?

Moonwalking looks simple, but that’s why it’s an illusion. It’s a tricky step to master.

To do the moonwalk, Michael Jackson used special props to create the illusion of floating.

Although moonwalkers have been accused of everything from using an oiled floor or having wheeled shoes, it’s all in the technique.

Most performers who have dancing experience have no trouble learning how to moonwalk.

A 2010 YouTube clip shows pop/dance diva Rhianna trying to moonwalk in heels during a concert...and failing miserably.

David Bowie did the moonwalk in the 1970s during his Diamond Dogs tour, using moves he learned from mime great Etienne Decroux.

Bowie did learn from Decroux, but he performed the stationary, traditional mime airwalk -- not the backslide or the moonwalk.

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About This Quiz

Does the mere mention of Michael Jackson’s signature dance move have you itching to get out on the dance floor (or your kitchen floor)? Before you try to master the moonwalk, find out how much you know about its history with this out-of-this-world quiz.

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