Michael Jackson's Moonwalk wird 35

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    • Michael Jackson's Moonwalk wird 35

      Michael Jackson’s Moonwalk Turns 35
      May 11, 2018

      “What the hell was that?” For a moment, members of the production staff monitoring the stage at California’s Pasadena Civic Auditorium forgot about the control panels in front of them and exchanged puzzled looks with one another. As the team charged with overseeing the ABC special Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever, a celebration of the famed record label’s silver anniversary, they were typically too focused on their jobs to become starstruck. But what they were witnessing was something else entirely.

      Onetime Jackson 5 bandmate Michael Jackson had taken the stage solo to perform “Billie Jean,” which was already the number one song on the Billboard Top 100 chart. In between all the twisting, contorting, and spinning, Jackson took a fleeting moment to glide backwards on his feet. It had the smooth kinetic energy of someone skating on ice. It lasted barely a second. The crowd erupted. Michael Jackson had not used the dance move in rehearsals for the show. It was a surprise to everyone, including the live audience and the 33.9 million people who would watch the tape-delayed event on television on May 16, 1983. Michael Jackson was already a superstar, but his moonwalk would take him to another stratosphere of fame. And although many assumed Jackson invented the gliding step himself, he was simply following in the footsteps of dance giants from the past.

      Usually referred to as the back slide or the back float, the seemingly weightless backward slide had touched down across a number of decades and performers before Jackson’s interpretation debuted on March 25, 1983. Famed French mime Marcel Marceau performed an act he titled “Walking in the Wind,” in which he seemed to be bracing against imaginary gale forces, his feet trying to find purchase on the ground. Jazz singer Cab Calloway pulled it off in performances; so did tap dancer Bill Bailey (as seen above) in the 1950s. James Brown incorporated the move into his stage shows, as did Bill “Mr. Bojangles” Robinson. David Bowie performed a more economical version of it during the 1973 tour for his Aladdin Sane album.

      While Michael Jackson credited Brown and Marcel as being particular influences on his performance style, he first learned of what he came to call the “moonwalk” after seeing two break-dancers appear on a 1979 episode of Soul Train. During the show, Geron “Caszper” Canidate and Cooley Jaxson performed a routine set to Jackson’s “Workin’ Day and Night.” The singer remembered the performance and asked his staff to arrange a meeting between him and both men in Los Angeles while he was preparing for the Motown special in early 1983. Michael Jackson asked them to teach him the back slide, which he practiced until he was satisfied he had it down. (Cooley would later express disappointment that Jackson never credited the duo directly. The singer wrote in his autobiography, Moonwalker, that the move was a “break-dance” step created on street corners. While that could be true, it was Cooley and Jaxson who gave Jackson a tutorial.)

      Although it may look like an optical illusion, the step is the result of weight-shifting. Dancers begin on their right foot, heel raised, and weight bearing on the right. As they lower the right heel, the left foot moves backward until the toes are aligned with the heel of the right. The left heel is then raised, weight is shifted to the left, and the process repeats itself. For those who are not particularly agile, it can look clumsy. For Michael Jackson, who had been dancing practically his entire life, it was seamless.

      For the Motown special, Michael Jackson reportedly agreed to appear with his brothers, the Jackson 5, only if Motown owner and show producer Berry Gordy allowed him a solo performance. Jackson’s Thriller album had been released in November 1982 and was on its way to becoming one of the most successful releases of all time. It’s likely Jackson didn’t feel like he needed the appearance, and some accounts relate that Michael Jackson was initially reluctant to do it because he feared being overexposed. Gordy’s producer, Suzanne de Passe, convinced him the show wouldn’t be the same without the Jackson 5.

      MOTOWN 25 :heart — YESTERDAY, TODAY, FOREVER — Air Date 05/16/1983

      Whatever got Michael Jackson on stage that evening, he was clearly prepared for the moment. Short pants and white socks drew attention to his feet; he insisted a stage manager rehearse the placement of his hat following the Jackson 5 performance so that it would be within reach when he segued into his solo performance. “I have to say, those were the good old days,” Jackson told the crowd after finishing with his brothers. “Those were good songs. I like those songs a lot … but, especially, I like the new songs.” It may have sounded off the cuff, but Michael Jackson’s mid-performance speech was actually written by Motown 25 scriptwriter Buz Kohan.

      With that, Michael Jackson got down to business. “Billie Jean” was the only non-Motown song performed during the special, and it felt like a jolt of energy in a sea of nostalgia. Jackson, who was 24 years old at the time, moved effortlessly. Tossing his hat to the side and mouthing lyrics into the microphone, the contrast between Michael Jackson in the middle of a medley with his brothers and then alone on stage was striking. Though he was two solo albums deep by this point, the performance helped cement that he was out on his own. Michael Jackson spent nearly three and a half minutes singing before debuting the moonwalk. It lasted barely a second but seemed to send the crowd into a mania. With 20 seconds to go, he took another few brief steps backward. After the song played out, Michael Jackson received a standing ovation.

      When the performance aired several weeks later on ABC, Motown 25 was a ratings hit. Jackson’s reputation as a live entertainer benefited from a broadcast network audience, and the moonwalk became linked to his routine. Fred Astaire called to congratulate him, a gesture that Michael Jackson—a huge Astaire fan—could never quite believe. Michael Jackson’s fame led to an untold number of people trying to perfect the moonwalk, with varying degrees of success. Anyone who thought it included some camera or visual trickery may have been dismayed to find it simply required some lower-limb dexterity. Those who got the hang of it were able to impress friends. Those who didn’t probably felt a little disappointed at their lack of coordination, especially when they heard that Jackson’s pet chimpanzee, Bubbles, learned to do a variation of it.

      mjvibe.com/michael-jacksons-moonwalk-turns-35/ SOURCE: MF

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    • :blumen 16. Mai 1983 - Michael Jackson stellt den "Moonwalk" vor

      Als das US-Musiklabel "Motown" 1983 mit einer großen Show sein 25-jähriges Bestehen feiert, treffen sich die Stars der Soul-Szene. Neben Marvin Gaye treten auch Diana Ross und Stevie Wonder auf. Auch die Jackson-Brüder sind dabei. Nach deren Auftritt bleibt Michael Jackson allein auf der Bühne - in seinem klassischen Outfit: Hut, Handschuh, hochgezogene Hose, weiße Socken, Lackschuhe. Der US-Sänger präsentiert den Song "Billie Jean" von seinem neuen Album "Thriller".

      Nicht mit sich zufrieden
      Als er anfängt zu tanzen, reißt es das Publikum von den Sitzen. Er dreht Pirouetten, steht auf Zehenspitzen, wirbelt über die Bühne, als gäbe es keine Schwerkraft. Nach drei Minuten und 39 Sekunden passiert es: Jackson bewegt sich mit gleitenden Schritten rückwärts über die Bühne - zum ersten Mal zeigt er den "Moonwalk".

      Rund 50 Millionen Zuschauer sehen den Auftritt im Fernsehen. Lange hat Jackson an der Choreografie gefeilt, doch er ist nicht zufrieden, wie er später erzählt. Nach der "Motown"-Show habe er Backstage geweint: "Weil ich unglücklich war." Aber dann habe er einen Jungen getroffen, der ihn gelobt und gefragt habe, wer ihm beigebracht habe, so zu tanzen. "Da fühlte ich mich zum ersten Mal gut!"

      Aus den 1940er Jahren
      Erfunden hat Jackson den Tanz nicht. "Der Moonwalk kam von diesen tollen schwarzen Kids, die in den Ghettos leben", sagt er. "Ich habe das einfach übernommen." Der "Moonwalk" selbst ist allerdings älter. Er wird schon in den 1940er Jahren von Tänzern wie Bill Bailey vorgeführt, damals heißt er noch "Backslide". In den 1960er Jahren gehört er zum Repertoire von Funk-Dancern wie den "Electric Boogaloos". Jackson lässt sich den Schritt für die "Motown"-Show beibringen. Durch Jacksons unverwechselbaren Tanzstil wird der "Moonwalk" berühmt.

      Auf WDR 2 können Sie den Stichtag immer gegen 9.40 Uhr hören.
      Wiederholung: von Montag bis Samstag um 18.40 Uhr. Der Stichtag ist nach der Ausstrahlung als Podcast abrufbar.


      Michael Jackson - "Billy Jean"

      1983 zeigt Michael Jackson seinen "Moonwalk" zum ersten Mal bei einer Fernseh-Gala.
      Am 16. Mai 1983 zeigt Michael Jackson zum ersten Mal seinen berühmten "Moonwalk". Er tritt bei einer Gala anlässlich des 25-jährigen Bestehens der Plattenfirma Motown im Fernsehen auf. Im schwarzen Anzug mit glitzernden Pailletten, schwarzem Hut, einem weißen Handschuh und weißen Socken tänzelt Michael Jackson damals zu seinem aktuellen Hit "Billy Jean" über die Bühne und bringt die Halle zum Beben.

      Jackson: Inspiration von tanzenden Menschen in Ghettos
      Inspiriert worden zu diesem Tanz ist Michael Jackson nicht von dem Gelbhosenpipra - einem kleinen Vogel, der in Mittelamerika zu Hause ist. Der "Moonwalk-Vogel" macht nicht nur seltsame Geräusche, sondern hat auch das Talent, rückwärts zu gehen und dabei scheinbar die gelben Füße stillzuhalten. Der "King of Pop" hatte natürlich andere Vorbilder. Der amerikanischen Talkshow-Königin Oprah Winfrey erzählt er 1993, dass er sich den "Moonwalk" bei jungen Breakdancern abgeschaut hat: "Der 'Moonwalk' kam von diesen wundervollen schwarzen, jungen Menschen, die in den Ghettos der großen Städte wohnen. Sie sind einfach brillant und haben dieses natürliche Talent zum Tanzen. Und ich habe deren Tänze lediglich ein bisschen weiterentwickelt!"

      "König des Pop": Markenzeichen der "Moonwalk"
      Die Wurzeln des "Moonwalks" gehen aber noch weiter zurück. Schon in den 40er-Jahren wurde in amerikanischen Musikfilmen auf der Stelle marschiert. Dass daraus dann die wohl berühmteste Tanzfigur der Welt wurde, haben wir aber Michael Jackson zu verdanken. Nach seinem Auftritt bei der "Motown" Gala 1983 hat der "König des Pop" ein neues Markenzeichen.

      NDR 1 Niedersachsen |16.05.2018 | 15:50 Uhr

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