Saturday, June 27, 2009

Michael Jackson: A Little Cross Training

Like most my age, I've listened to Michael Jackson's (MJ) tunes thousands of times. Of course, being just about the same age, it's sad to see him go so young. I don't usually write about MJ, but since he passed yesterday, obviously now is the time.

I love his producer (Quincy Jones) during his greatest hit years, and as a dancer it's easy to see his heavy influence on current dancing. His musicians were always first class, and even "simple" tunes were always executed with extreme finesse.

It's hard to find a current professional dancer who doesn't attribute some of their moves to MJ, especially among the hip-hop crowd, but I also see plenty of cross-over into the partner dancing world.

Many of his younger fans don't realize that Michael Jackson crossed-trained traditional dances before his own style emerged, and this is also a good idea for anybody else working toward above average dancing.

Here's a couple clips of MJ tap dancing as a young adult. The first one is with the Nicholas Brothers, recognized among the great and heavy influences of today's dancers. They make it all look sooo easy.

Michael Jackson with the Nicholas Brothers

More Michael early dancing

Of course, most of you know MJ is one of the original "Music Video" performers and he set the standard for years with his early MTV videos. Few have been as influential in the dance and music industry. While many of his moves look dated today, he did them long before many others, setting the standards which others have built on over time.

Here's a collection of his later dance moves


  1. Great videos. Makes me want to learn to moonwalk...

  2. Don - Very nice Tribute to a phenomenal talent, who will be missed worldwide.

  3. When I scour the net for information I usually don't expect blogs like this. It's a completely unexpected to find some of our views mirrored by other Salsa instructors. Especially in regards to the proper place of music within dance expression that so often is forgotten about, we won't even mention a body<->music<->consciousness dialog that most of the American styles of Salsa, including Miami tend to wash over.

    Love the MJ tribute. Personally I love integrating some of his footwork when I dance with a partner. In Cuban Casino there is always tons of room for this kind of improvisation.

    Thanks for adding a little bit more sense and musical awareness to the Salsa dance world where it usually is anything but musically aware.



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Don Baarns - Unlikely Salsero