Michael Jackson is renowned for his elaborate and intricate dance moves that spread across pop culture and made MJ an icon in the music world. Even after his passing in 2009, new generations have adopted these iconic moves into their own performances. To help dancers learn these classic MJ moves, we’ve put together this step-by-step guide of the king of pop’s most legendary dance moves.
This move, perhaps the most famous of them all, brings MJ’s signature glide across the floor.
Start by planting one foot in the ground, slightly bent and facing the direction you intend to moonwalk in.
With the other foot step backward, pressing down on the heel and sliding the foot back in a gliding movement.
After sliding your back foot back, use your planted foot to pivot and position it next to the back foot.
Extend your arms out to each side and sway back and forth, exaggerating the gliding motion.
Key Tips for Nailing the Moonwalk
• Keep your feet close together and your body slightly bent for the best results.
• Don’t lift your feet too high off of the floor as you moonwalk.
• Master the backward motion before attempting more advanced techniques such as moving forward while moonwalking.
Another of Michael’s iconic moves, the robot is a complex move that requires timing and balance.
Start by positioning your feet shoulder width apart.
Keep your knees bent and your arms at your sides while keeping your back straight.
Alternately bring your left and right knees up while extending each arm in front and bring them back in to your body. The feet and arms should be working in opposite directions in a figure 8 formation.
Add a robotic face expression for added effect.
Key Tips for Nailing the Robot
• Move with control and confidence for the best effect.
• Time the alternating knee and arm motions for a smooth and coordinated movement.
• Experiment with adding other motions and movements for a unique robot dance.
The heel-toe is a move that combines the moonwalk with the robot in a seamless blend.
Start by standing with your feet planted slightly apart.
Lift your heels, while keeping the toes on the ground, and step backward and repeat the motion with your right leg.
As you step back with each leg, alternate swinging your arms side to side, but keep your arms pressed up against the sides of your body.
As you continue to advance, point your toes in the same direction for a more controlled and smooth movement.
Key Tips for Nailing the Heel-Toe
• Visualize the moonwalk and robot motions, as the combination of both is essential in this move.
• Keep your legs slightly bent and your heels up high.
• Experiment by taking bigger steps and faster strides to add sophistication to your dance.
The Shoulder Shimmy
The shoulder shimmy is one of the more complicated and difficult MJ moves to replicate.
Stand comfortably but with your legs slightly bent.
Begin by swinging your arms back and forth, while simultaneously shaking your shoulders forward and back.
Keep your arms shifting rhythmically in unison as you also move your shoulders back and forth.
Increase the tempo or speed of your motions to get the full effect of the move.
Key Tips for Nailing the Shoulder Shimmy
• Utilize your core muscles for a more authentic MJ vibe.
• Be sure to keep your arms in unison with your shoulders for a smoother result.
• Keep your arms relatively bent as this gives you more momentum and speed to your movements.
Replicating Michael Jackson’s legendary dance moves is no easy feat but with a bit of practice and dedication you can gain the confidence and skills to recreate these iconic moves. So pull out your shoulder pads and get those knees loose to unlock the power of MJ’s iconic moves.
Good luck, and have fun!