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The moonwalk or backslide is a dance move that gained widespread popularity after being performed by Michael Jackson on the 1983 television special Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever, and has since become his signature move. The purpose of the moonwalk is to give the illusion that the dancer appears to walk forward while actually moving backward.

Although he did not invent its mechanics (which were pioneered by Marcel Marceau) and has never claimed to have done so, Michael Jackson came up with the name "moonwalk" and made it one of the most recognizable dance moves in history, often made in direct reference to Michael Jackson.

Jean-Louis Barrault famously mimed the Moon Walk previous to Michael Jackson.

[edit] Origin

Michael Jackson has since performed the "4 corner" moonwalk dance step as later seen in the Victory concert tour, though he modified this dance step to make it appear as if he were floating & rotating in a circle in the same spot. The 4-corner moonwalk is sometimes considered the original moonwalk (the original move referred to as the moonwalk). This step (also called the "circle moonwalk") involves crossing the heel of one shoe over the toe of the other shoe, then sliding the flat footed shoe backwards while at the same time crossing the reverse heel over the toe of the opposite shoe. Then a slight twist of the ankles in either direction creates a slow spinning effect of your whole body. The illusion is to make it appear that you are walking forward while your body is actually turning in a circle. Michael Jackson then later modified this dance as a stationary moonwalk (without the turning effect) as seen in the "Smooth Criminal" & "JAM" music videos.

Backslides have been performed on numerous earlier occasions, recorded as early as 1955 ending a performance by tap dancer Bill Bailey. Prior to Jackson, Jeffrey Daniel was "moonwalking" in a performance of Shalamar's "A Night To Remember" on Top of the Pops in 1982. A member of the...
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