There may have lot of controversy and speculation due to Michael Jackson’s changing appearance, relationship, behavior and lifestyle but there is no doubt that Michael Jackson was and is the greatest influencing figure in music industry. His impact on dance has been just as powerful. Fans around the world have tried to imitate his smooth slides and spins, his racy crotch grab and pelvic thrust and, of course, his trademark moonwalk, with varying degrees of success.
But there’s one move that stunned the watching world: the
gravity-defying tilt he debuted in his 1988 music video for Smooth Criminal. In one scene, Jackson and a few of his dancers lean forward 45 degrees, backs straight, feet flat upon the floor, and hold the pose until they return upright with little apparent efort.
“It’s not really possible physically to do it,” said neurosurgeon Dr. Nishant Yagnick, a longtime Jackson fan who practices at the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research in Chandigarh, India. “He was cheating gravity.” (1)
commendable. The trio explained, “Even with specially designed footwear and the support of the hitch member, the move is incredibly hard to pull off, requiring athletic core strength from strengthened spinal muscles and lower-limb anti-gravity muscles.” (3)
The design was patented by the two in 1992. But in 1996, an incident where the heel came loose nearly injured the pop star. It was reworked to be safer for future performances. Michael Jackson’s shoes went on sale for $USD 600,000 and are now displayed at the Hard Rock Cafe in Moscow. (4)
1. Michael Jackson’s Impossible Dance Move,
Explained | UNRESERVED | Intelligence Is Sexy
2. How did Michael Jackson challenge our
understanding of spine biomechanics? in:
Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine Volume 29 Issue
3 (2018) (thejns.org)
3. Scientists reveal secret behind Michael
Jackson’s 45-degree tilt (tribune.com.pk)
4. Michael Jackson Lean – The Secret Behind His
Patented Shoes | New Idea Magazine
A: Drawings showing the “antigravity tilt” (> 45° forward bend), the dance move introduced by Michael Jackson, in comparison to the normal limit of a human tilt (20° forward bend), as well as the conceptualized shoe designed by MJ and coinventors. B: Shift of the fulcrum from the sacrum to the Achilles tendon in MJ’s antigravity tilt. (2)
Now, let see how he cheated gravity?
In fact, Michael Jackson used ‘anti-gravity shoes’ that were specifically designed to recreate it on stage. Created in collaboration with MJ’s costume designer Dennis Tompkins, Michael Jackson’s ‘lean shoes’ had slots in the heels, which would then connect to a protruding ‘peg’ on the stage. Once the ‘leaning shoes’ were in place, bending forward 45 degrees goes from impossible to merely difficult.
The scientists added that despite the
trick, MJ’s physical abilities were highly