July 10, 2009

Even The Greatest Learned From The Greatest

Ever since the beautiful memorial service was held for Michael Jackson, I’ve found myself consistently looking for videos and interviews to gain a broader understanding of who MJ was as a person and how he crafted himself to become the greatest entertainer ever. Now I already knew like many of you that Gene Kelly, James Brown, and Fred Astaire were MAJOR influences on Michael. Check out a classic Fred Astaire movie “The Band Wagon” and you'll see how MJ borrowed Astaire’s “The Girl Hunt” sequence to create the videos for “Billie Jean”, “Smooth Criminal”, “Bad”, “You Rock My Word” and the narrative portion of the song “Dangerous”.

What I didn’t know, was how much of an influence legendary choreographer Bob Fosse was on Michael Jackson. A friend of mine told me about the striking similarities between what Fosse did and Michael’s stage performance, so I had to see for myself. After doing a little research what I noticed was amazing. There are many Fosse clips that show MJ similarities but the coolest one had to have been “The Snake In The Grass” slip from the movie “The Little Prince” (which MJ was a HUGE fan of!). Notice his highwater black pants, white spats accentuating the shoes, angular leg movements, and fluidity of motion that Michael incorporated into his own dancing. It’s sensational!

These are just some of many videos that you can look up and see the influence they’ve had on the performances of Michael Jackson. I hope this is was just as enjoyable for you as it was for me, and I know all of these performers will continue to be inspirations for generations of entertainers to come!

- Steve Tyson Jr.

PS: Here's a little something to enjoy!

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