Nowhere will his contribution be more obvious and his influence more strongly felt than in the world of dance. No choreographer of the last 30 years has been unaware of Jackson’s achievement. He rewrote the vocabulary of dance for everyone, from kids competing in talent shows to the royal ballets of Europe.
Creativity is surely seldom ex nihilo; rather, it consists at least in part in borrowing and reworking previous elements. It is stunning, then, to see some of the precedents of Michael Jackson’s dance. Here’s a sample:
Note the toe dancing in Billie Jean here (2:24) and its precusors in the 1932:
On looking at this it’s hard not to think in terms of the losses to US culture racism caused. Still, it is exciting, I think, to think of Michael Jackson as an archaeologist of black dance.
Many thanks to Dee Es, whose comment led to sites interested in this sort of excavation.