When it comes to Michael Jackson’s smash hit “Smooth Criminal”, we don’t know which we like better: the catchy tune or the amazing music video and live performances.
Now, what exactly was it that made those live performances so special? It’s gotta be Michael’s gravity-defying lean! You know — when he’d lean forward to the point where any normal dancer would fall on their face, shatter their nose and start considering other careers.
So, how did Michael defy gravity? Unless his feet weighed more than his entire body, it just doesn’t add up. Well, the answer is all about those magic shoes!
During the performance of Smooth Criminal, Michael wore special shoes. These special shoes had a cut-out in the heel. Then, on stage, there would be a raised notch; when the shoe slid over the notch, it would become locked in place. (Think of it like a truck with a tow hitch.) Once the shoe locked into place, Michael and the rest of his performers could lean forward without fear of falling down.
Check it out:
So, yeah. Michael never defied gravity — he had special shoes. But that doesn’t mean the move wasn’t difficult or impressive in its own right. If you’re brave enough to try this at home (by putting weights on your shoes or even having someone hold you by the ankles), you’ll quickly realize the massive amount of abdominal strength you need to remain rigid and pull yourself back to a 90 degree starting angle.
Perhaps you’ll never really be able to defy gravity like Michael, but you can still work on those other dance moves. To this day, nothing stops an audience like a Moonwalk —and that move was all Michael (no tricks needed).
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