Step-By-Step Instructions for 6 Michael Jackson Dance Moves

Updated May 25, 2018
Michael Jackson look alike dancer

Michael Jackson met success at a young age and skyrocketed to fame in the 1980s. While he has long been recognized as a talented musician, the 80s also gave his dancing abilities a chance to shine. Best known for the Moonwalk, Jackson also trademarked a few other steps that have been immortalized in the dance world. Use the following instructions to learn some of his most popular moves.

The Moonwalk

Wear socks or soft-soled shoes on a smooth, uncarpeted floor to perform the following steps:

  1. Stand so that you're on the ball of the left foot with the heel raised, and your right foot is flat on the floor. Your left foot should be several inches behind the right, and your weight should be on the left foot.
  2. Slide your right foot back, keeping it flat on the floor.
  3. Lower the heel of your left foot and raise the heel of your right foot so that you're standing on the ball of that foot. With your weight on the right foot, slide the left foot back, keeping it flat on the floor.
  4. Keep repeating the moves as you glide backward across the floor. With enough practice, you should be able to pull off a pretty impressive Moonwalk.

The Circle Slide

This dance move combines a Moonwalk slide with heel and toe pivots. Like the moonwalk, the circle slide should be performed in socks or soft-soled shoes on a smooth surface.

  1. Stand on the ball of the right foot with the heel raised and your left foot flat on the floor. Your weight should be on the right foot, which should be slightly behind the left.
  2. Slide your left foot back, keeping it flat on the floor.
  3. Shift your weight to your heels and lift your toes off the floor while pivoting to the left. Lower your toes so that your feet are flat on the floor.
  4. Lift the heel of your right foot and pivot to the left on the ball of your right foot.
  5. Repeat steps 1 - 4.

The Hip Thrust

Another name for this move is the pelvic thrust, because that is basically what you are doing.

  1. Bend your knees and stand with one foot ahead of the other.
  2. Move your hips back, then thrust your pelvis forward, then back.
  3. Repeat several times.

This was one of MJ's easier moves, and if you do each backward and forward motion with a quick, snapping motion, you'll be hip thrusting like Michael Jackson in no time.

The Spin

Many dancers have performed spins in their routines, but Jackson added his own flavor to the move.

  1. Hop to the right and spread your arms out to the sides, parallel to the floor.
  2. Cross your right foot over your left and bring your arms in so that you're hugging your chest.
  3. Turn quickly to the left (counterclockwise) 360 degrees so that you end up facing the same direction in which you started.

The Antigravity Lean

Although fans shriek over this move, the lean as Michael performed it isn't a dance step per se. It's an optical illusion created by a special pair of shoes that the pop star had specifically made for shows. The heel of the shoe was designed to attach to a piece of staging that kept it in place as the dancers tilted forward.

Although it may not be possible to come to the depth that Jackson did naturally, you can create a similar effect with strategic foot and hip placement.

The Kick

MJ's kicks were quick and strong, often resembling a martial arts move.

  1. Stand with your right food slightly behind the left.
  2. Lean into your left foot, winding your torso slightly to the left.
  3. Draw your right knee forward and across your body.
  4. Keeping your knee lifted, quickly swing your right foot like a pendulum in, out, and in (left, right, left)
  5. Replace your foot on the floor.

Learn Jackson's Signature Moves

Many of Michael Jackson's dance moves are recognized as legendary parts of the dance and music scene. The step-by-step outlines and videos presented will help you recreate his signature style. Learning these individual moves is a good way to start developing Jackson's dancing style. The Thriller dance is a good example of the simplicity and attitude characteristic of Michael Jackson choreographies. Although the steps are simple, the key to making them look amazing is to have the right attitude and to make the steps sharp, yet smooth. If you can copy these dance moves, you'll have fun showing off your skills on the dance floor.

Step-By-Step Instructions for 6 Michael Jackson Dance Moves