"You're Just Another Part of Me"
I personally don’t believe that Michael Jackson is dead. I think he faked his death to run from his $400 million debt.
The rest of the world is in mourning; Youtube and Facebook are knee-deep in a MJ tributes. I think his life is best summed up in the paragraph from the AP:
“He was perhaps the most exciting performer of his generation, known for his backward-gliding moonwalk, his feverish, crotch-grabbing dance moves and his high-pitched singing, punctuated with squeals and titters. His single sequined glove, tight, military-style jacket and aviator sunglasses were trademarks, as was his ever-changing, surgically altered appearance.”
In the Legacy Air Museum last night I glided to MJ songs and a few imitators kicked their legs and crotch-grabbed off-the beaton the dance floor. In the shadows of the planes I didn’t want to battle them—that perhaps was their own tribute to the man. Being a dancer, I was always kind of aware of the impact he had on the world of dance, but it didn’t hit me how much he really impacted me until this morning while I was doing dishes and having a craving to listen to “Thriller.”
When I was a senior in high school I started dancing. And I mean dancing, not just go to a Mormon dance and pretend like I know what I’m doing anymore, but actually learning routines and footwork and break moves. At dances and parties people would look to me to start dancing to an MJ song, and I wouldn’t know what to do so I turned to the source and looked to Michael and I bought a music video collection DVD to learn.
After school in May of 2003, I would watch MJ dance and pop and twirl through the glare on the TV from the afternoon light. It was always sunny and the light would slit through the red cedars, but I was always only vaguely aware of it. I was more aware of the way the carpet burned holes in my socks as I tried to spin. I learned to pop my shoulders in the hours I spent in front of the TV. I learned to step to the 80’s pop beats of “Beat it” and “Thriller.” Hit the beat, hit the beat. I learned to spin and shuffle from “Smooth Criminal” and spent days trying to learn the routine. I had a lot of it down but I could never figure out the lean, the one move where he and the people behind him lean forward to an almost impossible looking 45 degree angle (Try it. It’s impossible).
I learned to rock the beat from MJ. Of the different styles of street dance, MJ had an impact on hip-hop, popping, locking, and house. He never did break, but I’m still dancing in his legacy.
It’s kind of funny how many of us dancers that are involved in hip-hop in some way have watched MJ videos at an early age—how many of us learned to grimace while dancing because “no one wants to be defeated.”
Crazy weird life aside, thanks MJ for the dancing.