The Moonwalk is an 80s dance move in which the dancer moves backwards while appearing to be making the physical movement of walking forwards. It became popular around the world after the king of the pop Michael Jackson performed it during a performance of “Billie Jean”.

Moonwalking – Where did it originate?

We know that it started before Michael, but his signature is the one that made the Moonwalk popular. The moment, place or creator of this move is not defined; there are various appearances of similar moves in a number of old videos and dance acts, from Charlie Chaplin to Fred Astaire. Here you could find more in depth information about the real origin.

The date in which we celebrate the birth of the moonwalk is March 25th, 1983, when Michael Jackson performed Billie Jean at a concert.

Moonwalk instructions

Moonwalking wants to give a sense of illusion, creating an appearance of the dancer gliding backwards. Funnily enough, it would be almost impossible to actually do the moonwalk on the Moon, due to the satellite’s low gravity.  You can totally do it on Earth, though, follow the below instructions to try:

  • Stand tall with your feet closed. Lift your right leg and place the toes of your right foot facing the floor, approximately a foot behind your left leg. Keep your arms down your sides. Keep your left foot flat on the ground.
  • Keep your balance. As you get more comfortable with this move, you can do the moonwalk with your legs closer together. You can lift your arms a bit if that helps you keep your balance as you move backward.
  • Slide your left heel back and “into” the floor. Do this as you lean back on your right leg so that your left foot finishes behind the right leg. During this, the heel of your right foot should still remain in the air, with the toes pointed down on the floor. Put all of the weight into your lifted leg, so the leg that is flat on the floor feels weightless.
  • Snap the heel of your left foot up off the floor as you simultaneously snap the heel of your right foot down. Now you are in the same position you started with, only your feet have changed positions. Your right foot should now be in front of your left leg instead of the other way around.
  • Repeat the previous two steps, switching the roles of your left and right foot. The moonwalk can really be mastered by perfecting these movements over and over: it will then look like you’re really walking on the moon.

If you would like to have more example of a well mastered moonwalk technique you can have a look at the movie Footloose (1984), as well. The dance move shows in this video at min 2’30’’.

Even Madonna tributed Michael Jackson in 2009 saying “There’s a whole lot of crotch-grabbing and Moonwalking going on in my house”. Here is the article from Rolling Stone magazine:

Everybody knows and loves some Moonwalking and nowadays we use it to impress our friends on the dance floor. Have you practised enough to impress us?