An Important Influence On MJ


While trying to think of something appropriate to say for Canada Day (something between “go, Canada!” and Robertson Davies’ description of Canada as “the good daughter who stayed at home”), I thought I would post a couple of clips from an important influence on Jackson’s dancing style: choreographer-dancer Bob Fosse, a specialist in bowler hats, snapping fingers, and very precise movements that called for exceptional flexibility. (The reason Fosse developed these moves was that he really wasn’t a great dancer or choreographer in the technical sense, leading him to develop methods of choreography that depended more on unique poses than traditional gracefulness.) Jackson, a fan of classic musicals, paid tribute to Fosse as well as other influences like Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire in numbers like “Smooth Criminal”. Here’s the number that made Fosse famous as a choreographer, “Steam Heat.”

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And here’s Fosse doing the only good number in the 1974 flop musical version of The Little Prince, playing a snake:

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An Important Influence On MJ

  1. I see the connection between Jackson and Fosse; struggling to see any between them and Canada Day, however! He was American, right?

    • No connection; I just said I hadn’t yet thought of something to say for Canada Day, and then moved on to a different, unrelated subject.

      • Well, how's about telling us what the best Canada Day TV special ever was? Or worst? Me, I always like that one where Murray McLauchlin flies around Canada and hears some of our best singers and I wish they still showed it.

  2. If I remember my All that Jazz trailer correctly and seeing the clip from The Little Prince, Mr. Fosse sure liked sliding across the ground a lot.

  3. There was a pair of mines in the early 70's – Shields and Yarnell. They were constantly on Ed Sullivan and other variety shows – and MJ's movements remind me of them.