With Michael Jackson passing away yesterday, our media is saturated with all-things-MJ. I found one tidbit I care about – the trick behind the deep-lean dance move found in the “Smooth Criminal” music video.
Nope, it’s not that MJ and his dancers had super-strong shins. No wires, no suspension tricks. It’s an old-fashioned stage special effect. Straight up Houdini style. Gizmodo writes:
Trying to lean beyond one’s center of gravity normally leads to a giant, awkward step forward to retain balance, so to achieve the 45-degree angle he wanted, Michael and his dancers used special shoes as well as a trick in the stage floor. When the time came for the move, a peg-like aperture would protrude from the dance floor. The heel of the dancers’ shoes featured a triangular cut out that could be hitched onto the peg, anchoring the dancers to lean much farther forward, and thus blowing the world’s collective mind.
Genius! A cut in a shoe, a peg from the floor. Magic.
I had to dig up my Michael Jackson cassette collection last night:
I played each tape. I still know all the words. I also had to reminisce about how much Captain EO ruled / scared the crap outta me, as a wee kid at Disneyland, circa 1984-1993:
Fierce out fit, yo.
As a kid, I was always terrified by the Metal Queen – suspended from wires, woefully discontent, and rocking metal, long nails, she ordered wave after wave of guards against Captain EO. But then he would make them dance, after blasting them with some sort of Good People Plasma from his suit and changing their outfits to white outfits (um?). Her nails were terrifying. This was before I realized that metal, gothy outfits, suspension and long nails were totally fucking awesome.
…Angelica Huston! That is all.
My reaction to Michael Jackson is complex and hypocritical. I detest child molesters and could wish them all to peril, but I make an exception for Michael Jackson. Not a total exemption, because there is no way I condone his actions and crimes towards children. I just always wanted him to get help, to untie the knots of pain and suffering he obviously carried around and eventually took out on other people. But he never really got better, and I don’t think he was ever in a position to truly understand what he was and what he did.
Now that he’s gone, we definitely know what he did for us, as an international society. That is something to consider.
RIP Mr. Jackson.
(thanks Joyce, for the link!)