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If we can celebrate anniversaries of man's first landing on the moon, why not also commemorate the first time Michael Jackson landed on his signature move, the moonwalk? It was 30 years ago, on March 25, 1983, that Jackson shimmied backward across the stage at the Motown 25 taping, a few scant seconds of showmanship that may have marked the critical turning point from his being a superstar to being the superstar of his era.
But if you believe that Jackson invented the moonwalk, you probably also believe that Puff Daddy invented the remix.
Trying to determine the exact creator of the moonwalk dance is like trying to pin the invention of rock & roll on one artist. It is, as writer Shanna Freeman has said, "the product of more than 70 years of dance evolution."
Cab Calloway liked to say that he'd been doing pretty much the same moves since the 1930s. The earliest footage that portrays someone doing something nearly identical to Jackson's fancy footwork in 1983 belongs to dancer Bill Bailey.
But if you want to know where Jackson got it from, the historical guesswork can come to an end and the answer can be summed up in one word:
No, it wasn't Jody Whatley who was taking that early '80s soul trio's trips to the moon. It was the group's designated dancer, Jeffrey Daniel�a former Solid Gold hoofer who was renowned in the R&B/dance community�who attracted attention what was then referred to as "the backslide" before he taught it to Michael.
And apparently Jackson held the move in the back pocket of his skinny pants for months or years before he decided the Motown special was the place to bust it out.