What Tap Dancer “Bill Bailey” Knew about the “The Moonwalk” Dance

Written by Jae Jones

We all know that the late Michael Jackson immortalized the “,” in his performance at Motown 25 in 1983. Michael Jackson had it going on and can’t no one ever take that away. However, the Moonwalk just might have been a dance long before Michael Jackson hit the dance floor. A tap dancer by the name of , was known to move and glide to a Moonwalk of his own.

Bailey, was born in Newport News, Virginia and is the older brother to the late Pearl Bailey. Bailey was reportedly dancing in the church of his father’s, who was a preacher. He also was taught how to tap by Bill “Bojangles” Robinson.

According to America Web, Bailey performed with his sister, Blanche Calloway, sister of Cab Calloway, and was a fixture at the world famous Apollo Theater in Harlem, New York. Bailey also acted in a handful of films, including Cabin In The Sky, the first recorded version of the moonwalk move. Recently, a 1955 video of Bailey performing at the Apollo and executing what he reportedly called the “Backslide” has surfaced.

By the 70’s and 80’s, the dance had taken on a whole other form. Michael Jackson had a smooth glide, and a lot of pop-locking. After Motown 25, the “Moonwalk” was Jackson’s best known dance move and was associated with him from that point on. Read more.




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About the author

Jae Jones

Jae Jones has been writing professionally for over 10 years. She holds a degree in Business Administration, and enjoys writing on various topics.

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