Even today when you talk about the greatest pop star and dancer ever one name that strikes most minds is Michael Jackson. It’s been 9 long years that the popular pop icon left the world but still, people remember him as one of the greatest pop legends of all time. The world of pop music has seen many popular stars but one thing which is unique about ‘The King of Pop’ was his mind-blowing dance moves.

In a 1987 music video of ‘Smooth Criminal’, Michael Jackson performed an amazing dance move when he leaned forward 45-degrees while keeping his spine straight. While Jackson is known for his dancing skills such as the popular ‘Moon Walk’ this gravity-defying tilt stunned the world.

Long-time Michael Jackson fan and one of the neurosurgeons at the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research in Chandigarh, India, Nishant Yagnick with his team has finally revealed how did MJ perform an impossible dance move?

Researchers Nishant Yagnick, Manjul Tripathi, and Sandeep Mohindra are all avowed Michael Jackson fans and they found most trained dancers can achieve no more than 25 to 30 degrees of forward tilt. Most fans and dancers ended up with spine injuries performing the move.

“This allows for a very limited degree of forward bending from the ankle joints, while keeping a stiff straight posture – unless you are Michael Jackson,”. “MJ pulled off a gravity-defying 45-degree move that seems unearthly to any witness.”, neurosurgeons wrote in the in the Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine.

The pop legend designed a special shoe with a triangular slot in the heel which hooked onto a metallic peg that emerged from the stage floor at just the right moment. This allowed Jackson to lean forward at a seemingly impossible angle without collapsing in a heap. The authors stressed that despite the illusion, Jackson’s physical abilities were nonetheless impressive.

MJ dance

“Even with specially designed footwear and the support of the hitch member, the move is incredibly hard to pull off, requiring athletic core strength from strengthened spinal muscles and lower-limb anti-gravity muscles,” they further added in the Journal.

Researching for an explanation and what they found was surprising, they uncovered a patent – granted in the names of Jackson and his two long-time costume designers Dennis Tompkins and Michael Bush – titled “method and means for creating anti-gravity illusion”.

MJ dance shoes

“Trick or not, new forms of dancing inspired by MJ have begun to challenge our understanding of the modes and mechanisms of spinal injury. Ever since MJ entertained us with his fabulous moves, throughout the world dancers have tried to jump higher, stretch farther, and turn faster than ever before.”

“MJ has inspired generations of dancers to push themselves beyond their limits,” says Tripathi.

“Though a visual delight, such moves also lead to new forms of musculoskeletal injuries. ‘The King of Pop’ has not only been an inspiration but a challenge to the medical fraternity.”

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