Doctors Explain How Michael Jackson Pulled Off Antigravity Tilt Dance Move
Michael Jackson‘s “Smooth Criminal” isn’t only important because of how great of a song it is, but because it’s associated with one of the most innovative dance moves the iconic artist ever did — the antigravity tilt.
Recently, three neurosurgeons broke down how Jackson was able to execute the dance move.
Nishant S. Yagnick, Manjul Tripathi, and Sandeep Mohindra — all from the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research in Chandigarh, India — recently published a paper in the Journal of Neurosurgery exploring Jackson’s 45-degree lean, according to a report from NPR.
“Several MJ fans, including the authors, have tried to copy this move and failed, often injuring themselves in their endeavors,” the paper reads before explaining how a pair of shoes specially made for Jackson allowed him to pull off the dance move.
“The triangular slot could engage a hitch member (a metallic peg, which emerged from the stage floor at just the right time), allowing the dancer to obtain the right amount of extra support to be able to lean forward beyond physiological limits,” the paper says.
As NPR notes, the news of Jackson having special shoes isn’t anything new. But the neurosurgeons further detail how a person needs to have incredible core strength from the spinal and lower-limb muscles to actually perform the dance. Normally, most people can execute a 20-degree tilt and even the most proficient dancers tend to peak at 30 degrees.
Still, Jackson faced challenges when pulling off the antigravity tilt. As Complex reported three years ago, in 1996 the peg broke during a show in Moscow and caused Jackson’s heel to come loose. Fortunately, he wasn’t injured.