News, Culture & Society

Michael Jackson impersonator reveals how to pull off the perfect Moonwalk

  • Chavail from San Francisco stars in new film by BAFTA-award winning director 
  • Follows three Michael Jackson tribute acts trying to crack Hollywood
  • Impersonator has revealed tricks behind performing the perfect Moonwalk
  • Michael first performed the dance to Billie Jean 35 years ago today  

A Michael Jackson impersonator, starring in a new film by a BAFTA-award winning director and producer, has marked the 35th anniversary of the Moonwalk with a tutorial on how to perform the iconic dance.

Chavail from San Francisco forms part of Three Generations – The Michael J Experience, with fellow tribute stars Quintin and Malachi, and has used his work as an impersonator to escape a troubled upbringing.

In new video he revealed how to nail the perfect moonwalk, explaining that although it looks tricky it’s actually very simple.  

‘Start off with both of your feet right next to you,’ he explained. ‘Then you’re going to take the foot that you kick with or that you use more frequently, and you’re going to put pressure into the floor with your toes.

‘On on your other leg, you’re going to slide it back like you stepped in horse… “chocolate”. 

The Michael Jackson tribute act said you need to slide your foot as if you're trying to wipe something off the bottom of your shoe

Chavail from San Francisco has revealed the trick behind the perfect moonwalk is to slide your foot as if you’re trying to wipe something off the bottom of your shoe 

‘And you’re trying to get the horse chocolate off the bottom of your brand new shoes. 

‘You’re going to slide it off of your foot and then when your foot comes up, your toes are going to be pressed into the floor in the same position that your other leg was. And the you’re going to slide the horse chocolate off your other foot.’

Chavil is one of the stars of the documentary Moonwalkers, which charts his group’s quest for fame in Hollywood, made by British director Tom Goudsmit and producer Tristan Anderson.

The film follows the performers as they sleep in their cars and dance on the street for dollars as they make their way on a road trip to Hollywood in the hope of finding agents to take them on. 

When did Michael Jackson first perform the Moonwalk? 

Michael Jackson first performed the dance to Billie Jean on Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever on March 25, 1983, which was broadcast two months later. 

It went on to become his signature dance move, but the King of Pop was not the one to invent it. 

It’s thought to date back as far as 1931 when it was performed by jazz singer and band leader Cab Calloway and known as The Buzz.

Dick Van Dyke also performed a similar move as part of a comedy routine in the 1950s.

In 2004, Michael’s sister LaToya said he’d picked up the move watching the show Soul Train from a dancer named Jeffrey Daniel, an alum of the group Shalamar.

She said the dance move was initially called the backslide, and later adapted to the moonwalk after Jackson perfected it.

‘As a director I wanted to capture this journey with them, where you felt you were going along for the ride, feeling the highs and the lows as one of the team,’ Tom Goudsmit explained.

‘It became the perfect window to observe how fame pushes people to improbable lengths.’

He and producer Tristan Anderson have self-funded the film up to this point and are fundraising through Kickstarter for the money they need to finish it in time for what would have been Michael Jackson’s 60th Birthday on 29th August 2018.