Scientists have found the secret behind Michael Jackson’s gravity defying 45 degree forward tilt

Scientists have found the secret behind Michael Jackson’s gravity defying 45 degree forward tilt

  • The science behind Michael Jackson's gravity-defying 45-degree tilt has been explained by a team of neurosurgeons in India.
  • Even with special shoes, the dance move requires advanced core strength.
  • At the end of the day, the dance move is still physiologically impossible for most.
One of Michael Jackson’s most iconic dance moves has been the 45-degree gravity-defying forward tilt. The fact that he had shoes made specifically for the staggering feat is old news, but neurosurgeons have come to the conclusion that even with the shoes, the anti-gravity lean defies biomechanical laws.

The research team, which practices at the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research in Chandigarh, India found that when humans try to tilt 45-degrees instead of at the waist, their weight shifts from their erector spinae muscles to their Achilles tendon.

Scientists have found the secret behind Michael Jackson’s gravity defying 45 degree forward tilt
(Source: Journal of Neurosurgery - Spine)

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So, instead of getting back support, Michael Jackson made his ankles do all the work. According to the study they published in the Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine, even with advanced core strength, most people only manage to bend 25 or 30 degrees before falling on their face. Their paper is titled, “How did Michael Jackson challenge our understanding of spine biomechanics,” with the conclusion that the tilt is physiologically impossible without help.

Why it matters

The authors of this study claim that the whole point of investigating the 45-degree tilt was to analyse how spinal injuries may change in the future for dancers. It was based on the observation that there are a lot of prevalent dance forms that have been inspired by what Michael Jackson introduced into the arena. And, having developed even further over the past few years, these dance forms have begun to challenge how neurosurgeons look at the mechanisms of spinal injury.

In fact, studies have indicated that the spine is the second most injured body part for dancers. Many of those issues originate from either, muscle imbalance, or shoddy technique. The most common spinal injury in dancers is spondylolysis. Apparently, the repetitive elongation and rotation of the spine reiterates into constant trauma.

Not the only one

The 45-degree tilt isn’t the only dance move that won the world over and was then left to the masses to decipher. The moonwalk, probably the most popular dance move by the King of Pop, was another performance that left the audience curious.

It turns out, the moonwalk wasn’t invented by Michael Jackson. Marcel Marceau, a renowned French mime artist, was the first person to bring the move on to the stage as a part of his dramatic performances.

Even Bill Bailey, a famous tap dancer, is known to have showcased the moonwalk before MJ. That being said, it’s still not an easy task to accomplish. Just like the 45-degree tilt, Michael Jackson rarely endeavoured towards the ordinary.