The Science Behind Michael Jackson’s Smooth Criminal Move – Design You Trust — Design Daily Since 2007

The Science Behind Michael Jackson’s Smooth Criminal Move


In 1987, Michael Jackson stunned audiences with his iconic “Smooth Criminal” music video featuring a gravity-defying lean. Despite skepticism about special effects, Jackson later performed the move live worldwide, earning him the nickname “Moonwalker.”


Drawings showing the “antigravity tilt” (> 45° forward bend), the dance move introduced by Michael Jackson, as well as the conceptualized shoe designed by MJ and co-inventors.

Attempts by fans to replicate the lean often resulted in injuries due to its extreme difficulty, explained by scientists as a strain shift from back muscles to the Achilles tendon.

Shift of the fulcrum from the sacrum to the Achilles tendon in MJ’s antigravity tilt.

Determined to incorporate the move into his live shows, Jackson, along with co-inventors Michael Bush and Dennis Tompkins, developed a shoe mechanism allowing dancers with strong core strength to achieve the lean without wires.


After years of development, the technique debuted during the Dangerous World Tour, becoming a staple in Jackson’s subsequent performances and inspiring dancers globally.


If you want more awesome content, subscribe to 'Design You Trust Facebook page. You won't be disappointed.

More Inspiring Stories