From the ballroom to the boogie stage, they just don’t make dancers like these anymore!
7) Michael Jackson
Arguably one of biggest pop stars of the 20th century. Michael Jackson got his start singing and dancing with his brothers in the Jackson 5, with increasing success leading to more complicated dance moves and touring schedules. The late 1960s and early 1970s were heavy on the hits for the group, including songs like “I Want You Back,” “I’ll Be There,” and “ABC” while signed to Motown Records. Jackson’s early solo efforts were met with immediate success and his dancing style blossomed. He became one of the most recognizable performers in the world, with his dance moves playing no small part in that rise to ultimate fame. Jackson’s dance moves are some of the most-mimicked with efforts to learn his later Moonwalk steps still embarked upon by thousands of amateur dancers today. Watch his early moves in this absolute classic video to “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough.”
6) Sammy Davis Jr.
Sammy Davis Jr started out performing with his family, singing, dancing, with his uncle’s troop, the Will Mastin Trio, Davis learned the business early. Performing in films such as Oceans 11 and Porgy and Bess, Davis’ acting credits number at nearly 80! And, Davis made a name for himself in every format of performance, from singing to dancing to comedy and impressions. His stage performances became legendary, especially those with Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin as the “Rat Pack.” Watch as the immensely talented Davis does comedy, sings, and tap dances all while smoking a cigarette in this amazing clip from The Hollywood Palace in 1969. A true one of a kind man!
5) Cab Calloway
He might not be in the same league with folks who made their living from dance, but Cab Calloway did more dancing than any band leader ever did! Callloway’s moves were energetic and unique, yet were suffused with a haunting quality. Following his sister on stage, the two had natural talent for the new-fangled fad called jazz. After gaining success with radio shows and as a band leader at the Cotton Club, Calloway appeared in many films, including the wonderful “Minnie the Moocher” short of Betty Boop in 1932. Not only was Calloway one of the first black band leaders to tour through the segregated South, he authored articles and one booklet. Calloway performed up until his death and even appeared in the Blues Brothers (1980). Though his dancing was often a decoration to his conducting, arranging, and singing, we think he is one of the most original dancers of the era. Take a look a selection of clips of him dancing set to his classic tune, “Zaz Zuh Zaz.”