William Norton Bailey (December 8, 1912 – December 12, 1978), was known professionally as Bill Bailey. William Bailey was an American dancer who is best known for his incredible moonwalk performances. A moonwalk is a dance move in which the dancer appears to be walking forward while actually sliding backward, and Bailey was a master of this technique. In this article, we’ll explore the history and legacy of William Bailey’s moonwalk, as well as its impact on the world of dance.
William Bailey was born in Los Angeles, California. He began his dance career as a teenager, performing in local clubs and venues. Bailey was known for his smooth, fluid style, which was characterized by his signature moonwalk move. He would slide across the stage as if walking on air, mesmerizing audiences with his effortless grace and precision.
Bailey’s moonwalk became an instant sensation, and he soon began performing on a national level. He appeared on television shows such as “The Ed Sullivan Show” and “The Jackie Gleason Show,” and he even performed for President John F. Kennedy at the White House. Bailey’s moonwalk was unlike anything that had ever been seen before, and it captivated audiences around the world.
Despite his success, Bailey faced discrimination as a Black performer in the 1950s and 1960s. He was often relegated to performing in segregated venues, and he was paid less than his White counterparts. Despite these obstacles, Bailey continued to perform and to push the boundaries of dance.
Bailey’s influence on dance was significant, particularly in the area of hip-hop. The moonwalk became a signature move of many hip-hop dancers in the 1980s and 1990s, and it was popularized by performers such as Michael Jackson. Jackson’s moonwalk during his performance of “Billie Jean” at the 1983 Motown 25th Anniversary special is one of the most iconic moments in music history, and it helped to solidify the moonwalk as one of the most recognizable dance moves in the world.
Today, the moonwalk continues to inspire dancers around the world. It has become a symbol of innovation and creativity in the world of dance, and it is a testament to the power of individual expression. William Bailey’s contribution to the art of dance is immeasurable, and his legacy continues to live on through the moonwalk.
If you’re interested in learning how to moonwalk like William Bailey, there are many resources available online. You can find instructional videos, tutorials, and even online classes that will teach you the basics of this iconic dance move. Whether you’re a seasoned dancer or just starting out, the moonwalk is a fun and challenging move that is sure to impress your friends and audiences alike.
In conclusion, William Bailey’s moonwalk is a testament to the power of individual expression and creativity in dance. Bailey’s smooth, fluid style and signature move have inspired dancers around the world, and his legacy continues to live on today. Whether you’re a fan of hip-hop or just a lover of dance, the moonwalk is a move that is sure to capture your imagination and leave you awestruck. So why not give it a try and see where your own creativity and expression can take you?
In this video, Bill taps to an instrumental version of the Larks’ hit “The World is Waiting for Sunrise”, being performed by the Paul Williams Quartet.
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