Despite the best efforts at YouTube take down notices, we all know Beyonce grave robbed Bob Fosse, because We Who Know, saw the video evidence with our own eyes before it was removed.  Beyonce even, eventually, gave Bob Fosse credit for her choreography theft.  This morning, I was delighted to receive an email from Alisa, asking if I knew Michael Jackson had also stolen Bob Fosse’s choreography.

Here is Alisa’s email:

I was trying to find the Mexican Breakfast, Bob Fosse/Gwen Verdon video, but YouTube has removed it completely.  So sad.  That is how I came upon your blog. Good article on Beyonce and the Single Ladies rip off.

I just wanted to share my shock when I rented the Little Prince movie.  Again, Bob Fosse makes a modern singer an absolute star.  You have to watch this scene “A Snake in the Grass”.  when I saw it I was screaming “Oh my god, it’s Michael Jackson!!!!”  Timing 3:20, moon walk 6:23, etc. Check out the clothes, white socks (spats) all else black.

Check it out…
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L8mJsgPj1iU

If you have seen it, sorry to bother you.

Take care,
Alisa

Oh, dear Alisa, how right you are:  Michael Jackson thefted all of his best moves directly from Bob Fosse in “The Little Prince!”

Here’s a great YouTube video mashup of Bob Fosse dancing in the movie to the soundtrack of Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean:

In case that video goes missing from YouTube, here’s a sequence of screenshots demonstrating the semiotic “Michael Jackson Foot Kick” — that was directly stolen from Bob Fosse:



Seeing Bob Fosse do the “Moonwalk” long before Michael Jackson ever did it in performance is both fascinating and disgusting.

Did Michael Jackson ever pay one moment of tribute to Bob Fosse for “choreographing his career?”

Here’s the timeline that proves the thievery:

“The Little Prince” was released in 1974.  Michael Jackson was 16 years old.

Nine years later, in 1983, Michael Jackson releases “Billie Jean” and we get the snapping foot and the Moonwalk and all the other symbolistic moves invented by Fosse.  Michael Jackson was 25 years old.

The timeline is on Bob Fosse’s side.  He came first.  He invented the moves and the style that Michael Jackson would later directly steal and employ in his own act, pretending it was his own invention by deception by non-inclusion.

It’s pretty astounding that Bob Fosse, an “Old Man White Dancer,” actually invented the iconic, career-making, youthful, dances for Beyonce and Michael Jackson — decades after his death — and Fosse’s “White Man Moves” made them cultural, Black, superstars.

20 Comments

    1. You’ve seen Fosse moves in Indian films? If so, I hope you can find them and reveal them to us!

      Stealing/Influencing/Inspiring are all very fine lines to cross and tempt — but if you always credit the source material, you are at least honoring and being transparent.

  1. HEY ALISHA, SINCE YOU ARE A PERSON WHO CLAIMS THAT SHE LOOKS TO PAST MOVIES AND NOTICE WHAT MOVES MICHAEL JACKSON REPLICATED FROM SOMEONE ELSE, MAYBE YOU SHOULD FIND THE TAPE OF MJ ON OPRAH WHERE HE STATES THAT HIS MOVES WERE LEARNED FROM WATCHING OTHERS. MAYBE YOU OUGHT TO ALSO LET THE REST OF US KNOW HOW MANY DANCES WERE ORIGINATED BY BLACK PEOPLE BUT WERE “STOLEN” THEN “RENAMED” AND PUT TO THE PUBLIC AS BEING DISCOVERED BY WHITE PEOPLE. TO LET YOU KNOW WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT HERE IS AN EXAMPLE. A DANCE CALLED THE “BUS STOP” HAS BEEN AROUND FOR YEARS BUT ALL OF A SUDDEN WHITE PEOPLE PUT ON A COWBOY HAT AND BOOTS CHANGE THE NAME TO “THE LINE DANCE” AND WANT TO CLAIM THIS. GIVE ME A BREAK. IF YOU WATCH MJ DANCE YOU WILL SEE ELVIS, JAMES BROWN, AND EVEN FRED ASTAIRE. THESE DAYS EVERYONE FROM JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE TO JUSTIN BEIBER ARE COPYING MICHAEL JACKSON MOVES SO I GUESS THEY ALL “STEAL” MOVES FROM EACH OTHER. SO YOUR BS IS REALLY ANOTHER ATTEMPT TO PUT A NEAGATIVE TONE ON THIS GREAT ENTERTAINER. HE’S HAS DONE THE ULTIMATE “HE DIED” SO THE TIME HAS COME FOR YOU AND OTHERS LIKE YOU TO FIND SOMEONE ELSE THE F— WITH. IF FOSSE WAS SO GREAT THEN MJ AND ANYONE ELSE WHO FOLLOWED HIS STYLE I’M SURE HE WOULD HAVE BEEN PROUD THAT THEY FOUND WHAT HE DID WAS THAT GOOD. SO GIVE IT A REST.

    1. Turn off your CAPS LOCK BECAUSE YOU ARE YELLING and we won’t publish any more comments with you posting something so unreadable.

      You’re cleverly trying to change the topic by reversing the argument to something we are not discussing. Alisa was making a specific allegation about Michael Jackson stealing moves from Bob Fosse and she backed it up with video evidence that quite clearly made her case.

  2. IT SEEMS TO ME THAT MICHAEL JACKSON DIDN’T STEAL FOSSE’S MOVES IT LOOK LIKE FOSSE STOLE SAMMY DAVIS , JR.’S MOVES. SO ALISHA AND DAVID NEED TO DIG A LITTLE FURTHER IN THE ENTERTAINMENT HISTORY AND FIND WHERE THESE MOVES REALLY CAME FROM. YOU PEOPLE DIDN’T GO BACK FAR ENOUGH!!!

  3. Well, I watched it all, and it sure looks like MJ copied Bob. There’s the angle of the head, the chin against the chest. The relationship to the arched foot in space is unimpeachable. It sure is a copy if not an outright theft.

    1. Thanks for checking everything, Anne!

      Yes, it’s a question of the body in time and space — and the measurable and quantifiable similarities in movement and temperament while performing in that tight context. Fosse invented. Michael copied. The evidence in performance speaks for itself.

  4. Michael always said that he was inspred by Fred Astire and he also dedicated his book Moonwalker to him..maybe it is Bob who never knowledged Fred inspiraion on him…when i saw the video i was amazed how Fred inspiration was everywhere even the music used by Bob is very smilar to the music Fred danced on in his skitch ” Be Happy” !!

    so ichael never stole things he said he was inspired and he told the truth about his and Bob’s main inspirtion Fed Astair….plan and simple….

    although i would love to watch MJ dancing rather than watchin the people who ispired him includig James Brown !

    1. There is no evidence Bob Fosse stole from Fred Astaire. In fact, Astaire was stunned by the Moonwalk when he first saw it — a Moonwalk that Michael Jackson stole from Bob Fosse — so you could say it was Astaire who was inspired by Fosse, not the other way around.

      You are conflating two opposing memes and the conclusion is not valid.

      The dancing styles are also complete opposites. Astaire was ballroom. Fosse was modern. Michael Jackson stole, move for move, Bob Fosse’s modern choreography and the film evidence of that theft is quite clear and on the record. Please provide video proof of Fosse stealing from Astaire.

  5. Bllywood gave Michael Jackson a prize in 1996 as the ony foreign inspiratn on the Indan Cinama and dance ,,,so your argument about Michael stealing from Indian movies is invalid and the people of Bollywood wll ell you hat your are wrong…they also gave him another prize after his death as the real inspiration n the modernCinama of Bollywood….

    The wole world loves Michael and respect him and everyone know who he is and what he made and Fred Astaire was the first person on the wrold who phoned MJ and tell him that he was the best dancer,,,

    your argument is invalid..try harder next time !LOL

      1. NOTE:

        Dear Michael Jackson Fans —

        We are not interested in unsupported commentary. We understand you love and adore Michael, but not everyone does. Please don’t spam this blog with video links and other ephemera that are based on invention and wishing.

        If you do a simple Google search on “Michael Jackson Steals from Bob Fosse” you will get over 122,000 returns — so what we argue in our article is not a new theme or even a unique assertion — but it is obviously a common concern.

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  6. you’re entitled to your own opinon but you can’t change facts or re-write history…these people were alive when B.J came out and if there is anything as you love to call ” stealing” happend they would sue him , since he is ‘as you American love to call Africans’ ” black” and has no right to invent anything…

    and I’m sure that officials were more than welcome to sue him, he is Michael Jackson! u kno 😉

    1. This is the last comment we will publish from you because, for some reason, you are not comprehending the point argued in the original article and you are trying to meander around in history to exonerate your idol.

      Your video evidence and attempts at provenance — all which, according to you, proves Michael Jackson stole his most famous moves from many people and not just Bob Fosse — indicates an inability to comprehend the difference between inspiration and direct copying without attribution.

      Watch Fosse dance in “The Little Prince” and watch Michael Jackson dance during his Billie Jean era — Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever from 1983 is a good example — and you have a direct theft of performance without any possible defense or prevarication.

      Other are trying to claim that Marcel Marceau “invented” the Moonwalk and that Fosse stole it from Marceau — which is just another backwards-glancing application of a banal attempt that doesn’t pass the basic observation test. Mime and dance are not the same things. They are not interchangeable. There is a finesse in the performance of the application of the body in time and space and framed by the context of content that fully forms, and proves, the fact that Michael Jackson directly stole from Bob Fosse.

  7. Hey David. I am doing a Thesis on this topic and I have just began. I do agree that Michael Jackson did take from that of Fosse’s and expanded the movement, taking it to another level. I was wondering if you had found any legitimate resources or evidence apart from the “Snake” clip to show this. I have been trying to search whether the two artists met, or if there was any interview done on Michael Jackson where he actually states that Fosse was a big influence.

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