DAY 208: Dancing like Jackie Wilson

27 Mar

OLD Dog has thrown a For No Good Reason party (guests: two), complete with streamers, lights and grub. My mission, should I choose to accept it, is to learn to dance like Jackie Wilson; and it would definitely be churlish not to.

Mr Excitement, as Jackie was known, was roundly pilfered by James Brown, Michael Jackson and Prince, thanks to his portfolio of smooth moves. We study intently his firecracking performance on the never-aired Jerry Lee Lewis Show. Although by now deep into middle age, he whups the arse of ‘Higher and Higher’ in a red leather jumpsuit. Ow!

Jackie’s signature moves.

* The glide. Skating backwards across the floor, this preceded Jacko’s moonwalking.

* Tight spins. Led by a pointing finger, this was later picked up by James Brown and the Jackson Five.

* Feinting and jabbing. A former street thug, Jackie became a keen boxer while in juvie.

* Weaving. By all accounts, Jackie was often bladdered on stage.

* Double thigh tremble. Delivered while holding out arms in supplication.

* Dropping to knees. Like James Brown without the theatrics.

* Splits. Jackie could somersault backwards and land in the splits. While attempting the same in 1975 on stage, he cracked his head and fell into a nine-year coma. That’s an advanced move, though.

Rolling back the rug, we slide around in our socks, attempting all the above. One move in particular confounds us: Jackie drops to his knees, then slides back up, perfectly symmetrically, using his feet – bloody impossible unless you’re a short, stocky fella with powerful thighs.

Keeper? Yes. Aired the moves again in the bush the next night, to a bit of Bo Diddley. If in doubt, just resort to some hand claps.

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