Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal” Lean Was Made Possible By A Patent

Michael Jackson’s lean in “Smooth Criminal” became one of the most notorious moments in music history thanks to a patented shoe and a jacked body.

Three neurosurgeons from the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research in Chandigarh, India revisited the gravity-defying move to determine how the King of Pop was able to achieve a 45-degree angle while keeping his spine straight.

Their answer: A special shoe patented under his name in 1993.


It turns out the 45-degree tilt seen in the “Smooth Criminal” video is a mix of illusion, science and some serious athleticism.

“The triangular slot could engage a hitch member (a metallic peg, which emerged from the stage floor at just the right time), allowing the dancer to obtain the right amount of extra support to be able to lean forward beyond physiological limits,” the paper published.

But this alone isn’t enough for Michael Jackson to perform the magical illusion, according to their research, he also needed to have “incredible strength from the spinal and lower-limb muscles.”

So, for all of the Jackson fans and just fascinated viewers, you’ve finally got an answer, but don’t try this at home.

Michael Jackson – Smooth Criminal (Official Video)

The short film for Michael Jackson’s “”Smooth Criminal”” was the centerpiece of the feature film Moonwalker, and featured the debut of Michael’s iconic “”anti-gravity lean.”” Inspired in part by Fred Astaire’s “”Girl Hunt Ballet”” dance number in the film The Band Wagon, “”Smooth Criminal”” was named Best Video at the BRIT Awards, Broadcast Film Critics Association and the People’s Choice Awards.

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