Michael Jackson Vs. Fred Astaire


Active Member
Ummm, ok... Frankly, this comment is offensive in a forum which is *trying* to discuss the dancing, not people's personal lives.

Lucy: to *actually* respond to your inquiry... I think the two are both phenomenal dancers, very different and similar at the same time. I think Fred is more of a minimalist as a dancer, relying on elegance and lightness to interpret music. Michael is a more athletic dancer, perhaps having more in common with Gene Kelly rather than Astaire. Not to mention that the two were tasked with interpreting VERY different music! But both have this insane charisma as dancers that cannot be learned - they were both born with this huge talent to move people with the way they move(d). I prefer Michael's dancing because he has this amazing ability to absorb different styles of dancing (he will probably be the first to admit that Fred was a huge influence) from James Brown to Gene Kelly and make it his own and make it original. I think ultimately this ability makes him a more versatile dancer than Fred, but who knows what Fred would have done to hip-hop;)

I've always wondered how Michael would do with ballroom... It would probably be too regimented for him. Seems he'd be more of a WCS dancer;)


New Member
I'm sorry I offended you.

I still maintain that no real comparison can be made with their dancing... but I like your thoughts on the "What if" Michael pursued ballroom. WC would be very interesting. :) I'd like to see him take a stab at shag.


Well-Known Member
i echo ithink's sentiments. i adore fred. michael's style & versatility appeals to me more.

WRT the hooplah having to do with michael's personal life... i take that with more grains of salt than i can count...

thanks for sharing this vid, luce!


Active Member
Well, regarding the previous posts, one cannot deny that Michael's dancing does directly involve grabbing his crotch. I cant even count the number of times he does that while dancing in the above video. He's a great dancer, but IMO the grabbing does distract and take away from the enjoyment of his dancing. Or it does for me anyway. Whereas Fred's tap dancing and his style just makes me smile(as does Gene Kelly's). So I would have to say Fred. But then again, he has an unfair advantage right off the bat because I just LOVE guys in tails AND because he just looks like he would make a great ballroom dancer. :)

Disclaimer: Although I do not LIKE all styles of dance, I can still appreciate them all and what they have contributed to dance in general. So the above post is based on my silly little opinion only. lol!


Active Member
ME: fair enough. I just hate to see "personal life hoopla" that has surrounded Michael basically all his life overshadowing his out-of-this-world talent. Always hated it, but especially in a forum that eschews personal digs at people and promotes the discussion of dance...

anp: yes, he grabs his crotch... Yes, Fred's dancing makes me smile. Michael's dancing makes me stare in wonderment that one can possess so much rhythm inside one's body...

Haha, Fred IS a ballroom dancer. He is the originator of American style ballroom, AFAIK...


Active Member
Haha, Fred IS a ballroom dancer. He is the originator of American style ballroom, AFAIK...
ha ha! yeah, that statement came out kind of wrong, I guess. I know he does/did, although I have never seen it and therefore have no idea what he looks like doing it. I guess what I was trying to say is that I watched him dancing and thought, man, he really does look(hold himself) like a ballroom dancer....wonder what he would look like actually doing it? Similar to Ben Ermis, I am sure, who is to me the quintessential(probably spelled that wrong) american smooth ballroom dancer(and looks alot like Gene Kelly/Fred Astaire too, btw!). Incidentally, I do that with every guy dancer(I try to imagine them doing ballroom). I prefer ballroom dances over latin dances(though latin is fun to do as well), so I tend to go for the smoother looking dancer and generally the more traditional too(which is probably why I love standard so much and also probably why I prefer Fred's style over Michael). Plus, I'm sorry, I know its just Michael's way of dancing, but the crotch grabbing just really kind of ruins his good dancing to me...guess I am old fashioned after all(though I wouldnt mind trying krumping and contemporary dancing at some point in time).

OT, but does anyone know of where to find video of Fred Astaire doing ballroom? Or Arthur Murray, for that matter. I was just thinking about how both names seem to go with ballroom dancing but yet I have never seen them actually dance ballroom. Just curious...
OT, but does anyone know of where to find video of Fred Astaire doing ballroom?
Fred never really did "ballroom" dancing, at least what most us think of as ballroom dancing. He definitely did partner dancing, however... with unmatched style and flair. (American Smooth is Fred and Ginger inspired but fairly different from what/how they danced.) Fred's roots were in vaudeville, and he was an incredible tap dancer. You'll see tap peppered throughout all of his routines.

Many claim that Rita Hayworth was his best dance partner ("You'll Never Get Rich" and "You Were Never Lovelier"), but personally, I love his RKO movies with Ginger. I'd start with those - maybe "Top Hat."

Incidentally, when Michael Jackson was a little boy, he lived next door to Fred.
I've heard that Fred did a waltz without tap embellishments in the movie bio of Vernon and Irene Castle.
Ah, good call. "The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle" is on my "to see" list. I imagine that movie might have more "ballroom" type dancing in it, since the Castles are often credited with starting the ballroom craze. I hear that it's pretty different from Fred and Ginger's other films. A bit sad and perhaps not as strong... I'd venture to say that the dancing in it may not be as representative of what he was best known for...

For a good Fred movie (dancing and storyline), I'd still start with "Top Hat," "Swing Time," etc and then branch out.
I have to admit that I've not seen a lot of Fred Astaire dancing. I must correct that and rent some movies. I do think they are both brilliant dancers but prefer Fred's style. I'm a huge fan of Gene Kelly... oh, be still my heart. :wink:
Two different styles but i"d pick fred astaire if i had too choice, normally i can"t when 2 or more people are sort of equally as good in dance or ice skating, but too me fred astaire was better, and the grabbing the crotch thing with micheal jackson always put him down a few pegs, also some of his moves(too me)seeming wacked and out of the music..

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