Michael Jackson is widely regarded as one of the greatest dancers of all time. His gravity-defying moves, iconic moonwalk, and precise choreography have inspired countless performers over the years. But where did he learn to dance? Who were his teachers and influences?

The answer to this question is more complex than you might think. While there were certainly individuals who had a significant impact on Jackson’s development as a dancer, his unique style was also the result of his own creativity, experimentation, and sheer talent.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the people who helped shape Michael Jackson into the legend we know today.

Jackson 5

One of Michael’s early influences was undoubtedly his family band mates in The Jackson 5. As a child growing up in an intensely musical household, Michael was exposed to R&B, soul, pop music from an early age – thanks mainly to his father Joe Jackson’s constant support for their musical career.

Though more experienced members like Jermaine often took center stage when it came to singing leads or performing key measures during their performances; little MJ always found ways to stand out with energetic choreographic routines that showcased incredible proficiency even at such young age while having great fun doing what he loved most – entertaining audiences through dancing harmoniously alongside other super-talented musicians like Marlon (9).

Diana Ross

In addition to working with The Jackson 5 within Motown Records’ stable artists roster throughout much of the late ’60s until mid-’70s decade period; lead woman vocalist Diana Ross is another person credited for helping further develop Michael’s artistic vision beyond simply moving rhythmically onstage.

While touring International venues together including Britain Fanshawe Theatre [London] destination spot among others across countries notably Australia; Miss Ross mentored him regarding refined dress sense presentation comprising eccentric costumes coupled elaborate customized outfits accentuating each performer’s individuality traits around glamorously coordinated motifs highlighting absolute glamour both visually and aurally.

Fred Astaire

Fred Astaire

Another influence on Michael Jackson’s dance style was none other than the legendary Fred Astaire. Michael was a huge fan of old Hollywood musicals, and he often cited Astaire as one of his heroes.

In fact, in an interview with Oprah Winfrey in 1993, Jackson said that he first discovered Astaire when he was just five years old. He watched the film “The Band Wagon” on television and became fascinated by the way Astaire moved—graceful, effortless, and captivating all at once.

Michael reportedly had many conversations with Astaire over dinner about everything from dance techniques to storytelling within choreography performance ad libbing allowing each given scenario’s present dynamic mood to guide motion timing smoothly around emotive set-piece routines pieces seamlessly intersecting rhythm section syncopation intuitively while keeping audience members firmly engaged throughout shows’ duration (to continuously recharge audiences throughout performance).

Bob Fosse

Another key figure who influenced Michael Jackson’s dancing style was choreographer Bob Fosse . Known for his unique blend of jazz and burlesque styles into intricate routines merging movements into complex yet fascinating sequence flow from footwork to arm gestures involuntarily discernible only upon closer observation by those watching folks closely attentive enough what exactly is occurring artistically onstage during performances periods especially their iconic Bad album tour circa late ’80s early ’90s specifically continental Europe concerts events venues such as Cannes [France] or Munich arena gig location site among several others various points across globe.

Fosse’s signature moves included sharp pivots, hunched shoulders, and tight arm movements that looked almost robotic. These elements can be seen in some of Michael’s most famous routines—including the moonwalk—and were incorporated into his own unique style through time spent emulating much more experienced professionals like Mr.Fosse during teens years for inspiration learning invaluable knowledge regarding refinement hand placement exact leg steps precision leading transforms transforming any audience into amazing live percussive show like none other perceived by many fans as being innovative genre-changing entertainment with timeless appeal impossible to match or surpass.

Other Influences

Other Influences

Of course, Michael Jackson’s influences were not limited to just these few individuals. He was also inspired by a wide range of music and dance styles, from the classic Motown sound of his youth to the groundbreaking hip-hop moves he witnessed in the 1980s.

According to some sources , Michael studied ballet and modern dance under several different teachers throughout his career. These disciplines helped him develop greater control over his body movements and enabled him to incorporate elements of classical dance into his own style seamlessly; all while creating visually striking imagery marked with memorable flair resulting in powerful performance memories lasting generations from then on gradually evolving stylistically until the beginning of 21st century when family commitments began taking up much more time which led ultimately led away performing once again concluding an impressive run that is still fondly remembered today among many fans worldwide.


In conclusion, it’s difficult to say who taught Michael Jackson how to dance because so many people contributed to his development as a performer. From familial mentors and band mates within The Jackson 5 , including Jermaine for singing technique help mainly [to hone harmonizing skills] ; influential singers such as Diana Ross mentoring regarding sensibilities onstage outfit dynamic optimization achieved creatively via shows coordinated set-list design enhance overall performances’ thematic impact through well-placed visual aesthetic strategies ad libs musical cues emphasizing each song’s desired emotional potency; however iconic dancers & choreographers like Fred Astaire & Bob Fosse improvising machine-like smoothness interweaving stylistic flourishes during sequences refining elements consistently until reaching perfection artistically speaking respectively emerged top influencing MJ’s craft exponentially beyond what’s already been done before leaving irrefutable history marking place future music industry breaking down barriers diversity exposure possibilities infinite genres fusing elements into unique masterpiece defining how we can look at popular music & dance conceptions, for time immemorial. The king of pop’s influence has left a lasting mark on the entertainment industry and will continue to inspire generations to come.