James Brown's music can make even the stiffest body get on the dancefloor and bust a move. His timeless songs have inspired artists for generations as he pioneered funk and has been sampled countless times in hip-hop. There isn't an artist today in pop, hip hop, or soul that hasn't been influenced by James Brown. He was a force of nature on record and on stage and his incredible dance moves have been imitated by Bruno Mars, Michael Jackson, and more.
Over his 50-year career, Brown had 17 singles reach #1 on the Billboard charts and has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame. He was also a civil rights advocate and wrote the 1968 black power anthem, "Say It Loud – I'm Black and I'm Proud."
The best part about the dance moves of "The Hardest Working Man In Show Biz" was that he made them up entirely on his own. No fancy choreographers or dance coaches, just soul. Here are 6 dance moves from the "Godfather of Soul" to impress everyone at the next party.
The Camel Walk
Described as the "backward Moonwalk," the Camel Walk will find you traveling all over the dancefloor, shimmying your shoulders from side to side with style and pop. While this dance move has been around for decades before Brown, he added his own personal flair and made it all his own.
The Funky Chicken
This one needs a disclaimer. Only a few can actually make the "The Funky Chicken" look cool and James Brown had that gift. Moving your knees back and forth like a bird taking off for flight and swinging your arms simultaneously, this hypnotic dance move is not for the faint of heart.
A staple of pop-and-lock dancers, the Boogalo will have your feet wide, knees bouncing, and your body shaking. An easy move to start with on your journey to dance like the Godfather Father of Soul.
The Mashed Potato
One of James Brown's signature moves, the Mashed Potato needs some serious footwork if you attempt it. Your feet will frantically squiggle around the dancefloor as you shuffle forwards and backward, often on one foot.
Another move that became a staple for pop-and-lock dancers, you'll have to suddenly stop and rigidly move like a mechanical man to pull this one off. James Brown was able to go from a smooth, flowing move right into the stiff robot and back into his previous routine.
The tour de force of James Brown dance moves, James Brown's split showed off all his flexibility, charisma, and skill. Getting to the ground is the easy part, the real challenge is getting back up on your feet effortlessly. It is truly the penultimate move to learn if you want to dance like James Brown.
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