Our sorrowfully gone alien-icon David Bowie has been eulogized for many things today—for his music, obviously, and for his fashion, and for the particular transcendent way he put the world forward with his imagination and lack of concern for convention, including gender. But we’d also like to note Bowie for his inimitable skills on a dancefloor, a man who moved with a sinewy grace and wobble legs and freaky heart.
James Brown was clearly an influence—obviously, as James Brown’s moves influenced practically everyone—but there are other parallels. Some of his jauntier leg jams are reminiscent of the freneticism of Joy Division’s Ian Curtis, whose rigid torso put his leg motions in sharper motion, but Bowie also had the rounded pelvic motion of Elvis Presley, a subtle grind just suggestive enough to be maddening.
In our video of his best moves, he starts out to “Stay” doing a perfect and pristine mashed potato, light on his feet through the whole of his career, as nimble as any dancer. “Modern Love” sees a doo-wop-inspired strut, one he builds on for Labyrinth and jazzes up with a ‘50s style duckwalk in “Dancin’ In the Streets.” He had all the flair we could handle; it added to his copious mystique. Rest in peace, sun.
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