She says some interesting things about his career, but I was most struck by a couple of paragraphs about what Jackson's dancing was actually LIKE.
He didn’t have a lot of moves. You can almost count them on your fingers: the gyrating hips, the bending knees (reversing from inward to outward), the pivoting feet (ditto), the one raised knee, the spins, and, above all, the rotated or raised heel, which is what he gets around on. These steps are generally done staccato. He finishes the phrase and freezes, then finishes the next phrase and freezes. He also has some moves so natural that one hesitates to call them steps: lovely, light-footed walks, struts, jumps, and runs.
He made at least one important innovation in music-video choreography—the use of large ensembles dancing behind the soloist—but beyond that he created very little dancing that was different from his own prior numbers, or anyone else’s. Yet many people were happy to see him, again and again, do the thing he did. Long after the critics soured on his music and his videos, they still liked his dancing.
Sometimes they had to take the dancing on faith. Jackson, who had a thorough knowledge of the movie musical, revered Fred Astaire. He records in his memoir how thrilled he was when Astaire praised him. The old master even invited him over to his house, where Jackson taught the moonwalk to him and his choreographer Hermes Pan. (Astaire told Jackson that both of them, he and Jackson, danced out of anger—an interesting remark, at least about Astaire.)
But despite Jackson’s awe of his predecessor, he never learned the two rules that Astaire, as soon as he gained power over the filming, insisted on: (1) don’t interrupt the dance with reaction shots or any other extraneous shots, and (2) favor a full-body shot over a closeup. To Astaire, the dance was primary—his main story—and he had it filmed accordingly. In Jackson’s videos, the dance is tertiary, even quaternary (after the song and the story and the filming). The camera repeatedly cuts away, and, when it comes back, it often limits itself to the upper body. Jackson didn’t value his dancing enough.
I have added paragraphing and put the last sentence in boldface.
So, what do you think. Is she right?