The Unforgettable Choreography of Paula Abdul’s “Straight Up”

Paula Abdul’s “Straight Up” was an instant hit when it was released in 1989. The song not only showcased Abdul’s powerful vocals but also her incredible dancing skills. The song topped the Billboard Hot 100 and remains one of Abdul’s iconic songs. However, it was the unforgettable choreography of the song that made it a sensation. Even today, the dance moves from “Straight Up” are replicated by dancers all around the world. Let’s take a closer look at the iconic choreography.

Background and Inspiration

Paula Abdul started her career as a cheerleader for the Los Angeles Lakers and then became a choreographer for music videos. She choreographed for several musicians such as Janet Jackson before cementing her own career as a pop singer. Abdul’s background in dance choreography is evident in her music videos and live performances.

For the music video of “Straight Up,” Abdul wanted to showcase her skills as a dancer. She collaborated with choreographer and dancer Jeff Thacker to create the iconic choreography. Thacker was instrumental in creating the memorable moves that we still remember today.

The Moves

The “Straight Up” dance moves are a perfect blend of hip hop, jazz, and contemporary styles. The dance starts with Abdul standing still as the intro to the song plays. Once the beat drops, Abdul starts moving, pulling her arms to the side and then up to her chest. The move is simple but iconic.

The dance moves then proceed to a more complex routine, including shoulder shimmies, spins, and slides. One of the most iconic moves is the slide where Abdul kicks one leg back and slides the other foot to the side. She then kicks the opposite leg and slides back. This move became so popular that it became known as the “Paula Abdul Slide.”

Another iconic move from the choreography is the shoulder shimmy. Abdul pulls her shoulders forward and back while moving her arms in a circular motion. The move is a perfect blend of jazz and contemporary styles and became an instant hit with audiences.

The Impact

The choreography of “Straight Up” was an instant hit with audiences. The music video became a sensation on MTV and helped propel Abdul’s career to new heights. The choreography was so popular that it became one of the most iconic dance routines of the 80s.

The “Paula Abdul Slide” became an integral part of pop culture, with everyone, from kids to adults, trying to replicate the move. The choreography also influenced other musicians and dancers, who were inspired by Abdul’s moves.

The impact of the choreography can still be seen today, with several dance groups and individuals replicating the moves on social media platforms such as TikTok. The “Straight Up” dance moves have become a cultural phenomenon and continue to inspire new generations of dancers.

The Legacy

The legacy of “Straight Up” goes beyond the music industry. The choreography of the song not only became an instant hit but also paved the way for dancers and choreographers in the industry. The choreography showcased the importance of dance in pop culture and set the standard for performances for years to come.

Abdul’s career as a choreographer is also a testament to the influence of “Straight Up.” The song helped launch her career and allowed her to establish herself as one of the most influential choreographers in the industry.

In conclusion, the choreography of “Straight Up” was an instant hit with audiences and became an iconic part of pop culture. The unforgettable dance moves showcased Abdul’s skills as a dancer and helped launch her career as a pop star. The legacy of the choreography continues to influence new generations of dancers, ensuring that it remains relevant even 30 years after its release.