Brian Woolridge is "the Michael Jackson guy" who does his dance moves in the alley by the Michigan Theater.

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There’s no mistaking it, the Michael Jackson enthusiast’s fan base is growing all over the world. The man who created the Facebook Group “Brian Woolridge (Michael Jackson Alley Dancer from Ann Arbor) is great!!” lives in London. The group currently has 172 supportive members and displays action pictures of Woolridge dancing in the alley.

As an undergrad at UM, I came to realize that the encounter wasn’t so random. As it turns out, the “Michael Jackson Guy” was an Ann Arbor institution, busking in that same alley all day, every weekend. You’d hear talk of him in coffee shops and classrooms. But unlike Shakey Jake, whom every Ann Arborite claimed to know and love, the Michael Jackson Guy was a mystery. What compelled him to dance in the alley? Was the guy homeless? Why Michael Jackson?

Woolridge, 37, a 1990 graduate of Huron High School who lives across from Arborland, recalls dancing to Jackson's tunes at a very young age. In 1995, he began performing in the shaded, covered alley, a perfect setting for the strutting and flourishes that typify many of Jackson's songs.

Ann Arbor residents might know Woolridge as “the Michael Jackson guy.” He’s the one moonwalking in the alley on Liberty Street near the Michigan Theater on weekends. People strolling by wave to him as he spins and slides, Jackson’s vocals echoing against the alley’s graffiti-splashed walls and out onto the street.