MJ's IMMORTAL set to be a Thriller ... Inspired Dancers Talk !
MJ's IMMORTAL set to be a thriller By OLU ALEMORU,
Staff Writer Story Created: Jan 27, 2012 at 1:18 PM PST
Photo: Dancers from Michael Jackson: The Immortal interpret his iconic Thriller video. Credit: OSA Images
Two and a half years after the Staples Center hosted a solemn memorial service for the King of Pop, those memories are about to be transformed with a show that honors his legacy.
The "Michael Jackson: The Immortal" World Tour, which opened last October in Montreal, followed by performances in Las Vegas in December, takes in the Anaheim Honda Center Jan. 24-25 and the Staples Center Jan. 27-29.
A collaboration by the Michael Jackson estate and the world renowned Cirque du Soleil, the production has been billed as a unique view into the spirit, passion and heart of an artistic genius who forever transformed global pop culture.
The brainchild behind the show is former Jackson dancer and renowned pop concert tour director Jamie King, who is overseeing more than 60 international dancers, musicians and acrobats.
The show takes place in a fantastical realm where one discovers Jackson's inspirational Giving Tree — the source of his creativity.
Thus, the secrets of his inner world are unlocked — a love of music and dance, fairy tale and magic, and the fragile beauty of nature.
And according to Cirque press attaché Maxime Charbonneau, it’s a huge operation.
“For these arena tours, we're using 35 trucks — for a stadium tour it’s usually about 40,” he said.
“We’ll be touring North America for the next eight months, and then we head to Europe and Asia. We’re scheduled to tour for the next three and a half years.”
Meanwhile, principal tour dancer Leo Moctezuma said fans are in for a treat.
“It’s a spectacle for sure; a combination of all of Michael’s iconic moves, songs and videos with a beautiful slash of Cirque du Soleil,” he replied, adding “I’ve been on pop tours my whole life, but this is another level.”
The Brooklyn native, of Puerto Rican descent, who at 13 moved to Oahu, Hawaii, and joined the leading 24-VII Dance company, revealed that he was one of 300 professional dancers that tried out for the tour.
“My agent submitted me for the tour and the audition was hosted by Jamie and [another former Jackson dancer] Travis Payne. We basically learned his iconic moves from all of Michael’s songs. It was pretty grueling, but inspiring. They made it clear they wanted stars. Everyone on the stage had to be able to hold themselves as an artist and performer.”
He continued: “After I got the contract, I still had to wait five months before it actually started. We went out to Cirque’s headquarters in Montreal and trained extensively for three months with dance, acrobatics, aerial and acting classes. It was an amazing experience. It was like theater camp.”
For Moctezuma, who recalled that the Jackson family was in attendance that opening night with a parade of celebrity names, the tour is literally a dream come true having seen Jackson perform on the History Tour when Moctezuma was in high school.
“It’s really a blessing to be in this show, to continue his story … his music, his dance, his artistry,” Moctezuma said.
“I can listen to Michael’s music everyday. There are some many great songs and videos. I think my favorite is the choreography to ‘Smooth Criminal’ and ‘Thriller.’”