Michael Jackson: Video / Photos – THIS IS IT! Auditions & Rehearsal
Tuesday, May 19th 2009
AEG Live News – Press Release:
500 Dancers Fly to Los Angeles for Extraordinary Auditions.
Amazing Innovations in Staging and Set – New Benchmark for Live Entertainment
Rehearsals for the Michael Jackson shows are well underway and
already the King of Pop is hard at work preparing his concerts with
show director Kenny Ortega and contributing choreographer and dancer
from the Dangerous and HIStory tours, Travis Payne.
Shrouded in secrecy and the subject of much speculation as to their
content, the shows have created a level of excitement never witnessed
before. Fittingly, for such an out of this world show, rehearsals are
taking place south of Silicone Valley, west of the NASA Space Center!
One of the highlights of rehearsals has been the dance auditions.
With over 5,000 applications received, the number was narrowed down to
500 potential candidates, flying into California from all over America,
and as far away as Australia, Canada, Japan, Europe, UK, and South
America. They are some of the greatest dancers the world has to offer,
and they were there for one reason – Michael! His influence inspired
many of them to become dancers in the first place.
The competition was intense during the 3 days of auditioning at the
Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE in Los Angeles. Michael Jackson was present
along with Kenny and Travis to make the final selections. The challenge
to secure a place in the show became a reality for fewer and fewer as
the level of competition increased. Dancers were tested on their
strength, skill, style, creativity, fitness, commitment and execution.
Ortega says, “The level of dancers that we saw at the auditions was
incredible. Michael was extremely hands on throughout the process in
working with the dancers and selecting the final candidates. It was an
exciting, intense and highly creative process and not an easy decision
in the end.”
The final line-up of just 12 dancers includes an exceptional mix of
international performers. Selected to perform alongside Michael Jackson
at London’s O2 arena are US dancers Charles Kapow, Ricardo Reid, Tyne
Stecklein, Misha Hamilton, Mekia Cox, Nicholas Bass, Danielle
Rueda-Watts and Christopher Grant. As well as, Timor Steffens from
Germany, Australian dancer Shannon Holtzapffel, Daniel Celbre and Devin
Jamieson from Canada.
Randy Phillips, President & CEO of AEG Live, commented,
“Watching Mike and Kenny create this spectacle using the greatest
repertoire in contemporary music is one of the most exciting
experiences in my career in live entertainment. The fans who are
flocking to see Michael Jackson’s return to the stage will not be
disappointed. From the special effects to the quality of the dancers
and musicians, we are setting a new standard for major arena shows”.
Be clear that this is not just a concert, “This Is It” will be a
fully integrated musical experience combining theatre, film, music and
the latest advances in technology. Movies, music and movement all
rolled into one! . Michael is present at rehearsals overseeing every
detail day in day out and constantly pushing the bar slightly higher.
Ortega adds, “It is an intense and exciting creative period. Onstage
with the greatest entertainer of our time, we have a strong, talented,
dynamic group of dancers and musicians. These are artists whose talent,
dedication, skill and passion for performing with their idol is felt
every hour of every day spent rehearsing. What is going to take place
on that stage at The O2 arena in July will truly be inspiring.”
Travis Payne, Associate Director / Choreographer
Michael Cotten, Production Designer
Patrick Woodroffe, Lighting Designer
Michael Bearden , Musical Director
Bugzee Hougdahl, Production Manager
Robb Wagner, Screen Producer