Reporting Sara Pelissero
When it comes to dance, no one has more iconic moves than the late, great Michael Jackson. It was only a matter of time until someone took those masterful moves and created a show that would both capture the essence of Jackson and celebrate his many contributions to the pop world.
Luckily, for us, that someone just so happened to be Cirque du Soleil and the brilliant mind of writer and director Jamie King. The show combines the stunning visuals of the Cirque brand, the music of the legendary King of Pop and the incredible choreography that’s inspired a generation.
One of the dancers lucky enough to be a part of this amazing show recently took some time out of his busy schedule to tell us more about what we can expect. This is 20-year-old Mike Cameron’s first show with Cirque.
Q: Tell us a little bit about the show and your role in it.
A: My role in the show would be labeled as a dancer. It consists of a lot of numbers, 13 in total, dancing a lot of original and new choreographies to Michael Jackson’s hits. It consists of a lot of quick changes and your cardio definitely needs to be in great condition. The show is a combination of a rock concert and a cirque show — contains acrobatics, harnessed flights, creative costumes and a live band and displays an enormous amount of lights, videography, pyrotechnics and inventive stage designs. All in all, the show is a mind-blowing experience, high-energy performance, mixed with Michael’s soft side and care for the world. It’s a truly inspiring show, and a tribute to the King of Pop himself.
Q: What was your initial reaction to hearing they were combining the moves of Michael Jackson with the innovation of Cirque du Soleil?
A: I wasn’t aware of the two massive names combining their efforts for a while, but when I came across it I was very intrigued. Michael Jackson was so creative with his music and so internationally known, and Cirque du Soleil goes hand-in-hand with being creative and known across the world. I was very excited to see what would come from this merging of two big names.
Q: How are audiences reacting to the show so far?
A: Thus far, traveling on tour, the audiences have been more than generous. True fans that are there just to be in the presence of his music. I have seen Michael fans of all ages, Michael fans dressing like him, screaming his name, just giving love to him. Every time the show ends, I am still overwhelmed every night of how loud the audience is, standing on their feet. All in all, the audience has gave us a lot of love, and that’s probably the closest they can be from Michael.
Q: The show is said to be a tribute and celebration to the legacy of Michael Jackson. For lifelong fans and new fans alike, how do you think this show accomplishes that?
A: The show is definitely a tribute for Michael Jackson. The show accomplishes that by combining a lot of classic music videos and clips of famous live performances. The band performs many of his greatest hits, being played by 12 musicians — five of them who played with Michael Jackson on multiple tours. The show includes original choreography involved in many of Michael’s music videos and concert tours. So many people who worked on the show worked with Michael including choreographers, costume designers, directors, so they were so involved to make this the best show. Anything and everything in the show has a meaning and a purpose that’s related to Michael. The creative team was very successful in creating this tribute show.
Q: Obviously, the music is a big part of the show. What hits can audiences expect to see performed?
A: You’ll get to hear a variety of Michael’s music, ranging from his younger days with Jackson 5 — “ABC” “I’ll Be There” — to his massive selling singles, “Billie Jean,” “Smooth Criminal,” “Dangerous,” “Working Day and Night,” “JAM.” Also including some of his songs for the world, “They Don’t Care About Us,” “Heal the World” and “Black or White.” And that’s just to name a few!
Q: How long did it take to get some of Michael’s iconic dance moves down to a perfection?
A: One main thing the choreographers instilled in the dancers and the cast was that you can never have his iconic dance moves perfected. This is because as an artist, Michael always believed in growth and learning and creating new. Continually on tour, we are always practicing and working on our craft as artists to be our absolute best. We have not yet perfected his iconic moves since we are always in the act of perfecting the dance.
Q: What is your favorite number to perform?
A: My favorite number to perform would be the combination of “Heartbreak Hotel,” “Smooth Criminal” and “Dangerous.” All three of these numbers have the cool, smooth, old-school gangster look. These numbers also include original choreography from what I think are two of Michael Jackson’s most iconic dances — that being “Dangerous” and “Smooth Criminal.”
Q: What do you hope the Minneapolis audience takes away from the performance?
A: I hope that the audience in Minneapolis takes inspiration from the show to continue Michael’s legacy and his message of peace and love, and unity. His message to be great and to heal the world together. I hope that in seeing the show, the audience has fun and is blown away from the creativity of many people working hard for a very long time. I hope that the audience really sees the type of person Michael was, his hard work, how he affected so many lives in a good way, his creativity and I hope they celebrate his talent.
Michael Jackson The Immortal World Tour comes to Minneapolis on Tuesday, March 27 to Wednesday, March 28. Tickets are $50 and $250 and are available through Ticketmaster. For tickets or more information, click here.