I would be remiss if I failed to post something about Michael at this time. It took me a few days to get here, I was grieving in my own way; watching music videos, playing his music in my car, dancing around my living room with my 1 year old daughter who would hear the beat and-- without realizing mommy was sad-- just had to break out.
· I remember watching music video after music video when Erica and I were riding in the back of her family van all the way to Vegas and back.
· I remember requesting anything by Michael Jackson at every dance I ever attended, and playing something by Michael Jackson at every dance I ever DJ’d.
· I remember thinking it wasn’t coincidence that he became “King of Pop” when he swept the Grammys in January 1984 and I was born in February 1984. Even though I was due in January, I’m sure I said, “Come on! Let me stay and watch Michael win, I’ll totally miss it if I’m all born and junk!”
· I remember dancing to “The Way You Make Me Feel” on swing nights at the MAC.
· I remember looking through Kristen’s Michael fan folder and thinking, “Man, I really should think this is crazy, but I can’t help it. I love it!”
· I remember teaching “Beat It” to my Encore kids, and watching Encore perform “Beat It” on several occasions, always while I thought, “Nobody does it like Michael.”
· I remember teaching the “Beat It” dance at countless dances, parties, and classes.
· I remember teaching “Thriller” to a group of youth for a Halloween mutual activity.
· I remember dancing “Thriller” at homecoming on the football field my junior year and the summer after my junior year at BYU Young Ambassadors Camp. They almost wouldn’t let us perform it because it was kinda “dark” (Hello! Michael posted a disclaimer: This in no way expresses a belief in the occult. Duh!)
· I remember learning and teaching a dance to “They Don’t Really Care About Us” on 3 separate occasions.
· I remember seeing a jazz/lyrical dance to “Earth Song” when I was 12. That was what inspired me to dance other things besides ballet.
· I remember watching Ashley and Rick perform a Rumba in a dark studio to “Whatever Happens” off the “Invincible” album.
· I remember hearing “Invincible” for the first time when Ruthanne bought it and played “Privacy” loud and clear over the BHS dance studio speaker system.
· I remember dancing around mom’s Z3 convertible to “Come Together” and thinking Michael’s version beat the Beatles version 10:1.
· I remember driving in my car and hearing song, after, song, including two in one week that sang “mama say mama saw ma-ma-coo-saw” and thinking “ah, another Michael-inspired copy cat.
· I remember making a list of 3 Michael songs that I claimed, when played in the correct order, could turn me just the right amount of on... (Douglas, for your benefit they are—in very particular order—“Come Together” “Privacy” and “Dirty Diana” and for a bonus afterwards throw in “Blood on the Dance Floor.”)
· I remember making an entire mix based around wanting to play Alien Ant Farm’s “Smooth Criminal” right next to Michael’s “Smooth Criminal.”
· I remember seeing “Captain Emo” at Disneyland and thinking that Captain guy rocked! I also remember protesting the retiring of the attraction and seeing it one last time.
· I remember finally deciding ballroom was cool when I was scrutinizing the “Blood on the Dance Floor” video.
· I remember doing foetes over and over again to “Beat It” in my basement at Windsor Manor Court. I thought that was the BEST song for foetes ever, and it didn’t occur to me until right now that I probably owe the fact that those are so easy for me to that song and the hours of practice it encouraged.
· I remember learning the moves from his “95 MTV Video Music Awards” performance for the talent show. We were shocked and appalled that we didn’t make it.
· I remember making the coolest mix for a street dance out of his “Ghost Remix” and the kids loving the choreography.
· I remember begging for “ABC” or “I Want You Back” to be in our Encore Medley.
· I remember swearing I’d pay anything to see Michael Jackson live in concert. If he ever had a comeback, I’d be there.
· I remember freaking out when he did this little smile he’d sometimes do in the middle of a dance.
· I remember playing a part of “Man in the Mirror” over and over again and trying to count the pencil turns. I want to say he did 11?
· I remember teaching myself the moon walk but always being frustrated when I saw him do it better and on the tips of his toes.
· I remember practicing this move Michael did on the stairs, all the while thanking my ribs and cursing my feet.
Michael Jackson changed what dance was for me and for the world. He brought this funky, technical, sharp, isolated, style to the TV where everyone could witness the power of singing and dancing at the same time. He made it suddenly a requirement that if you wanted to be a huge pop star you’d have to be a triple threat. No more “white man’s overbite.” He pushed dancers to become better-- to study their field. To practice until you make perfect and then keep practicing so you never lose what God and all that practice gave you.
· I remember being inspired by his music and his performance in ways that changed me as a performer forever. He hasn’t just been another artist. He has been a part of my life and my culture for as long as I’ve been alive.