Magazine article Dance Spirit

My Michele

Magazine article Dance Spirit

My Michele

Article excerpt

AN L.A. DANCER KEEPS TIME WITH THE HEAVYWEIGHTS By Kim Moreau

If you've seen Justin Timberlake's "FutureSex/LoveShow" tour, or his video "My Love," or anything else of his since 1999, you would have noticed Michele Martinez. His dancing partner at award show performances and on tour, she's impossible to miss. Her resume lists a plethora of non-JT-related gigs, too-videos with Janet Jackson, J. Lo and The Killers and the movies Miss Congeniality and Charlie's Angels 2: Full Throttle have kept her career moving at a whirlwind pace since she got to L.A. 9 years ago.

But the star-wattage on Martinez's resume doesn't faze her. Not even dancing in Janet Jackson's "All For You" video gave her the jitters. "I just walked up to her and said 'What up girl, I'm doing your video!'" she says.

Martinez started dancing under doctor's orders at the age of 6: "I'm pigeon-toed, majorly," she says. "The doctor told me, 'It's going to be funny shoes or you could try ballet.'" So she studied ballet, jazz and tap. For high school she attended the New World School of the Arts in her hometown of Miami, taking classes in everything from modern to African to belly dancing.

The summer after graduation, she danced briefly for the Miami Heat basketball team before moving to Orlando to dance at Walt Disney World. Her plan was to save money to move to NYC. But then, on a whim, she went to an L.A. Underground dance convention and was spotted by jazz teacher Jackie Sleight. Sleight told Martinez she should move to L.A. "I was a modern dancer. I wanted to be in Ailey or Hubbard Street," Martinez says. "But Jackie said, 'No, girl, you can book a commercial and not work for the rest of the month. …

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