Newspaper article Gympie Times, The Qld.

Jackson Leaves Dance World Void

Newspaper article Gympie Times, The Qld.

Jackson Leaves Dance World Void

Article excerpt

NEW YORK (AP) - Growing up in Crown Heights, Anthony Rue II wanted to be like Mike.

Not Jordan, prince of basketball - Jackson, king of pop. Rue, a native of that Brooklyn neighbourhood, was raised on Moonwalker, like so many children of the 1980s. But as a little boy harnessing a raw talent for dance, Jackson's stylish, high-concept choreography and music videos lifted him toward a higher calling.

Now 27, Rue - who trained first on the street and then in the studio - is a professional dancer and choreographer, currently performing on Madonna's Sticky & Sweet tour.

"He's the main reason why I even started dancing," Rue said of Jackson, who died of cardiac arrest on June 25. "But I didn't think his death would have hit me as hard as it did. ... I guess those kid years kind of came back and reminded me how much of a fan I was."

For many young dancers - especially boys - Jackson's singular grooves were transformative. And with the MTV video revolution, they could be viewed any given second: the dance-centric visual classics ( Beat It, Smooth Criminal and many more) introduced the superstar's jaw-dropping, theatrical style to a younger generation of movers who also expressed themselves through dance.

Stephen Hill, executive vice president of entertainment and music programing at BET, described his dance style in a ridiculously appropriate word: "Jackson-esque".

Like none before him, Hill said, Jackson combined: the funky street dance called popping, akin to the robot and the moonwalk (which Jackson didn't invent but took mainstream); the slick, jazzy technique of choreographer Bob Fosse; the electric twists and turns of R&B showmen Jackie Wilson and James Brown.

"He no less than changed the way that human beings moved and moved to the beat," Hill said. "It wasn't just dancing to the beat. What he would do was he incorporated poses into dancing. It was one, two, three, stop! He'd pose for two or three beats and then keep moving. …

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