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|Subject: Remembering Michael - Frank Gaston Jr Thu May 10, 2012 10:35 am|| |
Director and choreographer Frank Gaston Jr. has worked with En Vogue, Toni Braxton and Destiny's Child. He currently coordinates routines for Beyoncé.
The first time I met Michael was when I danced in the video for "Smooth Criminal," and for some reason I remember his fingernails, because they were so well manicured. That was my first job in L.A. as a dancer. And it was the most amazing job — I made $10,000 because the job was for three months. Just the dance section. Isn't that something? There were, like, 40 dancers on the job. You know the scene in "Smooth Criminal" when he gets on the table? I'm standing right there because they wanted me to spot him, so if he fell, I would catch him. And he would never fall.
I had gone to see his show in Europe, where it was, like, 100,000 people and they don't have seats on the main floor of the stadium. They just stand up and they're like cattle shoulder to shoulder. And that was just amazing, seeing all the medics come in and out because people were fainting, people were crying. I can't explain it. It was like the Holy Ghost: if you ever go to a black Baptist church, people shout, ladies faint. That's the only thing I can describe that's like how it was. And Michael told me one thing too: When people would grab him when he was walking through from backstage, and they could grab him or something, he said it was like fire — because they would grab him and they would pull him. They didn't want to hurt him; it was that they just wanted a piece of him.
Most people, when they're rehearsing a dance movement, they don't do it full-out. Michael would always do everything to the fullest in rehearsal. He would do it like he was onstage, every time. And as a dancer, you would be like, Why is he doing it that hard? Every chromosome worked, the minute he moved. I don't know if you've ever seen when he was going to court [in 2005], he got on top of his car. Even in that moment, he didn't dance like he was on top of his car, he danced like he was onstage. He danced like every chromosome was working, right there, on top of a car. And when you really look at that tape, when he jumps on top of the car, he hurts his knees. He has to land on his knees when he jumps on the car from the ground. But even though his knees were in pain, he still gave everything he had. If you rewind it and look at it one day, you'll know what I mean.