Since he won his first Moonmen at the inaugural MTV Video Music Awards in 1984, [artist id=”1102″]Michael Jackson[/artist] has graced MTV’s biggest stage time and time again with his eye-poppingly inventive dance moves — kicks, spins and moonwalks that continue to influence the world of contemporary dance. Though MJ’s gone, the music industry’s biggest choreographers have not forgotten the King of Pop’s impact on their craft.
That’s why some of the hottest names in choreography from the last 15 years will be joining the tribute to Michael Jackson that will kick off the VMAs on Sunday.
The creative director for the tribute is Gil Duldulao. Joining him as dancers will be choreographers Dave Scott, Cris Judd, Brian Friedman, Wade Robson, Tyce Diorio, Travis Payne, Jeri Slaughter, Laurie Ann Gibson, Mia Michaels and Tina Landon.
Some of these people you may have heard of before, but you’ve most definitely seen the way they’ve made the feet move of the biggest names in music: Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears, Usher, Rihanna, Jennifer Lopez and Lady Gaga — they’ve all worked alongside these choreographers.
And these choreographers have all been heavily influenced by MJ over the years — they’ve even contributed moves to the King of Pop’s own routines. The VMA tribute gives these talented men and women a chance to honor Jackson’s body of work, to connect past generations of dancers to future ones and, of course, to bring some high-energy toe-tapping to the 2009 show.
The list of their career collaborators is a long and impressively dizzying one. Duldulao is Janet’s close creative partner who’s also come up with moves for Aguilera, Spears and Lopez. Today’s pop-culture universe has opened up vast new opportunities on the big and small screen, a development Scott has taken full advantage of with his work on movies like “Stomp the Yard” and Fox’s “So You Think You Can Dance.” Although probably best known as J. Lo’s onetime hubby, Judd is a pop force in his own right, having performed with ’NSYNC and Celine Dion.
Who doesn’t remember Christopher Walken’s turn in Fatboy Slim’s “Weapon of Choice” video? Well, if you dug it — and how could you not? — you’re already a fan of Friedman, as he was Walken’s double for the shoot. He’s also boogied with Prince, Spears and ’NSYNC. You want Grammy nominations? Emmy wins? Look to Robson, a vet of “SYTYCD” who’s also worked with Spears and ’NSNYC. Another “SYTYCD” contributor — a guest judge, in fact — is Diorio. He’s also found time to work with Paula Abdul and J. Lo.
Payne knows MJ’s style well, and he’s partly responsible for it: The guy created some of the choreography for the pop star’s HIStory tour in the ’90s. Gibson has jammed with Lady Gaga, Danity Kane and Jordin Sparks, while Michaels has danced with the likes of Madonna, Prince and Celine Dion. Landon’s impressive credits include work with Janet Jackson, Ricky Martin and Abdul. And Slaughter is just plain ridiculous: Aguilera, J. Lo, Mariah Carey, Spice Girls, Leona Lewis, Cher and more.
Check it all out on Sunday at 9 p.m. when the VMAs get an unforgettable jolt from this all-star Michael Jackson tribute.
Watch the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards Preshow this Sunday, September 13, at 8 p.m. ET, followed by the big event, live at 9 p.m. Check out our interactive map of New York to see how the city is celebrating the VMAs all week long, and stay tuned for party coverage, concert reports, behind-the-scenes updates and more.