On October 27 at 8:30 p.m, just hours before "Michael Jackson's This Is It" opens in theaters, MTV will air a live red-carpet special from the documentary's gala premiere at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles. As guests arrive and stop to chat about the impact of MJ on their own lives, we'll also be bringing you exclusive interviews with the director, choreographer, musicians and dancers who were rehearsing with Jackson during his final days.
"As a dancer, Michael is one of the most amazing improvisational artists I've ever seen in my life," said Misha Hamilton, a backup dancer for MJ's planned London comeback concerts. "He has his vocabulary of movement, but it seems like he's never done the same exact set of things twice."
That sentiment was backed up by Devin Jamieson, a self-described farm boy from Saskatchewan who was selected to be a backup dancer and who counts himself lucky to have seen an inside look at Jackson's meticulous commitment to putting on a stage show like no other. "We got to see the greatest," he explained. "And not only did we get to see him perform, but we got to see the building blocks, we got to see the process behind it and his work ethic. Being led by MJ was so solidifying, to know that you're going to be a part of the best thing the world has ever seen."
As huge a star as Jackson was, however, the performers were struck by his humble nature. "He didn't make a big entourage entrance," Jamieson said. "He wasn't the big superstar that entered the room and was demanding attention or anything."
The dancers are all accomplished artists in their own right, but performing alongside Jackson and taking in his knowledge of techniques like popping, locking and boogaloo changed their conception of what was possible on stage. "Dancing with Michael Jackson, I learned dancing over again," said Dutch-born Timor Steffens. "He is one with the music. If you see him on camera, you think, 'Damn, how does he do that?' If he's next to you performing and you see how he does every move, it's just amazing."
And it was during performances, Hamilton made clear, that Jackson was truly in his element. "You could tell he was just itching to get up and dance," he said of watching MJ during rehearsal downtime. "You could tell he was home [when] he was back on stage."
Don't miss "Michael Jackson's This Is It" Premiere Special, airing on MTV and VH1 on Tuesday, October 27 at 8:30 p.m. ET! "Michael Jackson's This Is It" opens in a limited engagement on October 27 and wide on October 28.
Check out everything we've got on "Michael Jackson's This Is It."