Teen Dancer Wins World Tap Dancing Championships Performing Michael Jackson’s Working Day And Night

Sources: IWCP | Edited By All Things Michael

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Kai Scanlan, 11, Jamie Billings, 14, Spencer Darlaston-Jones, 14,took part in the competition in Riesa with dance company Tap Attack last week.

THE Island’s answer to Billy Elliott has returned from an international competition as a world tap dancing champion.

Spencer Darlaston-Jones, 14, of River View, Whippingham, put on a gold medal winning performance at the World Tap Dancing Championships, held in Reisa, Germany, on December 5.

He won the junior formation event alongside 23 other young dancers, part of the Tap Attack dance group, based in Swindon, representing England.

They danced to Michael Jackson’s Working Day and Night to win first prize, beating off competition from second placed Germany and the Czech Republic, who came third.

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Spencer’s triumph was watched on live stream by his family, including proud mum and dad, Suzanne and Spencer senior, as well as his eight-year-old brother, Sebastian, last Friday.

Spencer attends the Red Roofs School for the Performing Arts, based in Maidenhead, Berkshire. The former pupil of Christ the King College, Newport, learned to dance from his mum, Suzanne, who runs the Suzanne School of Dance, East Cowes.

He has already had a small part in the TV detective series, Endeavour, based on the life of the young Inspector Morse.

He has also appeared on stage at the Mayflower Theatre, Southampton.

Suzanne said: “He loves to dance and I think it is something he wants to pursue. This is another step along the way.”

 

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11 Questions With ‘Motown The Musical’s’ Youngest Star

Sources: Kare11 – By Sara Pelissero| All Things Michael

Meet "The Michaels" Leon Outlaw Jr. (left), Reed L. Shannon (right)

Meet “The Michaels” Leon Outlaw Jr. (left), Reed L. Shannon (right)

MINNEAPOLIS – A new musical opens in Minneapolis next week that will take the audience back through some of the greatest hits to ever top the music charts. “Motown the Musical” is the story of Motown founder Berry Gordy’s journey from a boxer to a legendary music mogul, who helped launch the careers of Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Marvin Gaye and more.

On Tuesday, the show opens at the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis. But before the stage is lit, we had a chance to chat with one of the production’s youngest stars.

Reed LoRenzo Shannon was trained at NC Theatre Conservatory and has performed in shows like, “In the Heights,” “Oliver!” and recently received rave reviews as Gavroche in “Les Miserable.”

In “Motown the Musical,” Shannon plays young versions of Michael Jackson, Berry Gordy and Stevie Wonder.

Here’s 11 questions with Reed.

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1. What is your name? What grade are you in?

Reed LoRenzo Shannon, 8th grade

2. What do you like about the audiences?

Meeting so many new people after shows and putting smiles on people’s faces when I am performing.

3. How do you prepare for your role as Young Berry/Stevie/Michael each night?

Before each performance, I sit and think about everything going on in the world, so when I get on stage I am focused, and I get my rest and eat right.

4. How familiar were you with the Motown hits performed in this show before being cast?

I knew all the songs before I came into the cast, because my parents played Motown songs 24/7!

5. What’s your favorite song in the show to perform?

“I’ll Be There” by The Jackson 5

6. What was the last song you downloaded or listened to?

Bo$$ by Fifth Harmony

7. How old were you when you knew you wanted to be a performer?

I was 4 years old when I knew I wanted to perform.

8. You have a number of talents that are showcased in this production. Do you have any hidden talents?

Instagramming, being a comedian, a photographer, and a soon to be YouTuber (making YouTube videos).

9. Have you been to Minnesota before?

No, it will be my first time when Motown comes to town!

10. Are you ready for the cold?

Absolutely not, I am a Tar Heel and from the South, where the sky is blue all the time!

11. If you had to give just one reason why people in Minneapolis should come see this show, what would you say?

Motown shares the history of our lives in America, and everybody is smiling when they leave the show.

“Motown the Musical” runs from Dec. 16 to Dec. 28 at Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis. Tickets ($49-$134) are on sale now. Click here for more information or to purchase tickets.

 

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6-Year-Old Dances To Michael Jackson’s Smooth Criminal And Brings The House Down

Sources: Huffington Post – By Avery Stone | All Things Michael

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This boy is smooth.

Six-year-old Willie Osborn decided to channel Michael Jackson during an elementary school talent show. Dancing to Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal,” his performance — and his outfit — were spot-on.

The video was uploaded to YouTube Wednesday, but it isn’t the first time Willie’s wowed crowds with his dancing. He previously made headlines with “Smooth Criminal” when he performed the routine — complete with backup dancers — at a talent show in Indiana.

 

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6-Year-Old ‘Mini Michael Jackson’ Dances On Great Wall

Sources: GB Times | All Things Michael

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A six-year-old Michael Jackson fan has become the latest internet sensation by showing dance moves worthy of the King of Pop on the Great Wall of China.

Little Yu Tian Yang is making waves with a video where he mixes the styles of Jackson and American dance sensation Marquese Scott.

(see full clip here)

Tian Yang who has been dancing ever since he turned two years old has already performed on countless TV shows and won several dance competitions.

The boy who’s been dubbed China’s miniature Michael Jackson loves mimicking the singer’s famous moves.

Tian Yang’s impressive skills even won him a chance to perform at the Michael Jackson 56th birthday anniversary held in Beijing on August 29. Watch the video below to see his tribute to the star.

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Kids From The Actors Studio Academy Stage A ‘Musical Mad-ley’

Sources: The Star – By Terence Toh| Showbiz | Edited By – All Things Michael

A bunch of talented kids sing showtunes from WickedMoulin Rouge, and other popular theatre musicals. 

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Take a group of talented children. Teach them to sing a bunch of toe-tapping, finger-snapping, head-bobbing, mind-blowing, musical showtunes. And add in a wacky story and some crazy choreography.

What do you get? A Musical Mad-Ley, a musical extravaganza performed by The Actors Studio Academy Speech and Drama 2014 students.

Featuring classic tunes from musicals such as The Sound Of Music, Wicked, Matilda and Chicago, with a little bit of Michael Jackson thrown in, the production is out to show that big talent can often be found in small packages.

“Every year, The Actors Studio does a year-end production,” says Mark Beau de Silva, The Actors Studio Academy facilitator. “But this time, we decided to be a bit more ambitious and challenge ourselves and do a musical. It’s the in thing with kids nowadays, so we wanted to impart those sort of skills to them.”

Musical Mad-Ley is written by de Silva, with choreography by Lex Lakshman, and is directed by The Actors Studio Academy facilitators, some of whom also act in the show.

The musical takes place in an average Malaysian school, whose students are excited and ready for the end of year production. Nut calamity breaks out after the principal Puan Lakshmana (played by Lex Lakshman) goes missing, and a replacement from the RTD (Replacement Teachers Department) is called in.

Appalled by the “loose” discipline and the cheery excitement of the students, the substitute Cik Binasa Raksa (de Silva) wants a change, and change she does! From excitable young performers, the students are turned into uniform wearing zombies that sing to The Sound Of Music.

Can a rebellious band of senior students, aided by the awkward Cik Omarama (Omar Ali) manage to save the school, and shine like the stars they were meant to be?

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Musical Mad-Ley will feature 11 songs, performed by over 100 child performers aged from 7–18, both past and present Academy students. According to de Silva, the Academy had brought in the services of the Young Choral Academy to help them with vocal training.

Highlights of the show, he adds, include a rendition of Sparkling Diamonds from the movie Moulin Rouge, performed by students in cheerleader uniforms, as well as a Michael Jackson performance by the 10–12 age group.

“The highlight will be Michael Jackson’s Thriller and Beat It,” says Khayma Balakrishnan, the academy’s assistant teacher, who explains that the songs will be adaptations and the older musical tunes will be spiced up with additional dance breaks.

“The Wicked routine is also very nice, as it features students who have been with us for three years already. So their choreography is a bit more advanced,” says de Silva, who had to modify some of the more mature musical songs to ensure they were child-friendly.

Facilitator Omar Ali adds, one of the delights of Musical Mad-ley is watching the children enjoying themselves with the performing arts. “Working with kids is fascinating, and these kids are great. They’re really into it, and enjoying themselves, and it’s wonderful to see. You can see how much personality they have at such a young age, they’re full of character, even at a young age, and they bring it to the stage.”

Playing one of the teachers is Camillea Roxanne Benjamin, 15, who described her character Teacher Camillea as having a “very unpopular, nerdy, and awkward kind of personality”. The young student says she had greatly enjoyed being part of the Musical Mad-Ley experience.

“I enjoyed every single moment of it. Just to be able to see the show progress so much is just a blessing. The people and the teachers here are really enjoyable so this whole experience is just amazing. I love it here,” says Benjamin. “I love the teachers here as they have been so patient with us. I don’t know how they do it because we are so noisy and we annoy the teachers a lot. It’s great!”

> Musical Mad-Ley! runs Nov 15 (3pm) and Nov 16 (11am) at KLPac Pentas 2 in Sentul  Park, Jalan Strachan (off Jalan Ipoh), KL. Tickets are RM33. For details, visit klpac.org or call 03-40479000.

 

Kids Page: My Celebrity Dinner Date

Sources: NJ.com | Edited By – All Things Michael

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Some kids were asked to name a famous person they would eat dinner with. Michael was listed as a favorite as well as others.  The kids gave some very funny and very impressive answers.

If I could have dinner with one famous person dead or alive, it would be Michael Jackson. I chose this person because I like his music. 
Russell Hyland 
Franklin Township School
Grade 2

I would have dinner with Michael Jackson because he was a good musician. He was good at making songs and dancing. 
Kelsey Thompson
Spruce Run School
Grade 1

Of course I would want to have dinner with a famous person, that famous person would be Michael Jackson. I chose Michael Jackson because he made a song I thought I would never hear. And that song is Scream. And he made cool dance moves that I can’t do or other people can’t do.

Next we would go to an awesome restaurant. The food there would be so awesome everything would taste like tater tots. The place would be so beautiful it would look like a beautiful waterfall. Lastly we would have so much fun. We would dance, laugh and sing together. Finally I would sing with Michael Jackson and have fun with a famous person.
Ava Mcdougall
Round Valley School
Grade 6

Other mentionables:

If I could have dinner with any famous person it would be me! No just kidding it would be The President of the United States of America, Yep! That’s who, I could look all around the White House, I would like to play bowling. We would have pancakes for dinner and cake for dessert. I would stay all night. 
Madilyn Thompson
Franklin Township School
Grade 3

I would like to have dinner with Helen Keller! She grew up in the early 1900’s, blind and deaf. Helen Keller learned how to read, type, and even speak. She helped so many people who were blind learn how to live a normal life. It would be great to sit down to dinner to meet such a unique person!
Rachel Meza
Copper Hill School
Grade 4

Jack the Pumpkin King because he’s skinny and needs to eat. 
Sophia Roman
Spruce Run School
Kindergarten

I want to have dinner with President Lincoln because he is very important. He stopped our country from splitting in half. 
Erin McCool
Spruce Run School
Grade 1

If I could have one famous person have dinner with me, it would be Leonardo DaVinci. He would teach me about the ancient scientist ways I would also like to learn to make astronomically incredible gadgets. I would like to learn from this master. I wonder if he was as mysterious as the Mona Lisa!. 
Bennett Fog
Copper Hill School
Grade 4

I would have dinner with Jeff Foxworthy. Jeff Foxworthy is one of my favorite comedians, and I know that dinner with him would probably consist of some kind of wild game. I think that Jeff Foxworthy is as funny as a squirrel falling out of a tree, and I like the fact that he is an outdoorsman also. Not only does he hunt, but he has a hunting show on TV, and can sustain a good food source by hunting. That is why I would like to have dinner with Jeff Foxworthy.
Austin Tarby
Franklin Township School
Grade 8

I would like to have dinner with Walt Disney! I would ask him if he rode any rides at Disney World. I would tell him that I love Disney World and thank him for making it!
Leah Ciarlante
Patrick McGaheran School
Grade 2

The person I would have dinner with would be George Washington. I want to meet George Washington because I want to know how he fought in the Revolutionary War and crossed the Delaware River. He made it possible so the USA would be free from England.
Ian Grenda
Patrick McGaheran School
Grade 2

If I could pick anyone in the world that I would have dinner with it would be the creator of Legos. The reasons why are because ever since I was a child I have been in love with Legos and I thought they were really fun to build. Another reason is that I think it would be really nice to get to know him. Also, he could help fix some of my Legos. I wish I could have dinner with him just once.
Sean Agaronin
Patrick McGaheran School
Grade 3

 

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Talent Show Video Helps Teen Land The Role Of Michael Jackson

Sources: MY San Antonio – By Jeff B Flynn | Edited By – All Things Michael

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While his classmates are busy picking out Halloween costumes, Nathaniel Cullors is busy slipping into his costumes. But his garments aren’t for a holiday — they are for Broadway.

Nathaniel, 13, an eighth-grader at Kitty Hawk Middle School, is starring in the Broadway production of “Motown the Musical,” where he plays roles as young Barry Gordy, young Stevie Wonder and young Michael Jackson.

Nathaniel landed the role after a pair of auditions earlier this year. His mother, Fredrecia Cullors, found out that “Motown” was holding auditions.

Nathaniel has been in commercials before, and even had a role in a movie, “The Red Cape.” His mother inquired about parts in the “Motown” production through the talent agency that handles Nathaniel’s appearances.

“They said, ‘You can send a video in,’ so I sent in Nathaniel’s sixth-grade talent show video, ‘Who’s Loving You,’ by the Jackson Five,” Cullors said. “In literally seven minutes, the agent called back. He had the casting director for ‘Motown’ on the other line, and he wanted to know if we could come to New York.”

In February, the day after Super Bowl XLVIII, Nathaniel arrived in New York City and was one of four boys to sing for Barry Gordy and his creative team.

“They were looking for people for the tour, the traveling show … unfortunately, they only picked one,” his mother said. “They said they really liked him, and would keep him on file.”

In April, Nathaniel was invited to take part in the four-day Michael Jackson Boys Camp in Chicago. “It was like another audition; four boys, and they taught them choreography, they went over the songs, and one day was strictly voice lessons.

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“When we were leaving, they were offering him a one-day contract, in New York City. He was the top replacement for either the tour or New York,” she said. “Then, in May, they called and said they wanted him to come to New York.”

June 25 was his first performance. Motown is staged at the 1,501-seat Lunt Fontanne Theateron West 46th Street in the Theater District. The show runs through Jan. 18.

“Who’s Loving You” is Nathaniel’s favorite song to perform. “It’s the moment where Michael Jackson had his audition, and it reminds me of when I was auditioning, in that little auditioning room for all those people.”

He first hit the stage as young Barry Gordy, a moment he said he’ll never forget.

“There’s a number right before the scene I have to go out for. They take their bows after their number, and as soon as they hit the downbeat for that, my stomach just kind of dropped. I was like, ‘Uh-oh,’ but all I can remember is how confident I was,” he said.

There are eight “Motown The Musical” performances each week, but child labor laws keep his participation to two nights each week and a Sunday matinee. He is tutored, as are his brother,Demetrius 16, a junior at Judson High School, and his sister, Steffanie, 8, a student at Rolling Meadows Elementary.

He and his parents, Demetrius and Fredrecia Cullors, and the family live in New Jersey and take the bus into NYC each day for rehearsals and shows.

Being on stage takes a lot of getting used to, but Nathaniel said he’s had no problems making the adjustment.

“I like to see the audience. I get nervous when I don’t see them,” he said. “The light hits you, so you can see the first two rows, but behind that, it’s darkness.

 

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Viral “Dirty Dancing” Kid Got His Start From Watching Michael Jackson Short Films

Sources: Digital Spy – By Liam Martin | Edited By – All Things Michael

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A young Dirty Dancing fan has racked up millions of views on Facebook.

Lainie Kristina has posted a video of her son Charlie imitating Patrick Swayze during the film’s final dance routine.

The video has already got close to 4 million views in the week since it was posted.

Lainie told Buzzfeed that she took her 8-year-old son to see the film in Knoxville, and he has watched it 10-12 times at home since.

“He loves to dance and cannot sit when he is watching a music video or anything with dancing in it,” the boy’s mother continued.

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“He immediately gets up and starts copying all of the moves.

“It started when he was 3 and Michael Jackson died and he started watching his videos.”

Charlie can also be seen recreating Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ in video above available on YouTube.

It looks like he’s having the time of his life…

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