Hinds College Hosts Michael Jackson Forever Dance Tribute

Sources: Jackson Free Press | All Things Michael

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In Michael Jackson Forever! Michael’s Artistry and spirit are expressed through the vibrant energy of Montage Theatre of Dance dancers and performers, underscored by vivid choreography from many genres of dance.

Michael Jackson FOREVER! Is a heartfelt tribute to the work innovative spirit, history, and legacy of Michael Jackson- the King of Pop. Ensuring we are all forever Michael Jackson.

Synopsis

The Show’s plot is centered around four fans who set out on a journey into Michael  Jackson’s world and music. By journey’s end, they embody and personify Jackson’s genius, vision, heart, and soul. These values are represented with his hat, sunglasses, white gloves, socks, and shoes.

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Tickets: 601-857-3266 in Brooks Hall
Advanced Tickets: $5 for Students & Seniors: $7 Gen. Admission
At the Door: $7 for Students & Seniors: $10 Gen.
No Late Admission
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Note: Tonight’s performance has been cancelled.

 

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Make That Change: The Music of Michael Jackson

Sources: MLive  – By Eric Lacy| All Things Michael

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DETROIT, MI — The Mosaic Youth Theatre’s first-ever tribute to Michael Jackson will take next month at The Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts.

The spring concert series called “Make that Change: The Music of Michael Jackson” will have shows on the following dates: 10 a.m. March 6, 8 p.m. March 7 and 4 p.m. March 8.

Mosaic Youth Theatre founder and artistic director Rick Sperling said in a press release the concert is “an amazing opportunity to see the range of talents Mosaic’s young artists possess.”

“Our young artists master challenging traditional choral selections and immediately transition to iconic Michael Jackson songs with full choreography,” Sperling said. “It’s a true showcase of their immense talent, and we are thrilled to present this to the region.”

“Make that Change” will open with a choral rendition of Jackson’s hit song “Human Nature”, and will fuse classical choral selections.

The second act, according to the press release, will be “full-out, Jackson-themed performances” with singing and choreography to hits like “Off the Wall,” “Thriller” and “Beat It.” Each show is expected to have performances of 27 songs.

Tickets for the performances are $24 for general admission and $16 for students and seniors with valid ID. Priority reserved seating is available for $32 per ticket. Children under five are not admitted.

The Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts is located at 350 Madison St. in Detroit. For more information visit musichall.org or mosaicdetroit.org.

 

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Dance Night Is Not to Be Missed

Sources: Philly.com  – By Kevin Riordan | All Things Michael

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After an hour of rocking the dance floor, Penny Warn takes a break.

“I think people with disabilities have more fun than regular people,” she says, as about 120 developmentally disabled men and women party like it’s not a frigid Thursday evening in February.

Inside Paris Caterers in Berlin Township, the heat is on. Fist-bumps, high-fives, and funky floor moves are the rule. And the hits keep on thumping, thanks to “DJ Dave” Michaels.

“It’s a fun night,” says Robin Rowand, 32, of Pittsgrove. Adds her mother, Susan: “If there was a blizzard, Robin would have to be here. . . . There’s nothing else she’d rather be doing.”

Nine times a year, the Camden County Division of Programming for People With Disabilities holds the dinner-dances. The county offers dozens of other programs for the population, including therapeutic horseback riding, bingo, and arts and crafts.

Statewide, public or private agencies generally provide such programs, says Tom Baffuto, executive director of ARC of New Jersey, adding there are about 200,000 developmentally disabled adults in the state.

“The dances are a wonderful opportunity for them to get together with their peers and have a good time,” says Camden County division director Karen Weidner, who lives in Oaklyn. “Who doesn’t like to dance?”

Rowand and Warn, who’s 51 and has her own apartment in Clementon, are longtime regulars. So are many other partygoers, who arrive with carpooling parents or staff from group homes.

“Because of programs like this, my daughter [Kim] has friends,” says Ronnie Coll, a retired waitress from Lindenwold.

“I’ve wanted my son Shawn to have his own life, separate from me,” says Atco resident Dorothy Smith, noting that Shawn is attending the dance with his girlfriend.

The crowd includes people in their 20s, 30s, 40s, and beyond. One fellow sports a tux, another, a dark suit with a tie and pocket square that match his shoes.

Lots of dancers are in red, in honor of the Valentine theme.

Dinner (salad, chicken Parmesan, ice cream with chocolate sauce) is served halfway through the evening, followed by more dancing.

“It’s a way for these adults to socialize like everybody else,” says Michelle Cappello, who coordinates the dances with Judi Franchi.

Like Warn, who has a part-time job at ShopRite, some of the partygoers work and live independently. Others need assistance with simple tasks.

Some dancers twirl, or even leap, with balletic grace, while others take to the floor with rolling walkers.

“I’m having a ball!” a woman in a wheelchair exclaims.

“It’s like a family party, or a wedding reception,” says Michaels, 53, of Washington Township.

He’s been deejaying the dances for years and hands out glow-in-the-dark party favors, such as maracas, to help get things started.

“They love the Electric Slide and all the line dances,” says Michaels, who’s beloved by the crowd.

Oldies, disco, pop . . . the dancers like them all. And Michael Jackson, he says, “is still king.”

“When Michael Jackson died, I cried,” Laura Kline, 32, of Glassboro, tells me.

“We were into Michael Jackson together,” adds her friend Laura Bobco, 32, of Collingswood.

A sequence of Jackson tunes, including “Bad” and “Thriller” fills the floor.

The pure joy of people getting their groove on with friends is palpable. Seems as if everyone in the room is dancing and lip-synching.

“They dance like no one’s watching them,” says Marie Singletary, of Waterford, a businesswoman who brings her older brother to the event.

“They make you smile.”

And when Michaels cues up Pharrell Williams’ megahit “Happy,” I know exactly what she means.

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The Day I Sang On Stage With Michael Jackson

Sources: Young Germany – By Alex Handcock (Published June 26, 2009) | All Things Michael

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On July 11, 1992, Young Germany editor Alex Handcock was picked as one of several children to sing “Heal the World” on stage with Michael Jackson in Cologne. With Jackson’s untimely death, he remembers the day he took to stage with the King of Pop.

The anticipation had been building all week. Our teacher had told us we were going to Cologne to sing at a Michael Jackson concert. Our class talked of nothing else – we were going to sing “Heal the World” with the King of Pop.

Our school – the main English language primary school in the Bonn area – had been chosen as it was a melting pot of different nationalities. We had embassy kids and children whose parents worked for international organizations and multinationals from over the world. Our class was like a United Colors of Benetton ad, so we fit the bill perfectly for the make-the-world-a-better-place message in the “Heal the World” song we were to sing.

I sat on the coach on the way to Cologne as the class sang the “Heal the World” song again and again. I remember not knowing the words. I hadn’t really paid much attention to music up until that point in my life. I was 11 years old and associated music with pesky recorder lessons. Michael Jackson was someone I was only vaguely familiar with. But, by the time we arrived, I knew most of the song.

“Heal The World, Make It A Better Place, For You And For Me, And The Entire Human Race.”

Arriving at the stadium

I spotted the Müngersdorfer Stadium in the distance. The bus was now inching along, carving its way through thousands of fans wandering across the road. Some had big banners. Others were dressed like their idol. And everywhere street vendors were hawking their memorabilia. I gaped out of the window and attempted to process what was going on.

When we pulled up into the backstage area, a hectic-looking man clutching a walkie-talkie greeted our teacher and signaled for us to follow. We snaked through corridors and up stairs, before arriving at a room. There, we were to wait.

When would we meet Michael?

We were in a spacious backstage room. It had several tables, each with piles and piles of chocolate bars. It was an 11-year-old’s dream. We set about attacking the food. I can not remember how much chocolate I ate that day, but such was the impression the chocolate extravaganza made on me, that even today, I can remember thinking that it was a shame we had to leave so much behind.

After what seemed like an eternity the door opened. We were all disappointed. It was not Michael, but instead a business-like lady who explained that we could not all go on stage to sing the song. They would select a dozen or so children and the rest could watch the concert.

“Is there anyone who would prefer to just watch the concert?”

Silence.

So we lined up; and in the cruel fashion we were already familiar with from playground sports, the lady proceeded to pick out the kids she wanted.

“The others were in floods of tears,” my classmate Sarah Jewer recalled.

Getting changed for the concert

Luckily for me, I was one of those chosen and was led away to the dressing room along with the others. There I was informed that I was to represent an American kid and was handed my “American outfit”. I quickly squeezed into my blue jeans, t-shirt and baseball cap attire and nervously looked around at my classmates who were sporting similarly clichéd looks.

When we finally walked out of the room and scurried across a stretch of tarmac towards the back of the stage, I was struck by how big everything seemed. That was small wonder as the Dangerous Tour had equipment weighing over 100 tons. Two Boeing 747 jets and multiple lorries had been required to transport this gear to the venue. Added to that, the sound of the music – even from behind the stage – was deafening. I began to understand what having butterflies in your stomach really meant.

Spotting Michael Jackson

I walked up the stairs with my classmates where we waited in an area to the right of the stage. The roar of the 65,000 sell-out crowd was incredible. We must have arrived in between songs, because suddenly, around 20 meters away, I spotted the man we had all been hoping to meet. Michael Jackson was there standing in the wings talking to what looked to be Macaulay Culkin, the actor from Home Alone. I bounced up and down along with my classmates, pointing and screaming stuff no one could hear over the music anyway.

When Michael Jackson was back on stage, I concentrated on remembering the instructions I had been told. Looking back, it wasn’t rocket science. At the time it required the utmost concentration: “Hold hands with designated partner. Move onto stage. Look forward and not at Michael, smile, and ‘sing’.”

Before I knew it, my classmate was tugging at my hand and we moved out onto the stage. I gazed out at the sea of faces and promptly forgot I was meant to be singing, or mouthing the words. Standing on stage in front of 65,000 people was intimidating to say the least.

My classmate Sarah, just two people removed from Jackson, recalled: “The crowd was mesmerising. Just so many people and so many lights.”

We moved clockwise around a huge inflatable globe; I ignored the “don’t look at Michael” instructions and turned my neck to try and catch a glimpse of the King of Pop. But I was on the wrong side of inflatable Earth to see him properly. My memories are of brief fleeting glimpses. Before I knew it, the song was over and I stumbled off stage glancing back to see the superstar.

We were whisked away, given a T-shirt and headed home. My classmate, who had been holding hands with Jackson, was the center of attention. She ran through a blow by blow account of her experience and pledged never to wash her hand again. I was jealous and exhausted. I fell asleep on the bus, wearing an oversized Dangerous Tour T-shirt.

 

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Kobe Bryant Talks About Retiring, His Mentor Michael Jackson And Upcoming Documentary

Source: The Hollywood Reporter – By Marisa Guthrie| All Things Michael

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A version of this story first appeared in the Feb. 27 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

The L.A. Lakers’ Kobe Bryant has been contemplating life after basketball since he was 22. Now that he’s 36, out due to injury and close to retirement, he says he’ll play one more season and finish his two-year contract, which will net him $25 million. But his recent experience as the subject and executive producer of the intimate doc Kobe Bryant’s Muse — produced by Gotham Chopra (Deepak‘s son) and airing Feb. 28 on Showtime — has opened up the possibility of a career behind the lens. “There are so many other stories to be told,” he says, adding that he’d like to profile Phil Jackson and Apple designer Jonathan Ive.

Chopra began filming Bryant more than a year ago, before Bryant suffered a devastating Achilles injury — and the film chronicles his recovery efforts. But it also finds him at a crossroads in his life and questioning some of the choices he’s made, including putting so much time and energy into basketball at the expense of the relationships in his life. Bryant sat for nearly 20 interviews with Chopra. The result is a surprisingly revealing introspective film about an NBA star who has been under the microscope almost since the day he entered the NBA straight from high school in 1996. “It was 100 percent therapeutic,” says Bryant. “The goal from the beginning was to make a truthful film.”

You were very candid about the dark periods in your life. Was that difficult?

BRYANT It was very difficult. But there’s beauty in that process.

You were arrested in 2003 on sexual assault charges, but the case was dropped. How difficult was that to revisit?

BRYANT Those were dark days for all of us. We all kind of dreaded that day.

Gotham, what were your conversations with Kobe like before you interviewed him?

CHOPRA We didn’t talk beforehand because we didn’t want it to feel scripted. It had to feel raw and honest. It was not easy for him. It was not easy for us because you feel like you’re prying into someone’s most personal stuff. But his willingness to go there just made it feel like, now we’re doing something special.

You said in the film that you regretted working so hard because it took you away from your family and other relationships. When did you start feeling that way?

BRYANT Probably during my second year [in the NBA]. It takes more time to keep those relationships going. I was just really obsessive about becoming one of the all-time greats. I just loved playing the game so much that everything took a back seat. But I had to make a choice. Once I made that decision, the game became everything to me.

Do you regret that?

BRYANT It depends on what day you ask me. Certain days, when things are going really well, I feel like I have everything. But on days where things are not as good, I question that.

Some of your NBA peers have dabbled in acting. Do you have any interest in a career in front of the camera?

BRYANT No, I don’t enjoy being in films. It makes me uncomfortable.

You went to the NBA directly from high school. What was it like to be thrust into this grown-up world and suddenly making a very grown-up salary? 

BRYANT It’s really hard, especially for a 17-year-old. You’re having all this money thrown at you, all this attention thrown at you. And there are a lot of leeches. It teaches you a lot about focus. What are you focused on? What are you trying to accomplish? All right, let’s weed out everything else that gets in the way of that. But at 20 years old, I was dealing with a lot. It was crazy.

You have never worked with Gotham before, but I understand you had a mutual friend.

BRYANT Yeah. He knew Michael [Jackson] very well. And Michael is one of my mentors. When I was 18, he introduced me to his muses. I had never seen a Fred Astaire film.

You watched Fred Astaire movies with him?

BRYANT Yeah, I wanted to know how he sold 50 million albums, so he walked me through how he prepares, how he trains, how he writes, how he studies.

What was the most important lesson you learned from Michael Jackson?

BRYANT That everything is connected. Whether you’re a writer, an actor, a singer, a composer or an athlete, the common thread is there. Everything around us is an opportunity to be inspired.

 

 

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An Open Letter to Artists, Present And Future

Sources: Huffington Post – By T-Boz and Chilli of TLC | All Things Michael

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Thank you to everyone for supporting us in these first weeks after announcing our final album. So many of you have stepped forward to share your warm memories of TLC, your support and your enthusiasm for this milestone in TLC history, and for that, we thank you.

As we listen and read the support of our fellow artists, our musical family, we see that something is happening in music, a world we all love so much. Were we given the opportunity to travel back in time, we would start laying the foundation for this change much earlier on for we believe that nothing but good can come of what’s happening.

We are at a place in time when fellow artists can raise one another up and sponsor one another into an age of creative freedom. And in the future ahead, what we have to look forward to, as a community, is a new wave of creative expression.

Now, this is not a unique idea, no. We have seen fruitful partnerships and mentorships in music for generations; examples of artists taking chances for fellow artists in order to watch them grow.

Let’s take a step back and remember Motown, that honest and catchy time that still continues to raise us all. Motown’s greatest gift to the music community was Smokey Robinson, a man who made us all free to dance and sing like never before. What we must remember about Smokey is that he took it upon himself to channel his creative energy into the success of his fellow artists like The Supremes, The Temptations, Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder.

And who could forget the example set by Paul McCartney and the Beatles. For two long years, Paul and the Beatles honed their skills in the clubs of Hamburg, West Germany. Often playing for hours and hours straight in a foreign country. Like the days of the Renaissance, the hard work they put in changed the cultural and aesthetic life of men and women for the better. The music they created continues to inspire thousands of artists, across genres, around the world. They are a key reference point — an influence that pop artists around the globe have in common.

We all must admit that Michael Jackson changed everything. As the first black superstar on MTV, Michael was an example for any young black person who ever thought, “I’m gonna be a star.” And then there was Michael’s incredible collaboration with Lionel Richie, Tina Turner, Stevie Wonder, Bette Midler, Bruce Springsteen Diana Ross, and dozens of other legendary musicians on “We Are The World,” the charity single that raised millions of dollars for Africa. “We Are The World” was powerful and inspirational, in part because it was a selfless collaboration between artists who were doing just fine on their own. Make no mistake, it proved that amazing things happen when artists collaborate.

Now Prince, he knows what we are talking about. Prince’s success speaks for itself. Ten platinum albums. Thirty Top 40 singles. 7 Grammy awards. But Prince knew full well that no one gets to the top without a helping hand. He was generous with his success, and staked his reputation in artists he believed in. He promoted and supported artists like Vanity 6, Sheila E, the Time, and a multitude of others. With this, His Royal Badness set an example for us all.

Of course, we will never forget what M.C Hammer has done for the music community and for us personally. This man is a machine on the stage as well as an angel at heart. He has given so many dancers a chance to live out their dream. Taking the time to mentor anyone who’d listen, including us, TLC. We will always be so grateful for everything he has done.

In the 1990’s and early 2000’s we saw Missy Elliot leading by example, showing the music community that we must invest in one another with the education we can provide and the knowledge we’ve served to gain. Missy has done an amazing job of mentoring young artists. Aayliah, Tweet, Monica, Mya and Jennifer Hudson are just a few greats that she championed, that she supported.

Just look at someone like Mark Ronson. Mark reached number 1 on the billboard charts this month with “Uptown Funk,” a bumping song featuring Bruno Mars that combines the best of the new with the best of the old. Mark understands what makes music timeless. He’s collaborated with artists as diverse as Bruno Mars, Ghostface, Jack White, and Duran Duran. No matter who he’s working with, Mark clearly understands the beauty of collaboration. He understands the beauty of one artist supporting another.

And recently: Pharrell, you blow us away with the model you provide for the music community. Your work with Frank Ocean, with Kendrick Lamar and so many others makes you look like a young Smokey Robinson. You’re reminding us of the joy that singing and dancing brings. You’re reminding us that this joy is shared by all of us.

These individuals have led us to this point where we are now. These artists have shown us how to nurture each other and protect the integrity of music.

Yes, our last album came out a while ago, but thousands of people raised their voices telling us to come back, that we are not done making music. We both said, “God, allow us to continue making music and we will be happy.” And now we realize that this final album is much more than we originally imagined. We are inspired by our fans to make more work, always. And after the showing of support we’ve seen, we are inspired by our fellow artists to lead and make a path.

____________

Only 48 hours left to show support for TLC’s FINAL album. Check out TLC’s Kickstarter page for more info.

 

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Gymnast Team Wins Gold In Budapest (See Video Of MJ Routine)

Sources: Azer News – By Amina Nazarli | All Things Michael

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The 10th Jubileum Gracia Fair Cup 2015 was held in Budapest, Hungary on February 14-15.

Azerbaijani team including Gulsum Shafizada, Ayshan Bayramova, Narmina Huseynova, Sabina Gummatova, Emilia Bagiyeva, Zeynab Gummatova, Jannat Mammadova, Aliya Pashayeva, junior team – Zuleyha Ismailova, Ilaha Mammadova, Rugiya Sattarovga, Fatima Jafaroova, Darya sorokina and Simara Jafarova took part in the competition.

The national team, for whom the competition was the first one in 2015, successfully participated at the event, taking eight gold medals, one silver and one bronze medal.

Bayramova gained two gold medals in ball and ribbon category and Shafizada took two gold medals in hoop and clubs category. The gymnasts also won silver and bronze medals in the all-around.

The national senior team, who performed with five balls under the song of Michael Jackson gained three gold medals in the all-around. The video with the performance of national gymnasts gained more than 256,800 views on the popular Facebook page of the Rhythmic Gymnastics just in two days. More than 5,000 people “like” this video, while up to 2,000 lovers of gymnastics shared it on their pages.

The team also brought another gold medal for its performance in the final.

The next destination of the national gymnasts is Grand Prix in Moscow and Miss Valentine International Tournament in Estonia.

 

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