Every time Beyoncé walks out onto a stage, the universe lurches (or maybe that's just me falling over, because I literally cannot handle her). At the MTV Video Music Awards, Bey was presented with the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award, which commends the work of artists with groundbreaking music videos. (She's joining the ranks of such visionaries as David Bowie and Madonna.) We all know that the video component to Beyoncé's 2013 self-titled album was nothing short of brilliant. It's great to see the entire scope of her artistry get the recognition it deserves.
That said, a live Beyoncé performance is the pretty much the greatest thing ever, and the VMAs were no exception. It wasn't her most dance-y show (though we spotted Les Twins, and her other dancers certainly didn't disappoint)—it was more about her ability to radiate raw, pop-diva power while still coming across as a humble person. Check out all her flawlessness below.
Nadine "Hi-Hat" Ruffin's resumé reads like a rundown of Hollywood's hottest talent (Rihanna, Justin Bieber, Shakira, Missy Elliott and Ke$ha, to name a few), and you'll find her name in the credits of just about every major dance flick. Now, she's received an MTV VMA Best Choreography nomination for her work on the music video for Rihanna's hit "Where Have You Been." (Tune in on September 6 to see if she takes home the award!) We caught up with Hi-Hat to learn what it's like being at the top of the industry.
Dance Spirit: What's Rihanna like as a dancer?
Hi-Hat: Rihanna is Barbadian and I'm Jamaican, so we both understand the Caribbean vibe, and that gives us the connection we need for her dance moves. She picks up choreography pretty quickly, and through experience, I can predetermine what will work on her body and what won't.
DS: Who is your favorite artist you've worked with?
HH: All of the artists I've worked with have unique qualities, so I consider them all to be favorites. But one in particular is Missy Elliott. Missy is a trendsetter and an innovator who has kept me on my toes throughout my career!
DS: What advice do you have for dancers hoping to break into music video choreography?
HH: Remember that there are many ways to advertise your skills. Social media is a great source, and dance studios often look for choreographers to teach. Build your skills by continually creating routines. Be great at it, be original and most of all, stay passionate.
DS: What do you look for when hiring dancers?
HH: Personality, edge, groove, uniqueness and a love of dance.
DS: What's next for you?
HH: I'm blessed to be working on Rihanna's 2012 MTV VMA performance and other upcoming shows. I'm also working on projects for Shakira and "The Voice" Season 3.
Want more Hi-Hat? Check out this awesome behind-the-scenes video from the making of "Where Have You Been."
Photo by Michael Higgins.