If the music video for Michael Jackson’s Thriller and Gene Kelly’s On the Town were woven together in a magic movie-editing process, the result would resemble DJ Fatboy Slim’s latest video, Wonderful Night. Bay Area rapper Lateef struts around Manhattan’s West Village and Meatpacking District while professional musical theater dancers Christopher Davis and Kenway Kua hitch kick, barrel turn and pirouette at his side until a full moon transforms Lateef into a werewolf and he decides to go clubbing.
It took three all-nighters to shoot the video, and though most of the dance sequences were rehearsed in a studio beforehand, first-time music video choreographer Dan Knechtges says he had to adapt some of the choreography on the spot due to rubble and potholes. A scene involving a shoeshine stand also proved problematic: “We didn’t have the [props] until we got on set, so my assistant and I choreographed that section in ten minutes,” explains Knechtges. “A lot of people find [impromptu choreography] stressful, but I actually find it fun.” Knechtges also admits to a surprisingly strong affection for music video choreography—though he’s not leaving theater, his first love, just yet. You can currently catch Knechtges’ moves onstage in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, playing off-Broadway through this month. For more, secondstagetheatre.com; for more on Wonderful Night, fatboyslim.net.