We need to take a moment to pay tribute to the legendary singer and performer Prince, who passed away at his Minnesota home this morning. A musical icon for more than three decades, Prince won seven Grammys throughout his career; his album "Purple Rain" alone sold 10 million copies.
But it's Prince's contribution to dance, and his support of dancers, that we'll never forget. He's inspired countless artists and continuously contributed to careers by featuring dancers on his tours.
He also wasn't too shabby a dancer himself:
Prince was a huge fan of ballet, in particular. After seeing The Joffrey Ballet perform, he agreed to let the company use his songs free of charge for Billboards, which premiered in 1993. Four choreographers—Laura Dean, Charles Moulton, Margo Sappington and Peter Pucci—celebrated his groundbreaking music, and the resulting fusion of rock and classical dance became a huge mainstream hit.
The Joffrey Ballet performing Billboards (photo via Dangerous Minds)
In more recent years, he became known for his collaborations with muse Misty Copeland. In 2009, he personally called her to ask if she would dance in his "Crimson and Clover" music video and later, he invited her to perform with him on his Welcome 2 America tour. Copeland describes their relationship in her memoir Life in Motion, and remembers watching him onstage, completely in awe. "He was kinetic and yet totally in control," she says. "And his fans were as passionate for him as he was for them. It was the type of artistry and connection with the audience that I sought to emulate in my own career."
Photo Kevin Mazur/NPG Records 2010/WireImage
Check out the video below to see Copeland talk about just how much Prince affected her career as a dancer.
RIP, Prince. You'll be missed.