At last week's annual talent show, the students of Pitman High School in Turlock, CA, were blown away by their classmate's smooth, MJ-inspired moves. Dancing to Jackson's "Billie Jean," Nichols showed off what he'd been perfecting for the last ten years: an uncanny impression of Michael Jackson's signature dance style.
How did he get so darn good at it? One word: YouTube. Nichols has spent countless hours watching old MJ clips and polishing his moves. You know, moves like...
...the super fast spin around on two feet......the iconic, ahem, crotch grab pelvic thrust...
...the mysterious hat dip...
...and of course, the moonwalk. Naturally, with moves like these, Nichols won his school's talent show. But the infamy didn't end there. A clip of highlights from the show (which mainly focused on Nichols' performance) is now a viral YouTube video—it received almost 3 million views in the first two days! The internet hype (and various news shows including "The Today Show") is absolutely blowing up over this kid.
With all the Jackson fever going around the past couple of weeks, we have to say this just might be our favorite. Sure, tributes from famous people, somewhat creepy holograms, posthumous albums...they're all great. But a regular kid with a passion to preserve MJ's dance legacy? Now that's a tribute. Check it out (he starts dancing around 1:11):
(From left) Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland (all photos by Erin Baiano)
Dance Spirit's 2019 Cover Model Search finalists: Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland! One of them will win a spot on Dance Spirit's Fall 2019 cover. Learn more about the dancers on their profile pages, and then vote for your favorite below. You can vote once a day now through July 15.
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Imagine attending American Ballet Theatre's prestigious NYC summer intensive, training among classical ballet legends. Imagine taking the stage at New York City Dance Alliance Nationals, competing against some of the country's best contemporary dancers. Now, imagine doing both—at the same time.
Welcome to Madison Brown's world. This summer, she's in her third year as a National Training Scholar with ABT, while also competing for NYCDA's Teen Outstanding Dancer title. (She's already won Outstanding Dancer in the Mini and Junior categories.) The logistics are complicated—ABT's five-week intensive overlaps with the weeklong NYCDA Nationals, which translates to a lot of cabs back and forth across Manhattan—but Maddie is committed to making the most of each opportunity. "I love contemporary and ballet equally," she says. "While I'm able to do both, I want to do as much as I can."
Maddie has an expressive face, endless extensions, and a quiet command of the stage. She dances with remarkable maturity—a trait noted by none other than Jennifer Lopez, one of the judges on NBC's "World of Dance," on which Maddie competed in Season 2. Although Maddie didn't take home the show's top prize, she was proud to be the youngest remaining soloist when she was eliminated, and saw the whole experience as an opportunity to grow. After all, she's just getting started. Oh, that's right—did we mention Maddie's only 14?
There's a story Kate Walker, director of dance at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas, TX, loves to tell about Emma Sutherland, who just graduated from the program. "We were watching the students run a really long, challenging piece," Walker recalls. "Several kids couldn't quite make it through. But Emma did make it all the way to the end, which is when she walked up to us faculty and very politely asked, 'May I please go throw up?' "