Stealing the spotlight from one of the world’s biggest pop superstars is no easy task. Yet when Mark Kanemura is bending, twisting and contorting behind Lady Gaga, you can’t help but stare—at him. His movement is magnetic and his edgy look is completely captivating.
The Hawaii native first gained national fame as a finalist on “So You Think You Can Dance” Season 4. Though he flew under the radar in the early weeks, Mark and partner Chelsie Hightower became top contenders after performing a Tabitha and Napoleon D’umo lyrical hip-hop routine to “Bleeding Love.” Mark’s convincing emotion and raw talent gained attention from both judges and audiences, and he remained in the competition until the Top 6.
After he toured with “SYTYCD,” Mark’s career took off almost immediately. He danced in Lil’ Mama’s “Truly in Love” video, followed by a 2009 MTV Video Music Awards performance with Lady Gaga. Now, Mark is a familiar face on the Gaga scene. He was a dancer on her Monster’s Ball tour and appears in her videos for “Telephone,” “Alejandro,” “Born This Way” and “Judas.” He’s featured in Janet Jackson’s “Make Me” music video, has performed with Katy Perry and was a lead dancer in the “Britney/Brittany” episode of “Glee.” Mark also returned to the “SYTYCD” stage as an All Star during Season 7.
Read on for The Dirt from Mark!
What did you want to be when you were a teen?
A dancer! I would dream of dancing with Janet Jackson and Madonna. Waking up was the worst!
Performer you would drop everything to go see:
Prince! That man and his music are something else...
Most-played song on your iPod:
It’s a tie: “Heavy Metal Lover” by Lady Gaga and “Rolling in the Deep” by Adele. YUM!
What’s your biggest guilty pleasure? Watching “Toddlers & Tiaras.” It’s brilliant, twisted, hilarious and sparkly.
If you weren’t a dancer, what would you be?
Hmmm... Maybe a geisha, maybe a zoologist, maybe a pirate? So many fun things to be.
One thing you can’t live without:
SWEETS!!!!!!!!... and green tea... and my iPod... OK, that’s three...but they are equally important.
Favorite city in the world:
Honolulu. There’s no place like home.
Favorite dancer of all time:
I have two (sorry, I’m not following directions): Desmond Richardson (sigh) and Wade
Robson (double sigh).
What are your pet peeves?
Inconsiderate people, clutter and crayons that lose their sharpness.
Dance-wise, do you have any bad habits?
When I first started dancing, I used to pretend I was feeling sick to get out of ballet. I later realized how important ballet is.