How to become a backup dancer for beyonce

What It Takes to Dance for Beyoncé, According to Her Choreographer

  • JaQuel Knight has been doing choreography for Beyoncé for years.
  • Knight landed his breakthrough gig at 18 years old for Beyoncé's iconic video "Single Ladies."
  • His most recent collaboration with her at Coachella left people speechless.
  • We spoke with Knight about how he got into dancing and what it takes to be her backup dancer.
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Following is a transcript of the video.

Narrator: JaQuel Knight is the creative mind behind many of Beyoncé's iconic performances. He's worked with her for years and he's been dancing his entire life.

Knight: I remember dancing in my grandmother's living room. And then when I was 16, I started my own dance group with my best friend in Atlanta. So that was kinda the first serious step towards choreography and creative direction.

Narrator: At just 18, JaQuel landed a gig choreographing one of the best videos of all time, "Single Ladies." Years later, JaQuel reveals what it takes to be a backup dancer for Beyoncé.

Knight: To work for B as a dancer, it takes everything, you know. She's a southern girl, you know, who's worked very hard to get where she is. So she wants people to do the same. She wanna know that you want it really bad. She wanna see your heart, your passion, your drive. And then, you know, you gotta be able to jam. How greasy can you get? How can you hit it hard? Then there's also the side of her that's looking for the technical element. You know, are you trained? Do you have any ballet training? Do you have any jazz training? How are your lines? You know, so there's a few things that go into the process.

And once we start to audition things, you know, we look for everything. We teach them hip-hop number, we teach them a super difficult technical number, we teach them the classic Beyoncé number, you know. And then besides that, you know, you gotta be able to carry the stage, you know, with her. You gotta be able to stand next to her and be just as good, you know. And sometimes people are ready, sometimes they're not. You can be a great dancer, but it may not come through when you get on stage. You may kind of pull into a shell, don't know who to look at. So she's looking for stars. Star dancers, who have magic. That can bring it, you know, and pull other people in, always.

Working with B during the rehearsal process is like, it's kind of an out of body experience, ya know. People don't understand the amount of effort her work ethic is out of this world. And it's never just one thing. When we're creating choreography, it's okay, boom. Where's the wardrobe at? You know, bring them in so they can see what the choreography is. Okay boom. Where are we on this stage? You know, let's make sure lighting knows how to light this, boom. Where are the cameras? Okay, let's look at this camera and then do this.

You know, we're always thinking of every single piece of the puzzle. But you know, at the end of the day, we send her pictures, we send her videos. She's watching people in rehearsal like who's that? Okay, that's so and so that we talked about. She's like okay, she's good. You know, she's looking at everything at every moment, you know. So she's like heavily involved.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This video was originally published in July 2018.

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"The New Beyoncé": How Normani Became the Voice of the Younger Generation

Normani's 23-year-old duet with Sam Smith, Dancing with a Stranger, became the most popular song on radio stations around the world this year. How a 'Regular Girl from the South' Succeeded and Became One of the Forbes Top 30 Music Talents Under 30

Weeks before the annual Video Music Awards in August, Normani, the 23-year-old would-be superstar, received a call from MTV and offered to perform a new song in front of TV viewers throughout the country. The singer jumped at an incredible opportunity, although there was a significant problem: the recording of the new single Motivation was already completed, but there was no video clip for the song yet, not to mention the dance moves to perform on stage. Rehearsals began, which resulted in two days of filming and dozens of takes. Moreover, all this still had to be combined with the schedule of performances as the opening act on the tour of Ariana Grande. Normani managed to do everything and released a video clip in the style of 1990s in pastel colors and backing dancers in crop tops, which, together with the energetic movements of the performer, evoke memories of a young Beyoncé. However, a significant evening at the sports complex in New Jersey did not go quite according to plan.

Two months later, Normani recalls: “I didn't hear anything at all. The music was intermittent right in the middle of the performance, so I had to somehow get out.”

The 15,000 spectators who gathered at the ceremony did not even notice the technical difficulties, and the performances of the speakers made the guests of the event, including such stars from the VIP box as Lizzo, Halsey and Taylor Swift, jump up and dance. “I want to repeat it. Everything went so fast!” - Normani admits smiling broadly.

If the performer manages to achieve her goals, then she will be invited to perform an encore more than once or twice. In a couple of years after the dissolution of Fifth Harmony, in which Normani was the vocalist, the songs of the pop diva were listened to 3 billion times, which exceeds the number of plays in the same period by superstars like Adele and Jay-Z. Added to this are constant comparisons to Beyoncé, who began her career in the 1990s as a member of the R&B group Destiny's Child and is considered by many today to be the Queen of Pop.

“I'm very flattered that people see such potential in me,” says the young singer. “But most of all I want to be Normani.”

Her most recent achievement is being named to the new Forbes Top 30 Music Talent Under 30. In addition to Normani, it included Bruno Mars and rapper Wiz Khalifa. The former Fifth Harmony member's place on the list was secured by a panel of judges who were on the list from previous years, including electronic duo The Chainsmokers, rapper 21 Savage, music manager Adriana Ars and songwriter Mikaela "Miki" Shiloh.

“Normani is not just a girl with a beautiful voice and looks who can make a show out of a song,” explains Shiloh, songwriter for Janet Jackson, Pitbull, Britney Spears and many others. “Intelligence, energy on stage and huge talent are rarely combined in one person.”

It seems to some that Normani suddenly woke up famous, in fact, she went to this for almost 10 years. Normani Corday Hamilton was born in Atlanta and raised in New Orleans. As the girl herself says, she was "very influenced by live instrumental music." After Hurricane Katrina in 2009her family moved to Houston. There, the girl began to professionally engage in gymnastics and dancing (tap, ballet and jazz). A little later, she moved into music and, as a teenager, ended up casting for the 2012 X Factor talent show.

Although Normani didn't qualify as a solo performer, producer Simon Cowell signed her to his record label Syco, along with four other members of the project, including Camila Cabello, who made last year's rating, and Lauren Jauregui. So the band Fifth Harmony was born. The musical group released three albums that hit the Billboard 200 charts, and the composition Work from Home reached the fourth line of the single chart. Even though the band was earning more than $200,000 million in a single concert (which only a few members of the current rating can do), Normani wanted more.

The singer notes: “I like the idea that I can do even better. As soon as everything suddenly suits me, I start to get nervous. When it gets too comfortable, that's the moment of failure."

  • Esportsmen, financiers, rappers: Forbes unveils new 30 under 30 rating indefinite period for the sake of participating in solo projects. After that, Normani decided to take a risk, as only a few of the novice performers risk, and hired a certain Brandon Silverstein as a personal manager. The 25-year-old young man then had absolutely no experience in managing the affairs of popular musicians. His firm S10 Entertainment had only one client, and the only success in the world of music was the organization of a festival on a farm near his native Indiana University. The event featured world-famous DJs from Avicii to Tiësto and sold over 100,000 tickets.

    The young manager offered the performer something that experienced veterans of the industry could not offer. S10 is an agency partner of Roc Nation, which is owned by Jay-Z. This, in turn, gave Normani a chance to connect with celebrity professional agents like Jay Brown, one of the founders of the label, who was responsible for the activities and creativity of Rihanna in her early years.

    Through her acquaintance, Normani became an ambassador for Rihanna's SAVAGE X FENTY lingerie brand.

    As a solo artist, Normani has performed at various festivals such as Lollapalooza and has released several top ten singles as a duet with other musicians, notably Love Lies with Khalid. Dancing with a Stranger duet with Sam Smith became the most played song on radio stations around the world this year.

    Silverstein has made it into the rankings too, and since he started working with Normani, he's had rising stars like Anitta, the Brazilian diva, and Buzzy, the singer-songwriter from Michigan. The artist manager explains: “There are performers who are immediately clear that they are real stars - you can hear it on the radio, you can see it in their performances and in person. Normani is just one of those.

    The girl is determined to prove it with her first full length album, slated for release early next year via Sony's Keep Cool/RCA Records. With her debut album, the singer will try to inspire fans in the same way that her favorite performers inspired her in their time: “I remember how, as a little girl, I watched the performances of my favorite singers, young black women, and today I am in their place. I hope that I will be able to inspire a new generation and convey to them an important message: what I do, they can do it too. I'm just like them, an ordinary girl from the South who ran after her dream."

    Translation by Anton Bundin

    The highest paid singers in the world - 2019. Forbes rating

    10 photos

    Beyonce (Beyonce): Biography of the singer - Salve Music

    Beyonce is a successful American singer who performs her songs in the R&B genre. According to music critics, the American singer has made a significant contribution to the development of R&B culture.

    Her songs exploded on local music charts. Every album released has been a reason to win a Grammy.

    Beyonce (Beyonce): Biography of the singer

    How was Beyonce's childhood and youth?

    The future star was born on September 4, 1981 in Houston. It is known that the girl's parents were creative personalities. My father, for example, was a professional recording artist, and my mother was a very famous designer. By the way, it was Tina (Beyonce's mother) who sewed the first stage costumes for her daughter.

    From early childhood the girl was interested in music. She was very interested in musical instruments. Beyonce often stayed at her father's recording studio, where she had the opportunity to listen to various compositions. The future singer had absolute pitch. The girl could easily repeat the melody on the piano that she heard on the radio.

    When Beyoncé entered 1st grade, she won The Sammy Award for being a very gifted child. It is also known that the parents of the future star took her to various competitions. During the years of schooling, she won about 30 different victories. Such hardening in childhood allowed her not to give up in the face of difficulties and always be the first.

    For more than two years she was one of the principal choir members of the St. John's United Methodist Church. The girl performed a lot in front of the public. The audience was in love with Beyoncé's angelic voice. Participation in the choir and public performances benefited the girl herself. Now she was not afraid to go on the big stage.

    Beyoncé's musical career

    Beyoncé grew up but continued to attend various auditions in the hope of being noticed. And once she managed to stay in a good project.

    Beyoncé was invited to be one of the dancers of the Girl's Tyme team. She gladly accepted this invitation. The founders of the team recruited dancers. The purpose of creating the team was to participate in the Star Search show.

    Despite the fact that the group included talented and strong dancers, the group failed to prove itself. Their performance turned out to be a real "failure". But such a bitter experience "did not discourage" the singer from continuing to develop herself.

    After an unsuccessful performance, their team was reduced from six to four people. The dance group was now called Destiny's Child, he was a backup dancer for popular music groups.

    In 1997 fortune smiled on the dance group. He signed a contract with the famous studio Columbia Records.

    Destiny's Child's first album

    The founders of the recording studio saw potential in young girls, so they decided to give them a chance. A year later, the debut album of young performers Destiny's Child was released.

    The listeners greeted the debut album coolly. The only track that aroused interest among music lovers was Killing Time, which the musical group recorded specifically for the film Men in Black.

    It is also known that the song No, No, No was nominated for several awards at once for the development of the R&B genre.

    The Writing's on the Wall is the band's second record. Music critics noted that the disc was released with a circulation of 8 million copies.

    Bills, Bills, Bills and Jumpin' Jumpin' became the top songs of this collection. These songs made the members of the group mega-popular. The above tracks received one Grammy Award each.

    Because of the success in the team there was a misunderstanding. Each of the participants saw the creativity and development of the group in their own way. As a result, the group changed its line-up, but Beyoncé decided to stay in the group.

    In fact, it was on this performer that the team traveled, so her departure could be a real shock and “failure” for the musical group.

    Between 2001 and 2004 three records were released: Survivor (2001), 8 Days of Christmas and Destiny Fulfilled. However, if the listeners and fans literally bought up the first album from the shelves, then they did not take the second and third very warmly. And music critics did harshly condemn the work of the musical group.

    Decision on a solo career Beyonce

    Thus, in 2001, Beyoncé decided to start a solo career. By the way, a talented girl tried herself as a solo singer before.

    It is known that she recorded a lot of soundtracks for films. By the way, at the end of 2000, she tried herself as an artist. True, she got a minor role.

    In 2003, the solo career of the singer began. She decided to call her debut album Dangerously in Love. The disc went 4x platinum. And the tracks that were included in the album topped the Billboard hit parade chart. For the release of the first album, the performer became the owner of five Grammy statuettes.

    Beyoncé later shared, “I didn't think the beginning of my solo career would be so successful. And if I could have known that such popularity would fall on me, I would have tried to do everything so that my career would start “alone”.

    Works with famous artists

    The track Crazy in Love, which was recorded together with a famous rapper, held a leading position in local American charts for more than two months.

    The second album was released in 2006. The album B'Day received one Grammy statuette, and the track Beautiful Liar became the brightest musical composition.

    Famous Shakira took part in the recording of this track. The audience positively assessed the joint work of the performers.

    A little more time passed, and the singer released a new album I Am… Sasha Fierce. She admitted that the record and writing the tracks were very hard for her. In parallel with the recording of this disc, she participated in the filming of the film Cadillac Records.

    Beyonce delighted her viewers with visual aesthetics. Her concerts are a real pleasure for music lovers. The performer used original costumes, professional dancers attended the back-up dance.

    She is not afraid to experiment with light, putting on a real show. By the way, Beyoncé is an ardent opponent of the phonogram. “For me, this is a huge rarity,” said the star.

    Music critics noted that the triumph of the performer fell on the 52nd Grammy Awards - out of 10 categories, Beyoncé received 6. Following the awards, the performer released a novelty Lemonade.

    In addition to being a real world-class star, Beyoncé is also a successful businesswoman.

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