How to become a backup dancer for lady gaga

Lady Gaga tour secrets: Inside the 'greatest moments' with her dancer

Everyone knows what to expect from a music concert. The lights go down, the audience erupts into a chorus of applause and the idolised superstar arrives on stage, bursting with energy, ready to entertain the throng of their adoring fans for one night only.

It’s pretty spectacular.

But, ever wondered what happens once the curtains close and the lights go up? Are there diva tantrums? Catty fights between dancers? Tour riders demanding vitamin water to bathe pet dogs? Yes Mariah, we might be looking at you for that one, girl.

If you have, you’ve come to the right place as will give you an all-access, backstage look into what it really takes to make the tours of your favourite popstars come to life, while also reminiscing on some unique moments that made headline news.

Touring is not only an experience for the performer and the fans – the backing dancers, singers, stylists and others are also very much a part of the process and, perhaps more importantly, the backbone of these mammoth shows.

So grab your backstage pass as we get the inside scoop from Lady Gaga’s backing dancer Asiel Hardison because, in this case, What Happens On Tour (Doesn’t) Stay On Tour…

Lady Gaga might just be one of the hardest-working popstars in the business – and, as it turns out, she might also be one of the most loyal too, according to a longtime backing dancer.

Asiel, pictured, says Gaga is like a ‘sister’ to him (Picture: Getty Images)

Gaga was hoping that tall dancer – me – would be there

Asiel Hardison has shared the stage with Lady Gaga since 2009 – yep, a whole 10 years – appearing on most of the singer’s major tours, including Born This Way, Monster’s Ball, Joanne and Artpop.

Whether you’ve had the pleasure of witnessing Lady Gaga’s tours in person or second hand from fan videos, you’ll know that the singer’s shows are some of the most well-produced in the business.

And bagging a spot in her dance troupe is no easy feat.

Asiel told exclusively of how he met this aspiring young artist who would go on to become a superstar: ‘In 2009 I got a call from my agent to audition for this new artist – Lady Gaga – for a performance on So You Think You Can Dance. Went to the audition, booked the job, then started rehearsals right away that same day.

‘At the [time] she only toured with two girls, but a month or two later she had auditions for her tour where she would open up for New Kids On The Block using all male dancers.’

It turns out that Asiel had already caught Gaga’s eye as she singled him out.

‘I went to that audition as well and later found out from Gaga that she “was hoping that tall dancer – me – would be there”,’ he revealed.

Ooh, lucky guy.

‘There were about 80 dancers at this audition, then 20, then 10, and finally four guys were booked for this and I was one of them.’

Gaga was actually fond of Asiel from the get-go and played somewhat of a trick on him during the later stages of the audition process.

He continued: ‘Once it got down to 10 guys they had us all in one room and had us go through the choreography four at a time, and switching out guys each time to see which look they were going for.

‘I never got switched out which means I danced that combo at least 10 times at that point.

She’s a loyal boss and really great sister

‘I later found out from Gaga that the reason for that was because they were looking to match guys off of me. I had no clue that I had basically already booked the job.’

Asiel didn’t take the opportunity to tour with Gaga lightly and explains that he was ‘fighting for [his] life’ in that audition room.

He explained: ‘My muscles and brain was exhausted. I remember turning around after each round and praying to Jesus cause i was so tired but i really wanted to go on this tour.

‘I’m so glad I fought for that because that one month turned into 10 years and me working with one some of the most creative teams I’ve ever experienced.’

However, the glitz and glam of touring with Gaga ‘comes at a price’ apparently.

Asiel explained: ‘It’s a lot of fun living your dreams on huge stages all over the world and on television for folks to see and be inspired by it.

‘And it also comes with a price and that price is hard work. Extreme dedication and passion as well. To be apart of something that appears glamorous means that there is a lot of hard working individuals behind the scenes.’

We’ve seen the many faces of Gaga from meat dresses to eggs, but what’s the pop superstar really like behind-the-scenes?

More: Lady Gaga

‘She’s a really hard worker, a really creative being, and a loyal boss,’ Asiel reveals.

‘We experienced a lot of career milestones for the first time together. She’s also a really great sister who I’ve shared some of the greatest moments of my life with around the world.’

She sounds like a keeper.

Go beyond the stage with What Happens On Tour every Wednesday.

If you've got a celebrity story, video or pictures get in touch with the entertainment team by emailing us [email protected], calling 020 3615 2145 or by visiting our Submit Stuff page - we'd love to hear from you.

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How a Former Backup Dancer for Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus and Jennifer Lopez Recovered from a Mental Breakdown

Healthy Living

Spoiler: through dance.

Guthrie King

Hello, my name is Yusuf Nasir, and I’m crazy. At least, that’s one of the many colorful things people like to say about me behind my back. And we all know it’s not what you think about yourself that counts, it’s what others that could care less about you think about you.

I prefer this description:

Hello, my name is Yusuf Nasir. I am an independent director, choreographer and dance educator. I recently made the transition from professional dancer to further my creative endeavors. Currently, after tireless planning and hard work, my first original, full length dance production, titled “The Shout” will make its world debut at the historic El-Portal Theater in North Hollywood, California, September 22-25. (For L.A. locals, find tickets here. )

My show, amongst its sub-themes, is about mental health. Yes, it’s autobiographical, and who doesn’t like hearing a story about a seemingly normal person going batsh*t crazy? Lord knows I did—until it happened to me.

At what I presumed to be a pinnacle moment in my career, I had what most refer to as a “breakdown” (though the clinical term is “brief psychotic disorder.”)

I rarely discuss this openly. Although it makes for a great dance production, it doesn’t make for great casual conversation. Even the thought of the incident brings an immense amount of shame, guilt and anger, which stirred me towards telling my PR agent — who suggested I write this —“hells to the no.” But after a recent run in with a cast member from the tour who said, “Yusuf, a lot of people don’t make it out of that,” I decided this was well worth a share, regardless of how painful it may be. So here's my story:

February 14th, 2014, Vancouver – British Columbia. Opening night of the tour:I was feverishly pacing my hotel room. The day had arrived. Opening night of what very well was the biggest job of my dance career to date, and not because I was dancing for an A-list pop artist. I wasn’t nervous, nor was I excited, just anxiety-ridden. How could this be? Why am I not happy? I asked myself. Why am not jumping through the roof? Why do I want to jump off the roof, literally!? I was living the dream, on a World Tour, that thing so many dancers move to L.A. to achieve but fall short of accomplishing. Yet I was miserable, and had been for quite some time. My king-size headache wasn’t helping either. My career was always on a seesaw. It isn’t easy trying to be a professional dancer or choreographer when you look like Michael Strahan. People tend to not believe in you, but I proved otherwise. I was proud of my accomplishments — until that night. The internal questions kept coming. Why am I chronically uncomfortable and irritated around the other dancers? Am I here because of talent or am I just filling a position? The experience was turning from dream to nightmare.

I sat cemented on the stairs in front of the hotel, cigarette barely clasped between my fingers. Looking at everyone’s faces before boarding the bus to the arena, I was reminded of the dream I had two days before where I saw my cast mates as demonic caricatures who were laughing and taunting me. This furthered my belief they were all against me. I also was immediately reminded of the conversation I had with my choreographer the night before, where I asked him if I was in a minstrel show. Astonished and bewildered that I asked, he swiftly said no, yet the question prompted critical thought and dialogue between us.

Despite my best efforts, I still felt my work environment was and never had been healthy for me. My feelings were so strong, I went to my tour director and creative team and quit hours before opening night. Given that a dancer’s place is to sweat and follow directions, I’ll leave it up to your imagination how much of a ruckus that caused. Deplorable words were exchanged. The last thing I remember said to me was “maybe Hollywood isn’t for you.” Despite everything that had been said, I still had to perform. All I could do was cry. That was the only way I could convey my sadness, disappointment, anger, and utter frustration but as I’ve always been told, and as directed in that moment, I had to “stop crying, man up, and make this money.”

The show began.

I knew something was wrong right from the start, but I knew I couldn’t sit out. I had to finish the show. I had created too much chaos. Given the pain I felt, how I didn’t collapse on stage was a miracle. By time the third act was ready to begin, my mind temporarily checked out. Although I remember bits and pieces…

As to why I left the hospital approximately twelve hours after I was admitted, I have no idea.

As to how I wasn’t ran over running the streets of Downtown Vancouver before I was found wandering around the U.S. Embassy before the police escorted me back to the hospital, I have no idea.

I was involuntarily held for several days for observation and treatment.

During my hospital stay, the belief that I was in danger began to subside. This was first evident once I was brought back to the hospital by the police. Then the assistant tour manager arrived, scared shitless. I had thought he left me. I thought everyone left me. But that wasn’t true. I was filled in on the hours following my admission to the hospital and it was hard to hear. Luckily, after extensive testing, there were no brain abnormalities discovered. But my electrolytes, magnesium, potassium and iron were depleted. I was beyond the point of dehydration. My liver and kidneys were not functioning properly. My body was eating itself due to lack of nutrients. Not surprising, given I hadn’t eaten in three days. I didn’t want to be the “fat” one on stage.

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Once released, I was flown back home. I couldn’t bear to read the story my discharge papers told. I was officially terminated from the tour. Roughly a month later, I was informed by my agency that my contract would not be renewed. I spent five to six months out of work. I tried to seek consoling and support wherever I could but explaining what had happened to me was too difficult at the time. To add insult to injury, during my recovery the rumors and disparaging remarks within the L.A. dance industry began. I don’t even have the stomach, almost three years later, to repeat what was said about me through the few friends that supported me after the incident. Severely depressed, 50 pounds overweight and unable to function, I left the country for four months. For three of those months, I toured China dancing for Spankie Valentine, an up-and-coming American recording artist, and backpacked Europe for one. I eventually came back to the States and regrouped, however I knew what had transpired would affect my life and career permanently in some way, shape or form. How do I combat this? How do I scrub this tarnish off myself?

Through performance.

I never knew the power of art until now. It’s very easy to play the victim card and stress over the little things in life. When something major happens, real self-assessment occurs. This assessment is what sparked the idea for The Shout. It is not only a homage to—hands down—the worst thing to ever happen to me, but it also allowed me to turn my daily life experiences and observations into a compelling theatrical experience. Moreover, the show would serve as my therapy, my means of coping with an event that I’m sure someone reading has experienced or knows someone who has, and just doesn’t know what to say or what to do. When in doubt, I say put it into your art or anything positive you’re passionate about and never be afraid to seek help and support. It works!

“The worst thing to call someone is crazy. It’s dismissive. I don’t understand this person, so they’re crazy.”

Dave Chapelle always knows just what to say.

Yusuf Nasir is a dancer and choreographer living in LA who has danced for stars such as Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga and Jennifer Lopez. His show, The Shout, opens on September 22.

Lady Gaga's Rules for Success - Shock!

Stefani Germanotta, better known as Lady Gaga, knows exactly how to become famous. Some of Lady Gaga's success rules may seem as outrageous as all of the singer's work.

The multi-Grammy and MTV Video Music Award winning pop singer began collaborating with jazz singer Tony Bennett in 2014 and revealed herself as a sensitive, subtle musician.

Lady Gaga performing at the 2018 Grammy Opening Ceremony

1 Be yourself

I've always felt famous, actually my first album (The Fame 2008) was about that. Glory must come from within you, not be acquired. I like the idea that I myself determine the degree of my popularity and attractiveness.

That's why I'm so vigilant and constantly watching my image and music. And I will not allow, no matter how popular I am, to dictate to the public what to do or what is considered beautiful, or what is considered a hit. nine0003

2 Seek inspiration

I am an artist, I have my own vision. There is a general idea of ​​a beautiful woman who sings songs about love, and that you can do what most people already know. But it doesn't inspire me.

Not only do I like what is around us now or the future of music, technology, fashion - I think about my fans and try to imagine what they would like to experience. I see that they like to go beyond this reality for a moment. nine0003

It may sound shocking, but I really enjoy making your surreal fantasies come true.

Hugh Laurie's life story

3 Think ahead

Lady Gaga on the red carpet at the 2018 Grammy Awards

Someone once asked me, or even many times, what I think is important for an artist . I said that the most important thing, even more important than discipline and talent, is to have a perspective. So if you constantly change what you do based on what other people say, you completely lose yourself. nine0010 And in fact, you become something unsteady, instead of being an independent person.

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4 Develop Your Skills

Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett

I have been working with Tony Bennett and Elton John and his husband David for several years, they are some of my closest friends. They just showed me that I'm still a child in my art. I need to continue to do a lot of music and develop. nine0003

Read more about Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett's album - 4 albums: jazz and pop culture become a star.

You can just learn to play an instrument sitting in your room, practice a lot, write songs and poems. And then you go outside, go to the bar around the corner and meet the same musicians. You can meet and talk about music, compose songs. Then you perform right there on the corner, you will have one fan, and then another, and so on and on. This is how you become famous. nine0003

5 Work hard

Lady Gaga and Metallica in concert

I think applause has to be earned and it's pretty hard. You have to be very disciplined and rehearse a lot. But this is the most exciting and sure way to earn the love of the public. Everything I do has been achieved through a lot of rehearsals. It's a kind of passion.

6 Be Independent

I was incredibly lucky to be one of those early school children in America. Therefore, I graduated from it at the age of 17. And although the school was wonderful, it still looked like a factory, and not Andy Warhol's factory. Rather, to the sausage shop, where everyone was taught the same way and they wanted us to be the same, but I had something else inside. nine0003

Jazz in the art of writers and directors

And then my parents, or rather my father, my mother cried, he said: “We give you a year, if you can feed yourself, then live alone. But for me it was not a problem, I was already working at the age of 15, because I love independence, it gives you the opportunity to do what you want. And after school I worked in 3 places, my father paid the rent of the apartment for 3 months, and when they expired, I began to pay myself. And it was great, it was a release. nine0003

7 Give up the excess

When you are famous, it becomes harder for you to express yourself, you constantly feel pressure. But the most important thing is that all this hype should be left at the door. I have a couple tricks. I don't read the press, I don't watch TV. My mother calls me and asks "Have you heard?" And I don't want to know anything, I need to get rid of this noise in order to be alone with my thoughts.

8 Find a balance

Lady Gaga with her parents

I just now realized how important family and friends are, of course, a career takes a big place in life, but this is no more important than maintaining relationships with your grandmother and father, knowing how things are Mom. nine0009 I have learned to find balance in my life.

9 Trust your team

How can I control my ego? I understand the importance of the contribution of each person with whom I work. And I want them to feel that we're doing this together, that they're putting in as much as I do. They are my family and my inspiration. I remember this every second and try to be better.

10 Be provocative

My day starts by sitting at my computer in the morning, researching materials, I have a special list with links, and then I call Gaga's House. I argue with them all day. I try to convey what I want, and they answer me, "You can't do it." I tell them, “Yes, I can bleed on TV if I want to.” nine0009 For me, being provocative is not only about getting attention, but about embodying something that really touches people.

All my actions serve the "Monster of Glory" and are designed to make it easier for the public to consume all this mass of information that surrounds them in our terrible world of media.

Adapted translation by Velimira Antropova
Lady Gaga’s Top 10 Rules For Business and Success by Evan Carmichael

Recommended: Jazz albums by "non-jazz" musicians

Lady Gaga and her hats

  • BLOG - All about fashion and hats.

February 5, 2018

Lady Gaga and her passion for hats

It is believed that a girl needs to grow up to a hat, but in this case, everything happened quite the opposite.

A young go-go dancer, Stephanie Germanotta, broke through all the thorns of show business, showed remarkable perseverance, knew a really hungry life, before becoming known to us as Lady Gaga. Lady Gaga is a young lady who appears on stage in the form of a freak from the fantasies of the most unthinkable outrageous, in fact, a very stylish young lady, 100% exploiting her vocal and external abilities. nine0003

And what can we say about her appearance, hand on heart? She is slender, tall and easy to pass at the Miss America auditions? No. Height 155 cm, weight - 45 kg. Even her amazing and powerful vocals will not give a ticket to the top of the world musical Olympus, where people love not only with their ears, but also with their eyes. How can you use the usual appearance of an Italian girl from a poor suburb? And here Stefani Germanotta showed remarkable abilities of artistic embodiment.

In a fantastically elegant way, she combined the style and roundness of the 60s, with their knee-length skirts, jackets and high hairstyles, with impudence in clothes. She repeated what only one of her predecessors managed to do before her - the great Edith Piaf, also very short and by no means model forms. nine0003

And we're not going to talk about all the accessories that Lady Gaga was able to "sew" her stage appearance, but let's see what role hats play in this. Both Piaf and Gaga have not grown up to hats. They both adapted their hats to suit themselves.

Now, have you ever wondered why Lewis Carroll, who wrote his "Alice in Wonderland" for a little girl very close to him, of all the possible characters with which he could surround her, chose the Hatter? This was the name given to hat makers in England in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The answer does not immediately come to mind, because today this evidence is lost. And then it was taken for granted that the hat is an absolute element of clothing, without which the image of the true Lady and his little Alice cannot be considered complete, the author came up with a companion and interlocutor, namely the Hatter. nine0003

We don't know with what incredible flair Stephanie caught that she can be called Lady on the stage only by matching her appearance and hats.

And let's see how it goes for her:

- in 2006 she retired from dancing in downtown clubs.

- in 2007, he began to collaborate with a young performance artist Lady Starlight and they tried to combine songs and costumes on stage into one whole to the rhythms of the 70s;

- in 2008 Stefani releases her first full album; nine0003

- explains in an interview in 2009 that "I write songs to match my dresses and hats";

- in 2009 he recorded and listened to a full course of seminars from the famous hatmaker Philip Tracy.

And in the same year she finally decided on her stage image and irrevocably became Lady Gaga.

Today her name has become synonymous with non-conformism in music and ultra-creative model design. At the same time, the hat, whatever it may be, always serves as the completion of her actions on stage. Stephanie has already shown everyone how to wear hats in the form of a sun, or a telephone receiver, long furry horns, or an alien helmet. nine0003

She demonstrates every time that the headdress of a singer, actress and woman can be anything, but, what is important, it must correspond to her inner image and the role in which she performs in her costume. On her part, this is just an amazing projection of the old rules of Lewis Carroll's Victorian England onto our world of simplistic habits, fast pace and no conventions.

But, she's Stephanie Germanotta, and she's a Lady.

The singer has her own hat maker, a craftswoman, a friend who works with her year after year.

Learn more