How to become a 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.
My journey as a dancer for Beyoncé's Homecoming
Photography via Tajana Bunton-Williams
I’ve been training as a dancer for about 15 years now, since I started back in London. I first got the chance to dance with Beyoncé when I successfully auditioned for the Formation World Tour, appearing alongside her at multiple performances ever since. When I got the news she’d be playing Coachella, I knew it would be huge.
I’m a seasoned dancer and train hard for my career, but this was easily some of the most gruelling training I’ve ever been through. For Homecoming, auditions were actually re-opened and long-time dancers weren’t necessarily guaranteed a spot. When I got the confirmation, I started to physically prepare myself for the long run of training, eventually working out around five or six times a week to stay fit.
We were learning under a series of choreographers who have worked with Bey for a long time, so naturally they had very high standards! It was an intense process, and rehearsals would sometimes run up to 16 hours long, mainly as there was immense attention to detail in the choreography, mixing a blend of different styles. As dancers we had to know absolutely everything to keep the performances tight and accommodate for any changes that had to be made – I can’t say it didn’t add any pressure.
“I’m a seasoned dancer and train hard for my career, but this was easily some of the most gruelling training I’ve ever been through. Bey was training with us from morning till night, as well as having close input in every detail”
Our dance group entered into the hundreds, meaning I met so many new faces and people from different walks of life. Despite the large size of the cast, myself and the other performers formed some strong bonds and the energy was incredible. I remember running to the auditorium day after day to watch cast members perform and being blown away each time. There was such a fresh energy around with people gearing up for what might have been the biggest performance of their lives.
What’s even more amazing was working with Beyoncé herself. When she was in the room, we were aware of being in the presence of a legendary performer, and the pressure was slightly on to keep your dancing tight. But it was less about intimidation but more about her work ethic – Bey was training with us from morning till night, as well as having close input in every detail from lighting, to sound, to the cues that would signal us out. I’m still awestruck from working with her during training as it’s amazing to see her insight into her craft.Photography via Tajana Bunton-Williams (centre)
On the night of the show, there were so many little things I had to think about. With any live performance, there’s always a pressure to get it exactly right and live up to what you’ve done in rehearsals, but it can come out differently in front of an audience of over 100,000! At Coachella there wasn’t much time to practice on stage because of the multiple performers and tight schedules, so I was aware of little logistical things that could go wrong. My hat could fall off, I could trip in the six-inch heels, I might not change costume in time and I hadn’t had a chance to practice in my outfit yet.
People often don’t realise the immense technical quality you need to have as a dancer besides just following choreography. I was the first dancer to break out into routine on stage, which meant some of the other dancers had to follow my moves. Not just that, but I had to be exactly on count and not miss a beat, because if I did everyone would notice! The pre-show nerves were something everyone was sharing in a little, but before going out we prayed as a group which always gives us more confidence.
When we finally got out on stage, I couldn’t believe the energy from the crowd. To hear people singing their hearts out and cheering us along was incredibly powerful, and the sound was insanely loud. From what I could see, it looked like a never-ending sea of people just continuing into the distance, and at times it was like the crowd was inside a trance.
“People came off the stage in tears of accomplishment, and I could tell that in that moment some of us were still in awe that we had even been out there”
Onstage, the energy was insane – we were all as vocal as you can see in the documentary, screaming and cheering each other on like in rehearsals. People came off the stage in tears of accomplishment, and I could tell that in that moment some of us were still in awe that we had even been out there.
I got the news that the footage would be going towards a documentary when the trailer came out online; we actually had no idea about usage of the behind-the-scenes footage while filming. When I saw the preview, I was so excited and kept counting down the days until it would finally be out. On the night of release, I held a viewing party at my house with the other dancers, a video of which has now gone viral. The house was packed and so many of us were laughing, crying, and just so excited to see ourselves on screen. Seeing it from the other side and watching myself alongside Beyoncé, everything looked so effortless to the point you can’t even imagine the manic stuff that happens behind the scenes – it’s incredible to think that I was part of that history.
“As a British dancer of Sierra-Leonean heritage, earlier in my career there were many times I’d be the only black girl on the roster, but this time there were so many talented black artists and dancers involved in the creation of the show”
Besides that, so much of Homecoming was important for sentimental reasons. As a British dancer of Sierra-Leonean heritage, earlier in my career there were many times I’d be the only black girl on the roster, but this time there were so many talented black artists and dancers involved in the creation of the show. It’s something I saw mirrored in the crowd too, and I actually think Beyoncé’s performance drew in black audiences that Coachella probably hasn’t seen before. As a British person, I learnt so much about what we were representing with showcasing the black college experience and HBCUs, and I can’t even imagine what it felt like for African Americans to see their culture represented on stage.
Since the release of Homecoming, people have actually recognised me from the documentary and it’s humbling to be met with such responses. The experience was incredibly empowering – for an African girl hailing from Catford, I felt like I’d made it and it was truly one of the highlights of my career. On that stage, I knew we were making history in that moment, and I’m proud to have been a part of it.
Tajana Bunton-Williams was speaking to Christine Ochefu.
Young mother filming explicit dances on video: "I want to become a choreographer for Beyonce!"
Zvezdshou -Businesskartin Day
July 14, 2018 19:39 9000 ]
This shot was taken by Elena's husband: he supports his beloved wife in everything. Photo: SOCIAL NETWORKS
Novosibirsk dancer Elena Yatkina was the subject of the world's attention four years ago, when her twerk video for Major Lazer's "Watch out for this" gathered a huge number of views (now it has already been watched by 170 million!). For those who do not know: twerk is a direction in dance, in the movements of which the buttocks and hips are actively used.
The costumes for which the girls were called strippers were made to order. Photo: SOCIAL NETWORKS
Each video by Yatkina is so erotic, ambiguous and frank that it causes a lot of controversy on the Internet. Why don’t commentators write: “They look like strippers”, “Everything is fine, but a bra could be worn” ...
- Well, if it's so important and everyone is so eager to find out... First, you can zoom in and take a closer look. Secondly, I don’t really care, but yes, we were there without bras. In general, envy is a bad feeling, what can I say, ”Elena Yatkina answers the spiteful critics. - In fact, I don’t answer this: the person expressed his opinion - expert, apparently, since he knows what clothes are suitable for twerk, which ones are not for twerk. This is from a series of couch experts who sit on the couch, it is not clear what they are wearing, but write such comments.
BUMPAH New video by #fraulesteam on a song by @seansahand is already online ! Check my YouTube channel Dancers: #fraules @marru.28 @sklv_k @alenaprokodanova Location: @atop.space Camera: @ignition77envideo Shorts: @atelier_elo4ka #fraulesdancecentre #dancehall #bumpah #elenayatkina
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In fact, a lot of attention will be paid to the costumes of the Siberian. For example, the clothes for the video for Beyonce's song "Yonce" are tailor-made by a craftsman.
- It was painstaking work, with all the details, it turned out exclusive. I will not comment on the cost, ”says Yatkina.
It's hard to believe, but this fit dancer who drives men crazy through YuoTube is a young mother herself. And even when she was pregnant, she did not leave her hobby: she danced twerk. For which he also received a portion of criticism in the comments.
- I didn't read these comments on purpose and didn't really understand what they write there, - says the dancer. There are many other things to think about and read. Therefore, it makes no difference to me: everyone thinks differently, everyone has their own opinion, and that's good. Let them write ... The main thing is that my husband and my mother support me in everything. To other mothers who are thinking - to dance or not during pregnancy, I will advise you to listen only to yourself and the advice of doctors. And if dance is your life, then why not? The only thing you need to be a little more careful during pregnancy, dance a little differently. By the way, due to the fact that even during pregnancy my body, albeit in a sparing mode, but still worked, the excess weight quickly disappeared. Plus, I fed and breastfeed, and for the first month I didn’t have time to eat at all. It was not before, you remember that you need to eat when the baby falls asleep.
Marisha, let's take a quick photo! It turns out - well, no - no! or when it's 5 minutes in the photo) Photo:@mari__andre Actually, I planned to write a post about the next classes... but let it just be a beautiful photo Has your life changed since the birth of your daughter? Did you have to give up something?
- Lesya has been going to master classes with me since three months: of course, my husband or mother was with us on such trips - they help in everything, for which I thank them. Once such a difficult trip was with flights: Lesia was then just three months old, we were returning from Belgium. And, apparently, we were so tired that we arrived at the wrong airport, missed the flight, because of this we did not have time for other flights. So I had to spend the day in Brussels unforeseen. I won’t say, of course, that it’s convenient to walk around the city with such a baby: I want to lie somewhere more, relax. So we went a little hard.
- But at the same time, you also had time to stage numbers on the "Dances" project on the TNT channel: tell us how you got there?
It's ONLINE! Link in my bio Small secret: that choreo was made in front of my small princess she was smiling, that's how I understood that this song is what I need Dancers: my lovely girls @marru.28 & @sofa_star #fraules #twerkographybyfraules #fraulesqueen #fraulesteam #elenayatkina #sofatantsyatntnt #marudancer
- I staged numbers there for the first time in 2015: it was the second season when our Novosibirsk dancer Sofa made it to the final part of the project. Yegor Druzhinin wrote to me and invited me to be a choreographer in his team. Last season he was not, and I put numbers in the team of Tatyana Denisova and Miguel.
Perhaps everything seems easy on TV: a choreographer came, put it in one rehearsal: in fact, no, it's more and more difficult. Rehearsals take four days to learn everything and work it out perfectly, then a run on stage.
- Which of all the mentors seemed to you the most strict on the project?
Sat down. Photo: @e.freyer_photo Make up: @jyastremskaya Bikini: @atelier_elo4ka #fraules #fraules_mom #fraulesqueen #elenayatkinaPhoto: fraules
- I think Tatyana Denisova, because she is a woman, is connected with ballet, and everything is serious in ballet. And she is also an idealist, like me, and I understood some moments when she did not like something. And I thought: “Well, okay, this is a very demanding person, a demanding choreographer.”
- Tell us about the video for the song Beyonce "Yonce": how was it filmed?
- I came up with the choreography for this track four years ago, but then forgot. And after pregnancy, I listened to this track again and decided to think it out. We prepared and rehearsed for about half a year, filmed everything in June in the Melnitsa loft.
- Did Beyoncé see your video? Did you comment somehow?
What is TWERK? . It is generally accepted that twerk is booty shaking. Point Attention, correction (or rather, my definition of this style ... well, or even the definition of my style of twerking) TWERK is a DANCE of the booty, or rather a dance, the focus of which is the butt and all kinds of movements for her! I love, I dance, I practice! Now a new water of inspiration - largely thanks to the crowd at the intensive and their burning eyes On the video - light freestyle from the series - without straining) I love to dance like that) What do you think about twerk?) #twerkwithfraules #fraulesqueen #elenayatkina #fraulesdancecentre What is twerk ? Somehow people can say that this is about shaking a.s) I wanna correct! In my vision, TWERK is a DANCE, which has a butt as a center of attention with all the moves that it does! I love, I do, I teach! In the video u can see light freestyle , love to dance like that! What is your attitude to twerk?)
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- No, but I believe that Beyoncé will see our videos and one day I will be her choreographer!
Videos with sexy Siberians scored more than 30 million views
Novosibirsk dancers became the stars of YouTube
The age category of the site 18+ 9000
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"Beyonce", "kitty" and "passion" - 3 exercises for grace and flexibility from pole dance, which even "dummies" will master
Pole dancing are gaining popularity, because they replace not only the gym, but also - in part - trips to a psychologist. True, most girls who want to practice Pole Dance leave this desire only as a dream, believing that training requires special physical preparation, an ideal figure or a good stretch... Is this true?
Stretching for beginners
In this article, we will dispel stereotypes and answer common questions that beginners have. "Miss Pole Dance Russia", world champion, founder of the women's club Varda Ladies Club and participant of the International Festival SN Pro Expo Forum Varda will help with this.
Do not self-medicate! In our articles, we collect the latest scientific data and the opinions of authoritative health experts. But remember: only a doctor can diagnose and prescribe treatment.
Main myths about pole dance
Pole dance is striptease.
Despite the fact that Pole Dance is already officially recognized as a sport, many draw a parallel with striptease and consider it indecent. There is a huge difference between pole dancing and pole dancing. If you do not agree with this opinion, then you have never seen real pole dancing.
You need to be in good physical condition to practice.
Even if you haven't done any sport or dance before, don't be afraid! Beginner workouts are designed in such a way that you can dance to the best of your ability, gradually mastering more complex dance steps and tricks.
You need to start classes at a young age.
In this case, age is not a contraindication. Even vice versa! The more experience, the more emotions that you can transfer to dance!
THIS IS INTERESTING
Beyoncé and other stars who don't communicate with their parents
Beyoncé's father constantly abused her mother, Tina Knowles. The men knew about the betrayals all around. In 2009, it became known that the man had a baby on the side. Tina Knowles filed for divorce, which was finalized in 2011. Beyonce officially announced that her father no longer represents her business interests and stopped all communication with him.
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Pole Dance only for slim people.
Pole dance weight does not matter at all! For your peace of mind, I will say that the pylon can withstand more than 400 kg. If you do not go beyond this weight, there are no contraindications.
Pole dance requires stretching.
There are many elements that do not require twine. As long as you study the technique of tricks and basic movements, your plasticity will improve, and the twine will be the simplest element for you.
Top 3 exercises for beginners
Pole dance, in addition to sports elements, certainly also includes an erotic component. Classes help to become more graceful, sexy, liberated and self-confident. To get rid of complexes and clamps, we bring to your attention a few simple exercises with which a beginner should start should be special - graceful, alluring and sexy. The knees should be extended, the feet should not be clubfoot, the shoulders should be straightened, the stomach should be pulled in. The movements are soft, but confident, and most importantly - silent. No shuffling on the parquet! An elegant knock of heels is allowed.
Dance of the hands
Beginners usually give out not only their legs, but also their hands, which sometimes they have nowhere to put. If, for example, you hold on to the pylon with one hand, then the other should also “dance”! Sometimes even experienced dancers bend their arm at the elbow, and it begins to resemble a chicken foot. Try, holding the pylon with your right hand, walk around it, “waving the thick fog with your left hand” - this exercise will allow you to remember the second hand.
The more complex the element on the pylon, the tighter the lips are compressed. If you have watched small children drawing, then you have probably seen that babies often stick out their tongues, repeating the movements of a pencil. It happens unconsciously. Our task is to learn how to control emotions on the face, and a mirror will help here. Study your reflection in the mirror, try to portray different emotions and remember each of them in order to use the right one during the dance.
Kitty, Beyoncé and Passion Home Workout
Can't walk in the hall? It's not a problem! At home, you can be just as productive.
This exercise improves your posture and the flexibility of your whole body. You will become more graceful and experience an emotional lift! To perform it, you need to kneel, and then make a small pull, lowering your buttocks to your heels, sliding your chest across the floor with an arched back, straightening your elbows.
This exercise helps to develop lumbar flexibility and to feel the muscles with which we arch our back when lifting. The main task in this exercise is to prevent a "humped" back. Can be performed at home near the door frame or leaning on a chair.
Sit in a deep seat with an arched back, then straighten your knees, leaving the body pressed down. If you feel that your back is rounding, return to the starting position to maintain the arch. I recommend doing this exercise in front of a mirror.