The Moonwalk is what set my career in motion.
I knew that if a gawky, awkward, dweeby, girlfriend-less kid like me could figure out that incredibly beautiful, other-worldly move, it was game over.
For an entire summer I wore out my VHS tapes of “Motown 25 Special”, “Making of Michael Jackson’s Thriller”, “Moonwalker”, and every MTV performance I could capture, rewinding and pausing each magical movement Michael Jackson did with his feet, legs, shoulders, neck, head, arms, hands…sometimes dancing in my basement for 12 hours a day.
My parents eventually made me put a piece of plywood down as there were scratch marks all over the parquet floor.
I made money dancing on street corners in Utah (which dancing on street corners is not necessarily a thing in Utah), by performing in parking lots, as my friends and I put our cars in a circle, shining headlights my way, with “Billie Jean” and “Smooth Criminal” blaring at teens lined up for their Friday summer night sno-shack snow cone.
We made enough money to go to the movies…the dollar movies, but still! It changed my teen years.
The career-defining moment came when I was on stage at a religious university in my State at a talent contest, did the perfect MJ dance routine and impression, moonwalking my way to the shrieks of audience members, and then doing a few of those other moves a boy shouldn’t do, thinking it was harmless, and ending the show with a 720-spin, fell to my knees, while ripping off my shirt.
Standing ovation. The crowd went bonkers.
Disqualified – the routine deemed “inappropriate for someone raised right and who should know better.”
It was in that moment that I erased a few of the infamous MJ dance moves from my repertoire and made a promise I would only perform a routine of him that was G-Rated, and thus would be the path of my career: Family-Friendly First.
When I got my first real job as a performer, working for the Las Vegas “Legends in Concert” as a full-time impersonator, every friend from my past figured it would be as the Michael Jackson impersonator…they didn’t realize you had to look just like him to work there. Thus my simple transition to dancing like and channeling Ricky Martin, who does many of the same moves as MJ.
Leaving Legends I put together a One-Man Show of music & comedy impressions. It was very successful very quickly – and, most importantly, my promise was to keep it family friendly – always.
If you know my headlining Las Vegas Casino story then you know family first is what it’s all about when it comes to my performing.
And while Michael Jackson has remained the very singular, most prominent character in my arsenal of impressions (while classics such as Jim Carrey, Led Zeppelin, Metallica, and others have been retired due to physical injury), even the very crux upon which I base my entire presentation due to his legendary Moonwalk, helping others consider their own “Signature Moves” with the question, “What is your Moonwalk?” (I mean goodness, it is my entire new promo reel for 2019 starting at :22! ), then you may realize I have a situation staring me in the face as of this very moment!
I guess I’ll once again quote what naturally comes to mind, since it fits perfectly:
“I’m gonna make a change, for once in my life…it’s gonna feel real good, gonna make a difference, gonna make it right.”
The Promise of Becoming a Legendary Leader isn’t just something I coined and created – it’s the basis of my existence.
I believe all of us have the ability to make something of ourselves with our unique gifts and can all become effective leaders as we discover our Signature Moves.
Utilizing the dancing of Michael Jackson in my every performance for over 3 decades has taught that principle masterfully, as everyone has tried The Moonwalk and failed at it, which helps us realize we are all individual and uniquely gifted.
With the latest allegations and controversy, and in respect to those that have come forth now a decade since MJ’s passing, the new movie, interviews, and backlash, it is with much sorrow, and equally determination to do what’s right, that I say goodbye to presenting Michael Jackson in my performances.
Is he guilty? Is he innocent? It’s not for me to judge or determine. If what has come to light is the case then it’s despicable and I choose to distance from it by association.
I know my actions on stage, as a speaker and performer, and my promise, is to always do what I feel is intrinsically right, even if it means a very uphill challenge for me to replace and start over.
For the past week I have been working overtime to erase YouTube videos, hire editors to re-edit my new videos to make them appropriate as to this decision, changed my entire web site – you name it, this is a problem for me on a very large scale, and yet something very necessary to face head on immediately.
For my audience, for those learning, listening, trusting me with words that evoke emotion, inspiration, laughs, and even tears, it is to inspire each individual to moving up and never to suggest insensitivity or callousness.
I apologize to any I have unknowingly offended in my having performed the Michael Jackson routine for so long, and for using him as an example in leadership.
His music, dance moves, and memory remains. He created quite the legacy as an artist, and it is up to us whether or not to enjoy his artistry in private and with our own need for the emotions he brings.
My promise to every audience is to bring joy, and in that promise the glove has now gone from it’s permanent place in my travel bag to the moving-on bin.
It’s hard to say goodbye to something I have worked so hard to be good at, but it’s necessary.
That is The Promise.
UPDATE: Favor to ask of my Friends – To those that read and resonated with this post about Michael Jackson you know we are going to great lengths and changing all kinds of things, even on my videos. We have just uploaded my NEW Demo Reel with no MJ, and it’s in need of some favorable comments and thumbs up on YouTube. If you are so willing to help me out at this time I would be so grateful. Thank you!
Leadership Expert * Author * Speaker Hall of Fame * Award-Winning Entertainer
The Promise: Become a Legendary Leader and discover your Signature Moves
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