Millions of people may dream about being the next Madonna, but only a few, like King, turn those hopes into a reality. “Watching MTV growing up, I was like, ‘I want to be in that music video, or I want do an award show and I want work with that artist.’ I was always moving and interested in pop culture,” King reveals.
After moving from Wisconsin to Los Angeles, King was dancing for Michael Jackson when his passion for movement caught the attention of Prince. The music legend then asked King to choreograph for the rapper Carmen Elektra (yes, she was a rapper). Prince then asked King to choreograph a weekly show to four unreleased songs in his nightclub, Grand Slam. King did this for a year, acknowledging his performances as training for the success he would later enjoy. King went on to dance in, choreograph and direct numerous music videos, concerts and tours, including the 2006 Madonna “Confessions” world tour and Shakira’s 2006 MTV Video Music Awards performance. MTV nominated him for VMA Best Choreography award for his work on Madonna’s “Hung Up” music video, and he has received two Emmy Award nominations.
But major tours and big-time celebs aside, King passionately states that his greatest accomplishment thus far is his Rock Your Body book and DVD. These fitness-through-dance guides offer left feet around the world to enjoy dance as much as King does, and almost dance as well as he does.
“[Rock Your Body] was my opportunity to be able to really, really give back,” says King. “When I promote and I actually see the results of people being happy and people are like, ‘I lost weight – I didn’t know that dance could be exercise and fitness and make you feel good, and now I feel sexy’ – I feel these testimonials. I know was able to give something back, make people feel good about themselves, feel like rock stars and they’re happy, so that makes me happy.”
So where does King find all of this inspiration to put together choreography for award shows, DVDs and books? While maintaining a rigorous work schedule (starting at 8 a.m. and sometimes going as late as 3 a.m.) doesn’t hurt, King explains that, when choreographing, inspiration mainly comes from the artist, “what they’re about, what they feel, what they move like, how they want to be perceived.” As for the rest, he says, “It’s like an evolution, coming from a dancer background. That’s something that Debbie Allen has done, something that Paula Abdul did. [They were] originators and innovators of that idea that you don’t have to just be a dancer. You can do many, many things and expand, and for me, that’s always exciting.” King says it’s not hard to come up with new ideas. “I’m more inspired today than I was yesterday,” he adds. “Something new is happening today than was yesterday. Because of that, I find it easy to evolve.”
So what does the future hold for the Midwesterner with big dreams? Along with pomoting Rock Your Body, King will be working on the upcoming Kanye West’s stage show, the Spice Girls reunion tour and a Celine Dion project not to mention awards shows. He also has a few surprises up his sleeve that he’s keeping quiet about now. “There’s some big surprises that are going take up a lot of my time for right now,” King says. “There’s some more of the same which means some really great artists.” Whatever King has in the works, we’re sure it will have us on the edge of our seats…and maybe even dancing in the aisles.
By Amber Wilson