Show & Tell: Meet 'Thunder's' Jesse Shelley


Q: Did you come from a performing family?

A: No. But my brother, he did singing and dancing since he was little. My mom was always trying to get me to go and I never went. I was playing football.

Q: So he was the entertainer of the family.

A: Yeah. I used to go to classes and look at the girls (laughs).

Q: At what point did dancing become more than just a way to check out girls?

A: I was playing football (rugby) and I decided I didn't want to play anymore. I got a bad injury and was just over it. I had a friend who was (emceeing a revue) and he goes, "Why don't you put some photos in and audition for it?" I did and I ended up here.

Q: And you never had done anything like this before?

A: No, I didn't even know how to spin (laughs). They were, like, "You've got to spin?" I was, "What?"

Q: So you never saw yourself as the dance guy?

A: Not really (laughs). I just have it in me. My brother got it, so I don't see why not.

Q: He must be jealous.

A: Oh, it's different. He does a very intricate sort of thing. He's, like, very technical and proper. You're just kind of dancing (in "Thunder") for (audiences) and with them, so you're interacting with them.

Q: Was the hardest part: Learning the dancing or learning the interacting?

A: I'm not shy. The dancing part wasn't too hard: Just stay in time (laughs). The hard part is to kind of connect while doing the show, because you've got to know what you're doing like the back of your hand, you've got to be able to do it as if you were sleeping and you've just got to forget about what you're doing and perform to the girls and draw them in.

Q: You began with the cast in Australia and you've toured all over the world since then. Are audiences different in different places?

A: Very different. The Swedish audience is quite reserved. So are the Asian audiences. They're very reserved, but when you go near them, they act like they're scared. It's really funny (laughs). They actually enjoy themselves.

Q: What are Las Vegas audiences like?

A: It just depends. On some nights, the crowd we get is very tame ... but they're actually watching the show and admiring the show rather than screaming. And, then, you go to some shows, and it's just screaming.

 

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