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Mick Jagger’s choreographer: ‘I’ve never seen anyone work harder’

Updated May 12, 2024 - 2:18 pm

Rolling Stones fans know the story. In their infancy as rock stars in 1964, the Stones followed James Brown and the Famous Flames at the T.A.M.I. Show at Santa Monica Civic Auditorium.

Legend has it that Brown blew the young band off the stage. Video of the show backs up that claim, as the show marked Brown’s first televised performance. This was first time fans across the country saw Brown “helped” off the stage, a cape draped around his shoulders, only to return with a fury to finish off “Please Please Please.”

Brown earned his nickname “The Hardest Working Man in Show Business” that night. But since, Mick Jagger, the young rocker who had the unenviable task of performing after Brown KO’d the place, deserves that title today.

This comes from the entertainment pro who choreographs the 80-year-old showman.

“If there’s anything I can say about about the experience of being a choreographer for Mick Jagger, it’s that if James Brown was an idol of his, and James Brown was the hardest working man in show business, Mick Jagger has to have surpassed that,” says Chucky Klapow, a Las Vegas dance designer who is touring with the Stones. “I mean, he’s living up to that moniker.”

Klapow has worked on Jagger’s body movement since 2011, when Jagger burst into Will.i.am’s “T.H.E. (The Hardest Ever)” video, which also featured Jennifer Lopez. Klapow joined joined the Stones’ camp two years later for the “50 & Counting” tour.

Klapow has also worked with Michael Jackson on the “Behind The Mask” video and was a dancer for Jackson’s planned production, “This is It.” As a kid, he danced for Patti LaBelle, Celine Dion, Paula Abdul and Salt-N-Pepa. He became a protege and assistant choreographer to Marguerite Derricks (“Steve Wynn’s Showstoppers” and “Le Reve” among her credits).

Klapow also worked for Kenny Ortega for the “High School Musical” TV franchise, winning an Emmy and being nominated twice. When not touring with the Stones, Klapow is a member of the Stabile Productions team, working on “X Burlesque” and “X Country” revues.

With a rich career history already, the 43-year-old dance pro marvels at Jagger. The lesson here is, a great way to remain a great showman is not to stop. As Klapow says, “I’ve never seen anyone, including Michael Jackson, work harder than Mick Jagger.

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on X, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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