Dancer Malik Williams celebrates Michael Jackson

In just three weeks time we will once again mark what was the birthday of the King of Pop, Michael Jackson. He would have been 59. His “Thriller” LP still ranks as the best-selling album of all time with sales of 27.7 million units.

Nightly, at the Cirque du Soleil theater in Mandalay Bay, the glorious “ONE” show celebrates Michael’s life and career. The exact date is Aug. 29, which coincidentally is my birthday, and the pop prince and I once joked over dinner at the Wing Lei Chinese restaurant in the Wynn about the coincidence.

Fans travel from all over the world to experience Michael’s amazing story of going all the way to the very top of the pop-music world from humble beginnings in Gary, Indiana. In a sense, it was mirrored by Cirque ‘s “ONE” dancer Malik Williams who went from the streets of San Francisco and Las Vegas to the stage on the Strip where he dazzles audiences with his fancy footwork.

Here, Malik tells me how his own incredible journey took him to fame and fortune and the impact that Michael made on him.


With so many milestones coming up, including National Dance Day and Michael Jackson’s birthday, I can’t help but feel grateful to be living my dream as a professional dancer at the best live entertainment company in the world, Cirque du Soleil. When my little brother and I were dancing on the streets, I never thought I would turn my passion into a career that has allowed me to be a part of a major Las Vegas production — an immersive, emotional show that celebrates my role model, Michael Jackson.

As a musical genius, he is no doubt every dancer’s inspiration. I spent time studying various techniques including his “Moonwalk,” “The Lean” and that kick, always in awe of the precision he used in every muscle and breath. And while many have tried to imitate his style, there will never be another Michael.

Just as The King of Pop provided endless inspiration for me, so did my dad, who was also a former street performer. At the age of 7, I remember him teaching my uncle routines in our garage and then later I would sneak out and practice them on my own.

No one in my family knew I could dance until my mom caught me. At first, my dad didn’t believe her, but then he took me to “the lab,” a.k.a. our garage and began teaching me basic dance styles such as waving, gliding and turfing.

At the age of 11, I began winning dance battles back home in the Bay Area. At 16, my family moved to Las Vegas. I continued to dance, taking my brother to perform on Fremont Street and the Strip. That’s where it all began for me. We didn’t perform for money but as an opportunity to entertain people.

Street performing taught us about catering to a crowd more than to ourselves. It wasn’t about what we thought was cool, but what entertained others. I continued to enter dance battles at competitions, such as Hip Hop International. There, a member of Cirque casting approached me to audition. I didn’t know what to think, so I said no. The next year, I competed at HHI again, and again, Cirque was there.

Curious about the possibilities, I auditioned. Once I found out that I had been selected for Michael Jackson “ONE,” I was honored as I am a huge fan. I took the job offer very seriously and happily accepted. In “Human Nature/Never Can Say Goodbye,” I perform choreography side by side with Michael’s voice and visuals, creating a really surreal experience.

The first night I performed, all I could think was: “You better kill it, don’t trip and focus on the ‘Moonwalk!’” Today, I still can’t believe I get to do this as a job. To me, it’s the best show ever. No impersonations — just Michael’s greatest hits expressed through powerful dance, incredible acrobatic sequences, vivid visuals and more.

Every year, we celebrate his birthday at the theatre Aug. 29 and see fans from around the world come to celebrate his life. This year we will continue the tradition with the estate of Michael Jackson. If you are a fan or have never seen the show, I encourage you to visit during this time. In addition to enjoying exclusive memorabilia and performances by the cast, you’ll get to see people who actually knew and worked with him.

If you’re an aspiring dancer, keep looking to your inspirations and don’t listen to negative opinions about where you can go with your talent — ignore the haters. Even, if it’s yourself. Never place boundaries on what you can do.

5 must-see bands at Punk Rock Bowling 2018
5 must-see bands at Punk Rock Bowling 2018
Gabi Coffee & Bakery Is Like A Korean Speakeasy From The 1920s
Gabi Coffee & Bakery Is Like A Korean Speakeasy From The 1920s (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Five must-see acts at the Electric Daisy Carnival 2018
Five must-see acts at the Electric Daisy Carnival 2018
The "13 Reasons Why" mustang cruises down the Las Vegas Strip (Courtesy Netflix)
4 fun and fascinating museums in Las Vegas
U2 in Vegas through the years
U2 in Vegas through the years
Dirt Dog In Las Vegas Makes Crazy L.A. Street Food
Dirt Dog In Las Vegas Makes Crazy L.A. Street Food (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-journal)
Black Tap In Las Vegas Makes This Instagram-ready Golden Knights Shake (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-journal)
Nevada Ballet Theatre Premieres Until December
‘Until December’ debuts at ‘Ballet & Broadway’ season finale (Carol Cling Las Vegas
Celebrate The Golden Knights With Knights-inpired Latte Art (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Yodeling Boy Mason Ramsey Signs With Atlantic Records, Debuts First Single
Yodeling Boy Mason Ramsey Signs With Atlantic Records, Debuts First Single Ramsey, who shot to fame after a viral video of him yodeling at an Illinois Walmart surfaced, just debuted “Famous.” “If I'm gonna be famous for somethin'/I wanna be famous for lovin' you/If I'm gonna be known around the world/I wanna because of you, girl” Mason Ramsey, “Famous” It’s been quite the rush to stardom for the 11-year-old, who appeared on The Ellen Show and performed at Coachella earlier this month. “I’d been to Nashville a few times before, but never thought something like this would happen. It’s a dream to sign with Atlantic and Big Loud.” Mason Ramsey “I loved recording ‘Famous’ and can’t wait for everyone to hear it.”
Steve Aoki, Pitbull And Other Stars Make An Apperance At The "Keep Memory Alive" Gala
Steve Aoki, Pitbull And Other Stars Make An Apperance At The "Keep Memory Alive" Gala. (Janna Karel Las Vegas review-Journal)
"Hamilton" Fans Line Up Overnight At Smith Center To Get Tickets
"Hamilton" fans line up overnight at Smith Center to get tickets. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
5 concerts to see in Las Vegas this week
You can visit the speakeasy in The Mob Museum's basement... if you know the password
6 new foods hitting movie theaters in 2018
Lip Smacking Foodie Tours takes you where the locals go
Donald Contursi talks about Lip Smacking Foodie Tours, which offers walking tours of restaurants on and off Las Vegas Boulevard with food samples and tidbits of history about the places they visit.
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson Welcomes New Baby Girl!
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson Welcomes New Baby Girl! The 45-year-old actor posted an adorable photo on Instagram, celebrating his newborn baby girl, Tiana Gia Johnson. Dwayne Johnson, via Instagram Dwayne Johnson, via Instagram Dwayne Johnson, via Instagram This is Johnson’s second daughter with his girlfriend, Lauren Hashian. His oldest daughter, Simone Garcia Johnson, came from his previous marriage. Johnson and Hashian first announced they were expecting another child back in January. Congratulations!!
Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend Car Show celebrates 21st year
The Stray Cats, Jerry Lee Lewis, Duane Eddy, Elvira and Mitch Polzak make appearances the 21st Annual Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend car show at the Orleans hotel and casino on Saturday, April 21, 2018.
This "Alice in Wonderland" cocktail changes colors and flavors while you sip
Take a tour of The Underground at The Mob Museum
Prince death investigation coming to an end
Prosecutors in Minnesota plan an announcement Thursday on the two-year investigation into Prince's death from a drug overdose Prince was 57 when he was found alone and unresponsive in an elevator at his Paisley Park estate on April 21, 2016. An autopsy found he died of an accidental overdose of fentanyl. Search warrants unsealed about a year after Prince died showed that authorities searched his home, cellphone records of associates and his email accounts to try to determine how he got the drug. The county attorney has scheduled a morning announcement at which time charges could be filed.
Art Bell’s Top 10 Shows
A selection of radio host Art Bell’s most popular shows.
Big Bounce America visits North Las Vegas
Billing itself as "the biggest bounce house in the world," Big Bounce America visits Craig Ranch Regional Park in Las Vegas.
David Copperfield in court after man injured during magic trick
The attorney for a British man who is suing illusionist David Copperfield said his client suffered serious injuries after being called on stage during Copperfield's show at MGM Grand.
Disneyland debuts new foods for Pixar Fest on Friday
Pixar Fest takes place ahead of California Adventure’s Pixar Pier expansion. (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sneak Peek at New Decorations, Merch and Parade for Disneyland's Pixar Fest
Las Vegas Philharmonic celebrates 20th anniversary season
Orchestra’s 2018-19 season features premiere, more (Carol Cling/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Downtown Las Vegas' newest bar is a reggae lounge
Jammyland serves island-inspired cocktails. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
5 things connecting Las Vegas and Marilyn Monroe
1. Marilyn Monroe, known then as Norma Jeane, obtained her first divorce in Las Vegas at the age of 20 on September 13, 1946. 2. According to some biographers, Monroe lived at 604 S. 3rd Street for four months during the summer of 1946. The house has since been torn down and is now the site of a parking lot. 3. In 1954, Monroe almost married Joe DiMaggio in Las Vegas but the wedding was called off last minute. The wedding was to be held at the Hotel El Rancho Vegas which was located on the southwest corner of Sahara Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard. 4. Las Vegas has at least one road dedicated to the star. Marilyn Monroe Avenue is located in east Las Vegas and intersects with Betty Davis Street and Cary Grant Court. 5. There are currently more than 20 Marilyn Monroe impersonators for hire in the Las Vegas Valley.
News Headlines
Local Spotlight
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like