Michael Jackson tour dancer steps up in Queenstown

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A top American stepper in hit movie Stomp the Yard has passed on tips to Queenstown dancers.

Khalid Freeman, who had a role in the movie starring Chris Brown, was in the Wakatipu on a break from performing in the Cirque du Soleil’s Michael Jackson The Immortal World Tour.

The 33-year-old took time out last Friday to host some guest classes at the Queenstown School of Dance, run by an acquaintance Anna Stuart.

Khalid is a step specialist, a style of dance that revolves around individuals or collective groups making sounds and music solely with the body.

It’s big in the American college scene with rival teams holding step battles competitively.

“When you take my class it’s all about your body making music – we are the soundtrack to the class. There’s no song playing, no track you’re dancing to, so you really have to exude that rhythm out of the body.

“Once you start to move your body and clap and stomp your feet people can get really excited.”

Freeman says as well as focusing on team work and commitment, he aims to pass on a little discipline: “It’s something not only the kids need but dancers and aspiring steppers. And to learn how to work together – when you start looking to the person on your left and right and have to match the person on your left and right that’s when another level of intelligence comes in.” 

The Detroit native who lives in Las Vegas says he’s been on the road with the Cirque du Soleil tour for two years and it has one year to run.

Not that it’s a chore: “It’s a world tour so they pay you to travel, they send you to all the major cities around the world, we play London’s O2 Arena, Madison Square Gardens, Sydney, Russia. It’s Michael Jackson music and I can’t get enough of that, 15,000 people each night, good money, great food … all pretty cool.

“For a dancer, as far as tours go, that’s one you want to be on.”