14 Aug FINANCIAL TIMES ANTHONY KING FEATURE
“Everyone needs a signature dance move. I discovered this recently at a friend’s wedding when an impromptu circle formed on the dance floor, and reveller after reveller stepped into the ring. Break-dancing, body-popping, tap, jive, Charlston… I felt a gentle sweat coming on – I couldn’t reveal the fruits of belly-dancing lessons at university over a decade ago. Afterwards, I resolved never to put myself in that position again. I would learn to dance like Michael Jackson instead.
Pineapple Studios was the grooviest place to flex your Lycra in the 1980s. Since the passing of the King of Pop (and the return of Lycra) it is enjoying a renaissance. This is partly thanks to the popularity of choreographer Anthony King’s regular Michael Jackson dance classes. On a Wednesday night at 6pm, the rather warm Covent Garden dance studio is packed with Jackson fans in tour T-shirts and sweat gear, getting acquainted with the man in the mirror. I feel intimidated, but I’m soon distracted by King’s infectious energy and snake-hipped charisma. We begin with “Wanna Be Starting Something”. Wrist-flicking, leg-shaking, body-pumping, air-punching – and that’s only the first 1.5 seconds. We try it to music twice, and proceed to the next sequence, which involves unladylike thrusting. This I find embarrassing, especially as I’m positioned next to the window of our street-level studio.
“Shamone!” a class member exclaims triumphantly as we put the whole routine together. By the end of the hour I’m feeling so limber, I could almost perform in the piazza itself. So that’s why the class has a “do not come dressed as Michael Jackson” dress code! After all, there can only be one King of Pop – well, two actually.”