- Choreographer JaQuel Knight has been working with Beyoncé since he was 18.
- The collaboration for Beychella broke the internet during Coachella.
- He’s also done choreography stars like J. Lo, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, and more.
- I met up with JaQuel at the Monsters Dance Convention in New Jersey, where he gave me a personal dance lesson and attempted to make me a better dancer.
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Following is a transcript of the video.
Manny: That’s JaQuel Knight. He’s a dancer and choreographer. He’s also the creative mind behind many of Beyoncé’s iconic performances. I caught up with JaQuel at the Monsters Dance Convention in New Jersey. He was teaching choreography to literally hundreds of kids. I quickly got a sense of the talent and work ethic that made him successful.
Manny: The story goes that you were teaching Beyoncé choreography at age 18.
Manny: How did you get to meet Beyoncé? How did that whole thing start?
JaQuel: So I moved to LA right outta high school. And literally maybe a year into LA, I was at this audition for Michelle Williams with Frank Gatson. He enjoyed me, my freestyle, he was like, “Hey I got this Beyoncé record, can you come to New York tonight?” “When you get here if she likes you you’ll stay, if not we’ll get you back on a plane to LA.”
Manny: What was your reaction?
JaQuel: Yeah, hell yeah, get me on that goddamn flight.
Manny: JaQuel went on to choreograph stars like J. Lo, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, and more.
Manny: Who was your favorite to work with?
JaQuel: They’re all very special, ya know.
Manny: That’s like a parent saying all of their kids are special, though.
JaQuel: ‘Cause these are all stars. All your kids aren’t superstars.
Manny: Most recently, JaQuel collaborated with Beyoncé for her famous Beychella performance. The choreography incorporated homecoming moves made popular by historically black colleges and universities It was a smash hit.
After the convention, JaQuel agreed to give me a personal dance lesson. Um, just watch for yourself.
Manny: JaQuel, I want to know how to dance like Beyoncé. This is me right here. This is where I wanna grow from.
Manny: How was that?
JaQuel: That was good.
Manny: It was good?
JaQuel: That was really good actually.
Manny: You don’t have to lie.
JaQuel: Okay, it was okay.
Manny: Okay, it’s painfully obvious that I’m not gonna be dancing like Beyoncé any time soon, but I did have one more question for JaQuel.
Manny: Will you say “hi” to Beyoncé for me?
JaQuel: Negative! Hah!
EDITOR’S NOTE: This video was originally published in February 2019.