Hundreds of Michael Jacksons will be on the streets of New York for Halloween tonight. But for at least two New Yorkers, nailing the pop star's signature moves is a year-round obsession.
Michael Jackson tribute artist Moses Harper is African American and lives in the south Bronx. She said she never really thinks about her gender marking her as different. She's been dancing like Michael Jackson since she was a kid growing up in the Bronx and has won top prizes for her work. Her performances and her work as a motivational speaker make her a living, though she also describes herself as a writer, a composer and a musician.
For her, there is nobody like Michael Jackson. "Michael Jackson just came up on stage with an undershirt and he rip your head off," she said.
Michael Jackson choreographer Scott Jurkowski is 31 and lives on the Upper West Side. Jurkowski, a white man, makes his living in commercial real estate, but devotes much of his free time to understanding and analyzing Jackson's moves, in order to be able to apply his technique and teach it to others.
Jurkowski takes a cerebral approach to the pop star, analyzing the moves backwards and forwards to understand the very physics behind them. "Michael Jackson had a coherent and consistent technique that existed throughout his choreography," he said. "It has an almos teleological rightness to it , where if you do it wrong, you're not actually doing it."
To listen to the whole story, click on the audio player.
Scott Jurkowski and Moses Harper at a rehearsal of Thrill The World (Alec Hamilton)
See Moses Harper dance, below.