Meet the Brazillian choreographer on Dance India Dance
Emmy-nominated Brazilian choreographer-director Alexandre Magno is excited about his stint on the upcoming season of dance-based reality show, Dance India Dance. He has over 25 years of show business experience and has worked with Madonna, The Pussy Cat Dolls, Britney Spears and Yanni, to name a few.
He also runs his own highly acclaimed dance company, Personna Dance Theatre, in the United States.
"I have been following the show since season one on the net," says Magno. "The show's stature, talent and choreography are amazing, and that's what attracted me to be in it. I had expressed my desire to be part of the show during the first season. When I learnt that the team is coming back with the third season, I approached them, and here I am."
Magno infuses his work with powerful drama and sensuality, drawing on a variety of styles, disciplines, and cultural influences. So what is his role in the show?
"I have taught all of them the techniques, which will help them break a song down into verses, chorus and bridge, and put all these in a choreographic format in the right parts of the song. I have trained them in hip-hop, ballet and jazz styles and also worked on their confidence and stamina," he says.
This is Magno's second visit to India. He was in Delhi earlier this year to perform at the wedding of the prince of Jaipur. "I performed with many other Bollywood stars during the wedding. I have taken the picture of Godess Saraswati and Lord Shiva; both are on the walls of my studio in LA."
So what does he think of the Bollywood style of dancing?
"I find the whole dancing scene in Indian films interesting and incredible. I agreed to come on this show because I wanted to learn about Bollywood.
"As far as films are concerned, we really don't get an opportunity in the US to do that kind of work where the dance and music are the real stars in the true sense. I kind of identify with this as a film director and feel it's the right platform for me. I would love to direct and choreograph a Hindi film."
Magno, who has worked with the top stars in the business in the west, gives us his take on some of them.
Image: Alexandre Magno
I worked with Madonna on her world tour, for an HBO special called Girlie Show. At the time she wasn't married and didn't have kids. She is a highly intelligent artist, deeply in tune with herself and makes no excuses for her motivations and beliefs.
As an artist, it is inspiring to be able to create alongside someone so bold and fearless. The other great thing about Madonna is that she is always clear--she loves it or she hates it. She will push until it is perfect.
During my second stint with her, her life was completely different. She was married and had kids so she was more bound, but she was hard working and balanced it.
Photographs: Getty Images/Frank Micelotta
On Britney Spears
Britney is a very young, talented artist. She is almost like the girl next door. While training, she is very friendly and doesn't behave like the star that she is.
I did a piece which was very much about acting and she is a pleasant person to work with.
Image: Britney Spears
Photographs: Reuters/Robert Galbraith
On Michael Jackson
I grew up listening to Michal Jackson, pretending and performing like him. Finally, when I first worked with him for the MTV Music Awards, I was thrilled to bits to work with my teen idol. He was a power house and brimming with energy.
The second time I worked with him was for the music video of Blood On The Dance Floor. He was about to have his second daughter then. It's a huge loss that he passed away. I attended his private ceremony along with some major choreographers. .
The opening dance on Dance India Dance will be the orchestrated version of Michael Jackson's Smooth Criminal and a Dance India Dance track. This actually brings me back to where I started.
Image: Michael Jackson
Photographs: Getty Images/Frederick M. Brown
Yanni is another perfectionist, like Madonna. He is a genius when it comes to his music. I had to work with him and his four orchestra musicians.
My job was to make each singer become a star in their own way and bring the song alive in a different way.
Whenever I heard his music while rehearsing, it always brought tears to my eyes. There is nothing more amazing than being right in the midst of it when they were playing the music.
Photographs: Reuters/Str Old