Photos copyright Dance Spirit; photographed by Erin Baiano.
As Beyoncé and her enormous entourage prepare to hit the road on The Mrs. Carter Show World Tour, taking off on April 15th, the superstar’s backup dancers land the cover of Dance Spirit magazine.
From awards shows and tours to the Super Bowl XLVII halftime show, Bey’s loyal, all-female band and dancers have accomplished it all.
In the new issue of Dance Spirit, it is revealed that Beyoncé will be expanding her dance crew for the upcoming tour, auditioning approximately 800 dancers.
Frank Gatson, Queen Bey’s longtime friend and choreographer told Spirit Magazine, “This year’s tour audition process was the Super Bowl. We saw 800 girls and once we got down to 100, we paid close attention to who was professional and magical.” Gatson continues, “Beyoncé was very clear on who to pick for the tour – she means business. She’s hands-on and she wants her dancers to shine like stars.”
The dancers open up about the long rehearsals that typically begin at 9am and go on until the work is done. For dress, the dancers are required to wear all black and if Beyoncé is present, they must also wear high heels.
“Don’t let the hair flips, heels and booty shaking confuse you,” dance captain Ashley Everett says. “Beyoncé’s choreography is very diverse—we do it all.”
Fellow dancer Kimmie Gipson recalls meeting and rehearsing with Beyoncé for the first time in 2009, adding, “She looked at us like, ‘Guys, I don’t bite!’ That day I began to see her work ethic firsthand. She was right there with us trying to get the steps.”
In total, seven choreographers helped create the numbers for the upcoming tour, including the ten versions of “Single Ladies.” While Beyoncé does not attend every rehearsal, they make it clear that she has the final say in everything.
Gatson on Beyoncé’s work ethic:
“She doesn’t want watered-down choreography. She has such respect for dance. And she will do almost anything as long as she remains a lady. She has class with everything she does, even a booty shake. She knows technique will keep your movement classy. When you mix ballet with street movement, you get the Beyoncé brand. We call it country fried chicken with hot sauce.”
Despite the draining work and nearly impossible schedule, Everett says, “I’m doing what I love night after night. I’m living my biggest dream.”
Photos, copyright of Dance Spirit:
Left to right: Ashley Everett, Hajiba Fahmy, Sarah Burns and Hannah Douglass (photos by Erin Baiano).
Left to right: Amandy Fernandez, Tanesha Cason, Kim Gingras and Kimmie Gipson (photos by Erin Baiano).