The name Jonte Moaning may not ring a bell, but the American dancer has worked with some of the biggest names in the music industry.
The 32-year-old, who was scouted by singer Janet Jackson in New York City, was one of the backup dancers in her Super Bowl performance in 2004, infamous for her "wardrobe malfunction". He also choreographed Beyonce's 2007 The Beyonce Experience tour.
Moaning, who also choreographed Beyonce's Freakum Dress, Suga Mama and Get Me Bodied music videos, speaks of the pop diva fondly.
"One thing that you probably don't know about Beyonce is that she never uses the bathroom during rehearsals. We would be practising for nine hours straight and she would not take her heels off either," says the dancer-choreographer, who was in town to perform at Sephora's Beauty Night Out party in September.
He has also worked with top Asian performers such as Namie Amuro, Wonder Girls, Miss A and 2pm.
The flamboyant performer has managed to carve out a career for himself in Japan.
While on tour with Beyonce in Japan, he was talent scouted by record executives and modelling agencies, which led to a record deal, television show appearances and commercials.
Today, he spends at least three months in a year in Japan and can speak Japanese fluently.
Aside from travelling around the world for dance performances, he is currently working on his first album.
"I want to be like Michael Jackson, who could sing and dance," says Moaning enthusiastically.
As it is, the native of Portland, Oregon, is already living out a childhood dream of becoming a dancer.
"As a child, I was always surrounded by music because everyone loved to sing, but I was the only one dancing to the music," he says.
The son of a bus driver and prison warden enrolled in the Oregon Ballet Theatre at the age of 13 and later continued his dance education at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in New York City.
While his heavily made-up face and outrageous get-ups, which he sports even when not performing, may attract stares, Moaning says that he has always been comfortable in his own skin.
"That's the good thing about going to performing arts schools; everyone is a little weird."
7 THINGS IN HIS BAG
I'm always travelling; you'll find me in a new place every week.
2. FACE MASKS
I carry them everywhere I go. They're the best protection against air-borne germs and the paparazzi.
3. PHIATON HEADPHONES
I can't live without music, so I always need to have my headphones with me.
4. NEUTROGENA OIL-FREE ACNE STRESS CONTROL POWER-CLEAR SCRUB
Neutrogena seems to work best for me; this exfoliates without drying my skin.
5. ELTAMD SUNSCREEN
As dark as my skin is, I still lather myself with sunscreen to prevent overexposure to UV rays. One of my friends died at 27 from skin cancer, so I take this very seriously.
6. M.A.C COSMETICS STUDIO FIX FLUID
It's hard to find foundation that suits my skin in Asia, so I always make sure I have my own.
7. COLOURED CONTACT LENSES
Every now and then it's fun to wear coloured contacts to spruce up my exotic appearance.
This article was first published on Dec 19, 2014.
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