Tuesday, August 25, 2015

REBEL HEART TOUR : What It’s Like to Choreograph for Madonna

Few gigs compare to creating the moves for Madonna. Choreographer Megan Lawson is living that dream.

Lawson, whom you might know from Fanny Pak, began working on Madonna’s Rebel Heart Tour a few months ago. But it’s not her first rodeo with the Queen of Pop. The Canadian-born choreographer was also responsible for the moves in Madonna’s “Living for Love” and “Ghosttown” videos, along with Madonna’s 2015 Grammy Awards performance, and was a contributing choreographer to Madge’s MDMA tour.

Dance Spirit spoke with Lawson about her work on the upcoming tour.

Dance Spirit: What’s the process of choreographing for a tour of this scale?
Megan Lawson: Jamie King is the show’s director. The process starts with a discussion between Jamie, Madonna and I about ideas and concepts. Then, my dancers, Jamie and I get into the studio and experiment for a while before presenting to M. She always has a hand in the choreography. She loves to be part of the process and collaborate with everyone, from the lighting designer to the makeup artist. I’d say every number in the tour has at least one part Madonna choreographed herself. It’s a really fun process.

DS: Are there other choreographers working with you?
ML: Since I’m the lead choreographer on this tour, I got to recommend other choreographers to collaborate with. I was so fortunate to bring in other artists, including Jillian Meyers, Matt Cady and Kevin Maher, who are all friends of mine. The great thing about involving other choreographers is that the show becomes really diverse. Every song is different stylistically, and each has a unique choreographic vibe.

DS: Does anything about the tour scare you?
ML: Getting it all done in time! It’s been a challenge to coordinate everything. Madonna doesn’t settle for anything but the best—she’s a perfectionist. It takes time. This is certainly the biggest-scale production I’ve ever experienced. I can’t wait to see it all come together. I know it will. But right now it’s crunch time, and that’s a little scary.

DS: What are your top three favorite Madonna songs?
ML: “Human Nature,” “Messiah” and “Falling Free.”

DS: What’s your advice for Dance Spirit readers?
ML: Explore as many avenues as you can. I never really had goals or plans that were set in stone. I just knew I wanted to dance and create for living. I tried lots of different things—from taking a wide variety of classes to assisting choreographers to picking up small gigs here and there. What really paid off the most, though, was grabbing some friends and making a few little videos of my own. Those experiences were more satisfying than working as a backup dancer—and Madonna ended up hiring me after seeing some of the clips! It’s OK if your goals change over time. Be open to your desires and follow your heart.


Sunday, August 16, 2015

Happy Birthday To Madonna! 2015!


Throughout her long career, Madonna has enlisted the world’s top designers, most famously Jean Paul Gaultier, to collaborate on the costumes for her globe-trotting tours.

She’s again recruited a murderer’s row of fashion talent for her latest, the “Rebel Heart” World Tour, named after her 13th studio album of the same name.

On Wednesday, she revealed exclusively to WWD the designers who made the cut, including Jeremy Scott and Alexander Wang. And add Madonna to the Alessandro Michele fan club: the Gucci creative director also pitched in.

Related Story: Madonna’s Red Carpet Looks Through the Years

Just like she’s been teasing her setlist on Instagram for months — yes, “Vogue” and “Holiday” will make appearances on the tour — Madonna has also been posting snippets of looks she’s been working on with her longtime costume designer, Academy Award-nominated Arianne Phillips.

Ahead of the tour’s opening in Montreal on Sept. 9, she is revealing the full list of designers today: Fausto Puglisi, Prada and Miu Miu, Swarovski and the Lebanese designer Nicolas Jebran are the others. She’ll show sketches at a later date.

The pop singer’s predilection for some of these names has been evident for a while: she wore Scott for Moschino to the Costume Institute gala in May, on the red carpet as well as to various after parties, for instance. And she was also in full Moschino regalia in her last video, “B**ch I’m Madonna,” where Wang made an exuberant cameo. Before that, she was spotted around town wearing the platform moon boots from Wang’s fall show, practically straight off the runway.

Curiously, Versace, in whose 2015 advertising campaign Madonna appeared, is not involved in this tour. Phillips, who has been nominated for two Oscars, including her work on Madonna’s own “W.E.,” is marking her sixth tour with Madonna and will also contribute costumes.

Some of the other designers, though, like Michele, are more surprising, underscoring the singer’s knack for spotting new talent.

Slideshow: Madonna’s Concert Tour Costume Designs Through the Years >>

Long before pop acts fraternized with fashion designers, it was Madonna who asked Gaultier in 1990 to design costumes for her famous “Blonde Ambition” World Tour. He delivered the now iconic coned bra and the two have since collaborated on several tours, on 2001’s “Drowned World,” 2006’s “Confessions” and 2012’s “MDNA,” which included a reinterpretation of their best-known garment.

Previous tours included costumes from Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana, Prada, Christian Lacroix — he designed the crystal-studded corset that opened the “Reinvention” tour in 2004 — and Riccardo Tisci, who designed the costumes the singer wore during the halftime show at the 2012 Super Bowl.

“People say everything has a limit,” Tisci told WWD at the time, “but limits do not exist with Madonna.” With today’s news, that still seems to be the case.

Source : wwd.com

Wednesday, August 12, 2015


As the reigning Queen of Pop — a title she’s held for a whopping 33 years — it is Madonna’s royal duty to deem whom among the crop of wannabe successors is worthy of claiming her throne.

But because Madge has voiced her disapproval for pitting women against each other (‘atta girl!), she hasn’t made a competition out of it. Rather, she’s bestowed her blessing among several pop princesses (plus other performers outside of her genre), giving us an idea of the talent and fearlessness Madonna looks for in her peers.

In a new interview with Entertainment Weekly, the Rebel Heart singer revealed the “last big show” she attended was a Beyoncé concert. She subsequently began raving about Bey (a queen in her own right, thankyouverymuch), praising her as “a great performer” who “puts on a show.”

“She’s a professional, you know what I mean? She ticks all the boxes,” Madge gushed. “She’s great live, and all the stuff around her, it’s complete entertainment. She gives it her all, so I appreciate that. That was really good.”

High praise, indeed. But Beyoncé isn’t alone — check out these nine other artists who’ve earned props from the Queen herself.

In a compliment that left Taylor “dead,” Madonna praised the 1989 singer’s writing, saying, “It’s good to have princesses [of pop]. It means there’s lots of pretty dresses around. I like Taylor Swift. I think she writes some really catchy pop songs. I can’t get them out of my head.”

Madge further shared her thoughts on Tay’s success earlier this year when she told Rolling Stone, “She has an opinion, and she’s going against the norm. So in that respect, she is similar to me, yeah. And also, people just want to give her a hard time all the time because they think she’s a goody-two-shoes, so of course I want to embrace her.”
During an interview on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” Madonna offered up her somewhat underwhelming but ultimately positive thoughts on Pink, saying, “I like her. She’s cool.” She then gave another nod of approval to Rihanna by opining, “I like her too. I think she’s sexy.” Damn right, M.
Despite the two bold artists’ alleged feud — which Madge adamantly shut down earlier this year, BTW — they’ve traded plenty of compliments about each other. Case in point: Madonna recalled the first time she saw Gaga perform live, admitting she was “really impressed by her.”

“I thought she was really cool and she did remind me of me back in the day,” Madonna said. “I liked her rawness and there was something fresh about her and ballsy, and when she spoke to the audience, she sounded like she had a similar sense of humor to me, quite ironic, and I liked her. So I do think she is very talented.”
Madonna admitted during a Twitter Q&A in 2012 that she just straight-up thinks Katy’s hot. Which totally makes sense, if you think about it. In addition to sharing an appreciation for cone-shaped objects on their breasts, these two basically occupy the same campy niche in pop music — and they do it so well. When asked what she thought of KP, M replied, “She’s hot. If she was my girl, I’d never cheat on her.”
Madonna threw us for a loop when she recruited Nicki AND M.I.A. for her danceable jam “Give Me All Your Luvin.’” But it soon became absolutely clear what makes the trio such a perfect team: genuine, indisputable badassness. “I like their independence. I like their spirit,” Madonna said of her fearless comrades. “They’re cheeky and unique and they have individual voices. They’re not conventional pop stars and I really admire them both.”
Remember during Miley’s “Unplugged” session when she brought out Madge for a cowboy-themed medley of “We Can’t Stop” and “Don’t Tell Me?” That was just the beginning of this awesome pair’s friendship — since then, we’ve seen them profess their love for each other on Instagram, and Madonna has also stuck up for Miley in the press, like the time she rallied against gender bias and sexism in an empowering interview with Pitchfork.
Besides literally giving Britney her kiss of approval in a VMAs moment for the history books, Madonna also collaborated on Brit’s 2003 hit “Me Against the Music” and has come to her defense several times. She once told Elle, “I find it really irritating that everyone beats up on Britney. I want to do nothing but support her and praise her and wish her the best.” SAME, GIRL. Same.

Source : MTV.COM

Friday, August 7, 2015


Andy Cohen guest-edited EW’s latest issue so of course he had to talk to his favorite pop star Madonna about her massive Rebel Heart tour, which kicks off Sept. 9 in Montreal. By her own estimation, the Material Girl has been spending 10 to 12 hours a day prepping for the string of gigs—a schedule so rigorous that an aide follows her to make sure she stays nourished. “I call her the food police,” Madonna tells Cohen. “ ‘Are you eating? Did you drink enough water?’ I’m like, ‘Bitch, get off my pole!’”

Speaking of poles, Cohen gets the scoop about the dancing nuns on stripper poles that Madonna teased in Rebel Heart’s trailer. “I just like the juxtaposition,” she says of the risqué routine. “I’m very immersed in deconstructing the concept of sexuality and religion and how it’s not supposed to go together, but in my world it goes together.”

As for the show itself, Madonna hasn’t revealed much, but she offers some insight about how she balances her setlist with greatest hits like “Vogue” and her new Rebel Heart material. “Of course, the thing Im most excited about doing is my new stuff, because I haven’t done it yet and it’s fresh,” she tells Cohen. “But I realize that people want to hear my older stuff, so for me it’s always a tricky balance trying to keep some kind of continuity, not only with sound, sonically, but also thematically … a lot of times I have to take the songs and turn them inside out and make them more ironic than straightforward.”

Cohen also inquires about whether Madonna’s 14-year-old son Rocco would appear on the tour. “I think he’s probably gonna work behind the scenes,” she says. “He’s not interested in performing on stage with me right now. There’s way cooler things. Your mom is not that cool when you’re 14.”

Source: EW

Sunday, August 2, 2015


Madonna’s back at No. 1 on the Dance Club Songs chart, as her latest single, “B**** I’m Madonna” rises 2-1 on the chart dated Aug. 15.

It’s Madonna’s 46th No. 1 on this chart, and extends her own record for the most No. 1s on a singular Billboard chart. (She broke the record in May, when she surpassed George Strait’s 44 leaders on the Hot Country Songs chart.)

For Minaj, “Madonna” is her fifth No. 1. She also hit the top with “Turn Me On” (David Guetta featuring Minaj), “Give Me All Your Luvin'” (Madonna featuring Minaj & M.I.A.), “Pound the Alarm” and “Beauty and a Beat” (Justin Bieber featuring Minaj).

Here is an updated look at Madonna’s 46 Dance Club Songs No. 1s, beginning with the double-sided single “Holiday”/”Lucky Star,” which reached the top the week of Sept. 24, 1983. You’ll notice that one of her No. 1s is an entire album: You Can Dance (1988), a collection of mostly remixes of previously-released songs (and one new cut, “Spotlight”). Prior to Feb. 23, 1991, the chart wasn’t always song-specific and full albums were, at some points, allowed to chart.

(For titles that spent multiple weeks at No. 1, total frames in the lead are noted in parentheses.)

Madonna’s 46 Dance Club Songs No. 1s

1983, “Holiday”/”Lucky Star” (five weeks at No. 1)
1984, “Like a Virgin” (four)
1985, “Material Girl”
1985, “Angel”/”Into the Groove”
1987, “Open Your Heart”
1987, “Causing a Commotion (Remix)”
1988, “You Can Dance (LP Cuts)”
1989, “Like a Prayer” (two)
1989, “Express Yourself” (three)
1990, “Keep It Together”
1990, “Vogue” (two)
1991, “Justify My Love” (two)
1992, “Erotica”
1993, “Deeper and Deeper”
1993, “Fever”
1994, “Secret” (two)
1995, “Bedtime Story”
1997, “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina”
1998, “Frozen” (two)
1998, “Ray of Light” (four)
1999, “Nothing Really Matters” (two)
1999, “Beautiful Stranger” (two)
2000, “American Pie”
2000, “Music” (five)
2001, “Don’t Tell Me”
2001, “What It Feels Like for a Girl”
2001, “Impressive Instant” (two)
2002, “Die Another Day” (two)
2003, “American Life”
2003, “Hollywood”
2003, “Me Against the Music,” Britney Spears featuring Madonna (two)
2004, “Nothing Fails”
2004, “Love Profusion”
2005, “Hung Up” (four)
2006, “Sorry” (two)
2006, “Get Together”
2006, “Jump” (two)
2008, “4 Minutes,” Madonna featuring Justin Timberlake & Timbaland (two)
2008, “Give It 2 Me”
2009, “Celebration”
2012, “Give Me All Your Luvin’,” Madonna featuring Nicki Minaj & M.I.A.
2012, “Girl Gone Wild”
2012, “Turn Up the Radio”
2015, “Living for Love”
2015, “Ghosttown”
2015, “B**** I’m Madonna,” featuring Nicki Minaj