In the Artgrid clips that I got, Michael Vestergaard Jensen, a.k.a. “Michael Jacket”, dances in a suit, wearing a hat pulled low and rakishly, so all you can see of his face is a snaggle-toothed grin. His handle on Instagram is “Michael Jacket” because his speciality is dancing in the styles made famous by Michael Jackson. I didn’t know any of this when I found the clips of him on Artgrid. To be honest, the whole Michael Jackson thing had passed me by. I never watched a single video of him or owned a single album.
But after discovering Michael Vestergaard Jensen (“MVJ” from here on, to not confuse things), I found out that Michael Jackson had invented a number of iconic dance moves which required tremendous strength, control and precision: the Moonwalk, the Thriller Dance, the Crotch Grab (eww), the Toe Spin, the Toe Stand, the Anti-gravity Lean (without props, up to 45-degrees angle), the Robot, the Spin-and-Stop, the Side Slide (with feet together), the very difficult Circle slide, and the Kick (with one leg planted), etc.
MVJ (in the gallery, below) has got those moves down to a fine art. He moves so fast, so smoothly, that it seems like the clips of him are speeded up. But they’re not. Check on the video settings, and it’s normal speed. It’s just that his feet and hands blur and the stage flows away under him like water when he does the moonwalk.
So if you have a song with a precise beat which is dominant rather than running in the background, and you need dance clips to fit this, he’s your man, I could pull the clips into iMovie without having to make any speed adjustments. It’s 4/4 beat all the way.
When your personal brand is generic
This particular series of MVJ’s dance clips were filmed by Morten Lovechild around 2019. To be honest, I think that it is a bit weird to base your repertoire on a specific hyper-famous artist, for instance, Michael Jackson, and then to double the weirdness by naming yourself after this person (even as a pun). I know there are cover bands, tribute artists, and impersonators, but I’ve never understood the logic of doing that. Having a unique identity and reputation and getting work though that personal branding are usually critical for an artist, even a session artist.
Personal branding – yourself, your image, reputation, skills, portfolio, etc., takes time and money to establish. You don’t want to get conflated with anyone else, or confused with others who may be worse than you. Every bit of recognition and credit for your work, however small, must come to you, and to you only. You don’t want to be hard to find. You don’t want a job offer to go to someone else because they have the same name as you. (That’s why my artist’s name, Cōdae, is one-of-a-kind: it’s hard to spell, it’s actually Latin, and it’s trademarked.)
Nevertheless, MVJ is one of a huge number of people all over the world who claim to be experts at dancing and singing like Michael Jackson, and have the same or very similar names – I dare you to search on Youtube. Wow. Very strange. That’s all I can say.
The Lion in Winter
The bottom line is: his moves in these clips are technically perfect, as far as I can tell. And they are perfect for my music videos. I’ve used them a lot. Below is one that features him, “Enter the Lion”. I thought he fitted into the video’s theme of the African lion, because of the idea of “the lion in winter”. MVJ could be in his late forties or early fifties by now, and the expression refers to a strong, proud man who is in the winter of his life, like the character of the aging King Henry VIII of England in James Goldman’s 1966 play of the same name. Traditionally, the symbol of the ruling monarch is the lion. So, in the video are two old lions, neither of whom are to be messed with. Check out the fangs on that lion when it yawns.