From the minute Lady Gaga burst onto the music scene it was immediately apparent that the pop diva is as much a visual virtuoso as she is a musical one. It was no surprise, then, that when Richy Jackson -- choreographer to the stars -- was invited to a Hollywood studio to see Gaga dance in 2011, he was immediately captivated. The two creative geniuses clicked and Jackson went on to choreograph most of Gaga's iconic dance moments of the past decade.
Still at Gaga's side, Jackson is now forging the same kind of collaboration with former Dance Moms dancer and teen megastar JoJo Siwa, whose song "Boomerang" has been certified platinum. Naturally, we had a few questions for the creative powerhouse:
What is your proudest moment with Lady Gaga?
Last year's Super Bowl. "Bad Romance" and "Telephone" were [also] very proud moments.
What have you learned from collaborating with Gaga?
I think we've [both] learned to continue pushing our creative bubbles. She'll challenge me to try this or go with that. I'll say, "OK, how do we make it faster or slower? How do we turn it another way?" I always think about where we've come from and where we're going. For instance, for "John Wayne," I knew that was about her intense relationships with men, so I wanted the dance to feel rougher. I loved the couple section I created for her where she's hopping on the guy's back and still dancing and singing. That's the beauty of our organic, creative relationship: We both keep trying to expand each other's bubble.
Where do you see the dance industry going?
I see [it] wedging and separating itself. You will have mainstream dancers and people who work for artists, do commercials, and do movies. The other half is internet-driven, where those young kids and choreographers will sort of stay in that world because it's a different ballgame. A choreographer who is on the internet working with dancers is promoting themselves, and that's not a bad thing. But in the professional world, you're working with artists.
Have you been inspired by dances you've seen online?
I see a lot of different styles and dance moves on the internet. That's cool, but I would never put that on one of my artists because I'm always thinking about how to expand their brand as opposed to how to make them like everyone else. I'd rather them be leaders and show the public something else.