A backup dancer also known as background dancer is a performer who dances with or behind the lead performers in a live musical act or in a music video. Their movements (especially where there are many moving together) provide a visual symmetry and rhythm to accompany the music.
Some notable performers began their music careers as backup dancers for other artists, including:
- Kevin Federline (for Britney Spears, Michael Jackson, Justin Timberlake, Gwen Stefani, Pink, Christina Milian, and LFO)
- FKA twigs
- Cris Judd (for ex-wife Jennifer Lopez' 2001 video "Love Don't Cost a Thing")
- Jennifer Lopez (for the New Kids on the Block, MC Hammer and Janet Jackson's 1993 video "That's the Way Love Goes")
- Rain (for Park Jin-young and Park Ji-yoon)
- Tupac Shakur (for the Digital Underground)
- Michael K. Williams
|This section is incomplete. (March 2015)|
On 25 February 2015, a backup dancer performing with Madonna at the Brit Awards accidentally pulled Madonna backwards down a small flight of stairs when performing an act that involved pulling a cape off of Madonna's neck. Madonna quickly recovered and continued with the show, and later attributed the accident to the cape being tied too tightly.
In September 2014, three backup dancers for Cher sued the performer for wrongful termination based upon allegations of racial discrimination. At the time, Cher's publicist denied any wrongdoing, stating that "the accusations are ridiculous" and that "they couldn’t be further from the truth". In the lawsuit, it was stated that the dancers were informed that the firing occurred to "save costs on the tour". The lawsuit sought over $10 million in damages.
Balinese dancers in 1937 performing in a kecak
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- Tupac Shakur – Thug Angel (The Life of an Outlaw). 2002.
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- Edwards, Paul, 2009, How to Rap: The Art & Science of the Hip-Hop MC, Chicago Review Press, p. 330.
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- "Meet Jay-Z and Beyonce`s Incredible Backup Dancers". Yahoo News. 24 July 2014. Retrieved 4 March 2015.
- Spiegel, Amy Rose (11 June 2013). "How Do You Even Become A Backup Dancer?". BuzzFeed. Retrieved 4 March 2015.
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- "Pictured: The teen dancer Demi Lovato 'attacked in aeroplane fight' before checking into rehab". Daily Mail. 4 November 2010. Retrieved 4 March 2015.