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Wade Robson

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Wade Robson
Wade Robson.jpg
Robson in 2008
Born (1982-09-17) 17 September 1982 (age 40)[1]
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Occupation
  • Dancer
  • choreographer
  • songwriter
  • musician
Years active1989 (1989)–present
Spouse
Amanda Rodriguez
(m. 2005)
[2]
Children1
AwardsPrimetime Emmy Award 2007, 2008 Outstanding Choreography
2007 So You Think You Can Dance
Outstanding Choreography
2008 So You Think You Can Dance
Musical career
Genres
Labels
  • Wade Robson Creations
Websitewaderobsoncreations.com

Wade Jeremy William Robson (born 17 September 1982) is an Australian dancer and choreographer. He began performing as a dancer at age five, and has directed music videos and world tours for pop acts such as NSYNC and Britney Spears. Robson was the host and executive producer of The Wade Robson Project, which aired on MTV in 2003. In 2007, he joined the Fox television dance series So You Think You Can Dance as a guest judge and choreographer. He won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Choreography for the dance number "Ramalama (Bang Bang)" of So You Think You Can Dance.

When Robson was a child, he was befriended by the pop singer Michael Jackson. In 1993, when Jackson was first accused of child sexual abuse, Robson, aged 10, told police that nothing sexual had happened between them. In 2005, during Jackson's trial, Robson stated under oath that Jackson had never behaved inappropriately. In 2013, Robson reversed his position and filed a late creditor claim and a civil lawsuit against the Jackson estate, saying that Jackson had abused him from 1990 to 1997, when Robson was aged between seven and 14.[3] He detailed his allegations in the 2019 documentary Leaving Neverland.[4]

Career[edit]

Early career[edit]

Robson was in a talent troupe called Johnny Young's Talent School, and the group did 14 shows a week, usually at venues like shopping malls. When he was nine, Robson moved to the United States with his mother and sister. Michael Jackson assisted them in the move and recruited Robson to appear in three music videos: "Black or White", "Jam", and "Heal the World".[5]

At the age of 11, Robson had an agent. Along with friend DeWayne Turrentine, he formed the hip-hop duo Quo and by the end of the year released an album on Jackson's MJJ Music label[6] through Epic/SME Records. The following year, he was teaching dance classes in Hollywood.[5] He formed a troupe of dancing children, which performed internationally.[7] He received his first choreography job for the R&B group Immature at 14. The job led to others for artists such as Britney Spears. Clients were sometimes reluctant to take direction from Robson, a self-described "skinny little white kid".[5] When Spears first interviewed Robson to choreograph her tour, she exclaimed, "He's a friggin' baby!"; she had expected him to be in his 30s or 40s.[6]

During the late 1990s, while still a teenager, Robson choreographed Spears's Pepsi commercials, including one which aired during the 2001 Super Bowl. He choreographed the performance by NSYNC and Spears at the 1999 Video Music Awards and he co-directed Spears's 1999–2000 world tours as well as NSYNC's 2000 No Strings Attached Tour. In 2001, he choreographed Spears' I'm a Slave 4 U video and was choreographer and director of NSYNC's 2001 PopOdyssey Tour. In the NSYNC music video "Pop", Robson had to fill in for NSYNC member Joey Fatone during several of the dance sequences because of an injury that Fatone sustained at an NSYNC concert the night before the video shoot. That same year, he directed Spears's Dream Within a Dream Tour.[citation needed]

Robson and NSYNC's Justin Timberlake partnered in 2001, co-writing the hit singles "Pop", "Gone", and "See Right Through You" on NSYNC's final album Celebrity. Robson had initially written "Celebrity" for his own album, but was persuaded to let NSYNC record it instead. They also co-wrote Britney Spears' "What It's Like to Be Me", on which Timberlake sang backing vocals. The song's copyright is held jointly by Robson's and Timberlake's respective companies, WaJeRo Sound and Tennman Tunes.[citation needed]

Professional career[edit]

Robson was the creator and host of MTV's The Wade Robson Project, a talent search competition for hip-hop dancers.[8] The program was sponsored by Juice Batteries.[9] In 2002, Robson was named one of Dance Magazine's "25 to Watch".[citation needed]

Dance clothing company Power T Dance developed a line of name-brand consumer dance shoes with Robson. The shoes were distributed in the U.S. through the Ralph Libonati Co.[10] Robson appeared as himself in the 2004 urban dance film You Got Served, which won Best Dance Sequence (Feature Film) at the 2004 American Choreography Awards.[11] Robson joined several other choreographers, such as Mia Michaels and Shane Sparks, on the PULSE Tour, a series of nationwide weekend workshops designed to give dancers the chance to train under top choreographers.[12]

Dancers from So You Think You Can Dance (Season 2) performing the Zombie dance or the "Ramalama (Bang Bang)" which won Wade his first Emmy in 2007

In 2007, Robson began choreographing the American Idols LIVE! Tour. He also choreographed both group and partner pieces for the second and third seasons of So You Think You Can Dance.[citation needed] In September 2007, Robson was awarded a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Choreography for the dance number "Ramalama (Bang Bang)" on (Season 2) of So You Think You Can Dance.[13]

Robson was awarded his second Primetime Emmy Award in 2008 on Season 3 of So You Think You Can Dance for the jazz routine "Humming Bird and the Flower". The show's executive producer Nigel Lythgoe called it "absolutely genius, brilliant, and one of those routines that we will remember on this series for a very long time".[14]

Robson said he and his wife Amanda were hired by singer Britney Spears to direct and choreograph her tour The Circus Starring Britney Spears.[15] Rehearsals were set to begin in January 2009. Robson and his wife were replaced by Jamie King. Spears's team said that Robson had only been hired to choreograph the promotional tour for her album 2008 Circus, which ended in Japan in December 2008.[16][17]

Robson choreographed the animated film Happy Feet Two, released in 2011. He was set to direct Step Up Revolution (released in 2012), but dropped out for personal reasons. He was replaced by Scott Speer.[18]

Michael Jackson[edit]

When Robson was five, he met the American pop singer Michael Jackson, who was touring Australia.[19] Two years later, when Robson visited the US with his family to perform with Johnny Young's Talent School in Disneyland, California, Jackson invited the family to stay with him at his home, Neverland Ranch, also in California.[20] Robson appeared in Jackson's music videos.[21]

In 2005, after Jackson was charged with child sexual abuse, Robson testified in his defense, saying he had slept in Jackson's bedroom several times but had never been molested.[22] Jackson was acquitted.[19] After Jackson's death in 2009, Wade said: "His music, his movement, his personal words of inspiration and encouragement and his unconditional love will live inside of me forever."[23]

In 2013, Robson reversed his position and filed a lawsuit against Jackson's estate.[19] He said that Jackson had sexually abused him on two visits to the US and after he moved with his family to the US, when Robson was aged between seven and 14.[20] Robson said his earlier denial was due to Jackson's "complete manipulation and brainwashing",[19] and that his change of story was provoked by becoming a father and experiencing nervous breakdowns.[20] The allegations by Robson and another man, James Safechuck, are the focus of the 2019 documentary Leaving Neverland.[20]

In 2017, Robson's lawsuit was dismissed as the statute of limitations had expired. It was revived in 2019 after a new law gave those who allege childhood sexual abuse longer to file lawsuits. The case was dismissed again in April 2021, when a judge ruled that Jackson's companies had no legal duty to protect Robson.[21]

Personal life[edit]

Robson dated Michael Jackson's niece Brandi, the daughter of Jackie Jackson, for seven years. Brandi states in the Neverland Firsthand: Investigating the Michael Jackson Documentary, a documentary made in response to Leaving Neverland, that she and Robson met as children during a photoshoot with Michael Jackson. Robson asked Jackson to set the two up. The two were friends for ten years prior to the beginning of their relationship. Brandi also said that Robson cheated on her with Britney Spears during Spears's 1999–2001 tour,[24] ending the pair's relationship, as well as the relationship between Spears and former boyfriend, Justin Timberlake,[25] which implies that Timberlake wrote "Cry Me a River" about Spears cheating on him with Robson.[26] Neither Spears nor Timberlake has commented on these rumors. Robson also dated dancer Mayte Garcia from 2000 until 2001.[27][28]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Wade Robson News, Pictures, and Videos". TMZ.
  2. ^ Maria, Santa (14 June 2005). "Aussies bolster Jackson's defence case". The Age. Melbourne. Retrieved 2 July 2007.
  3. ^ "Wade Robson Asks Michael Jackson Estate To Admit The King of Pop Anally Raped Him And More — READ The Documents". Radaronline.com. 4 August 2014. Retrieved 18 May 2022.
  4. ^ Matt Donnelly (25 January 2019). "'Leaving Neverland': Shocking Moments From Michael Jackson Doc". Variety. Retrieved 18 May 2022.
  5. ^ a b c Roth, Kristin (14 September 2000), "Wade Robson" Rolling Stone (849):120
  6. ^ a b Chiu, Alexis (22 September 2003). "Flash Dancer". People. 60 (12):173–174
  7. ^ Dougherty, Margo (August 2004). "Los Angeles Magazine". Emmis Communications: 74. Retrieved 17 March 2020. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  8. ^ Gonzalez, Isabel C. (9 February 2004). "Ready, Set, Dance!". Time. Retrieved 17 March 2020.
  9. ^ Linnett, Richard; Halliday, Jean; Stanley, T.L. (6 October 2003), "Adages". Advertising Age. 74 (40):44
  10. ^ Newman, Melinda (31 January 2004), "The Darkness Creeps Into The Limelight". Billboard. 116 (5):16
  11. ^ Segal, Lewis (19 October 2004). "Winning moves". Los Angeles Times.
  12. ^ "PULSING with WADE ROBSON". Dance Magazine (November 2006). 80 (11):16
  13. ^ "Primetime Awards" Emmys.tv. Retrieved 31 August 2007
  14. ^ So You Think You Can Dance, 27 June 2007
  15. ^ Wade Robson @ M.A.D. Studios, Singapore on YouTube
  16. ^ Kreps, Daniel (23 December 2008). "Spears' "Circus" Tour picks up Madonna choreographer as father's financial hold grows stronger". Rolling Stone. ISSN 0035-791X.
  17. ^ Jeff C (23 December 2008). "Wade Robson Out, Jamie King In For Britney Spears' Tour | popdirt.com". popdirt.com. Retrieved 17 March 2020.
  18. ^ Gallagher, Brian (3 May 2011). "'Step Up 4' Lands Director Scott Speer". Movieweb. Retrieved 17 March 2020.
  19. ^ a b c d Duke, Alan (8 May 2013). "Michael Jackson defender files sex abuse claim". CNN. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  20. ^ a b c d "Australian choreographer tells of sexual abuse in Michael Jackson documentary". The Guardian. 28 February 2019. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  21. ^ a b Dalton, Andrew (26 April 2021). "Judge tosses lawsuit of man who alleged Jackson molestation". ABC News. Retrieved 26 April 2021.
  22. ^ "Child sex abuse claims against Michael Jackson dismissed as untimely". The Guardian. Associated Press. 28 May 2015. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 30 January 2019.
  23. ^ "Jackson's Australian confidant speaks out". Sydney Morning Herald. Sydney, Australia: Fairfax Media. 27 June 2009. Retrieved 10 February 2019.
  24. ^ "Brandi Jackson on 'Neverland' and Wade Robson: 'It's Very Upsetting to See What He Would do to a Friend'". Billboard. 4 April 2019.
  25. ^ Sources:
  26. ^ Tracy, Brianne (4 March 2019). "What to Know About Michael Jackson Accuser Wade Robson". PEOPLE.com. Retrieved 17 March 2020.
  27. '^ "Survivors Colleen lands a major movie role". EW.com. 28 September 2000. Retrieved 7 August 2020.
  28. ^ Gladstone, Valerie (July 2001). "DANCE; A Teenager Who Dispenses All the Right Moves". The New York Times.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]