Wade Jeremy William Robson
17 September 1982
Amanda Rodriguez (m. 2005)
|Awards||Primetime Emmy Award 2007, 2008 Outstanding Choreography |
2007 So You Think You Can Dance
2008 So You Think You Can Dance
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 artists such as NSYNC and Britney Spears. Robson was the host and executive producer for 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 judge and choreographer.
Robson was friends with singer Michael Jackson as a child. When Jackson was charged with child sexual abuse, Robson testified under oath at Jackson's trial, saying that Jackson had never abused him. In 2013, he reversed his position, saying Jackson had abused him. His allegations, and those of James Safechuck, are the subject of the 2019 documentary Leaving Neverland.
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".
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 through Epic/SME Records. The following year, he was teaching dance classes in Hollywood. He formed a troupe of dancing children, which performed internationally. 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". 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.
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.
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.
Robson was the creator and host of MTV's The Wade Robson Project, a talent search competition for hip-hop dancers. The program was sponsored by Juice Batteries. In 2002, Robson was named one of Dance Magazine's "25 to Watch".
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. 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. Robson has 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.
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. 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. The choreography continues to be one of the show's more memorable group performances to date.
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 performance was lauded by the show's executive producer Nigel Lythgoe, who called it "absolutely genius, brilliant, and one of those routines that we will remember on this series for a very long time."
Robson and his wife Amanda were hired by Britney Spears to direct and choreograph The Circus Starring Britney Spears. When asked about working on the tour, Robson said, "My wife and I are co-writing it and designing it. I'll choreograph probably a third of it and I'll hire other choreographers for different sections. We're in the midst of that." Rehearsals were set to begin in January 2009, however Robson and his wife were ultimately replaced by Jamie King. Spears's representatives explained that Robson was only hired to choreograph the promotional tour for Circus, which ended in Japan in December 2008.
Robson choreographed the animated feature film Happy Feet Two, released in 2011. He originally was set to direct Step Up Revolution, (released in 2012), but dropped out of the project for personal reasons. He was replaced by Scott Speer.
Robson dated Michael Jackson's niece Brandi, the daughter of Jackie Jackson for 7 years. Brandi states in the online Leaving Neverland counter-documentary Neverland Firsthand: Investigating the Michael Jackson Documentary, that Robson and she met as children during a photoshoot with her uncle; Robson became attracted to Brandi and then asked Jackson to set the two up. The two were friends for ten years prior to the beginning of their relationship. Brandi also states that Robson cheated on her with Britney Spears during the latter's 1999–2001 tour, ending the pair's relationship, as well as the relationship between Spears and former boyfriend, Justin Timberlake; implying that Timberlake wrote "Cry Me a River" about Spears cheating on him with Robson. Neither Spears nor Timberlake has confirmed whether these rumors are true or not. Robson also dated Mayte Garcia in 2001.
Relationship with Michael Jackson
When Robson was five years old, he met Michael Jackson, who was touring Australia. 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. 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. Jackson was acquitted. 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."
In 2013, Robson stated 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. Robson said his earlier denial was due to Jackson's "complete manipulation and brainwashing", and that his change of story was provoked by becoming a father and experiencing nervous breakdowns in 2011 and 2012. In 2015, Robson's case was dismissed by a Los Angeles judge, ruling that Robson had missed the 12-month statutory deadline after Jackson's death. The judge did not rule on the credibility of the allegations. The allegations by Robson and another man, James Safechuck, are the focus of the 2019 documentary Leaving Neverland. On 13 August 2019, pieces of Wade Robson's 2016 video deposition were leaked online in a video which argues that Robson has contradicted the allegations that he and his mother Joy made in Leaving Neverland.
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