Choreographer for Michael Jackson, Madonna, Paul McCartney, comi - | WBTV Charlotte

Choreographer for Michael Jackson, Madonna, Paul McCartney, coming to Catawba College

Picture courtesy Vincent Paterson Picture courtesy Vincent Paterson

Vincent Paterson, a legendary director and choreographer and the man behind some of Madonna and Michael Jackson’s most signature and renowned dance moves, will visit Catawba College on Friday, August 25th.

Paterson will lead a master class for Catawba students, their fellow students from area colleges and universities, and students from area high schools between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Thereafter, Paterson will offer sage advice and insights during a 4 to 6 p.m. “Inside the Choreographer’s Studio” session open to students and community members.  Tickets for “Inside the Choreographer’s Studio,” scheduled on campus in Catawba’s Robertson College-Community Center, are available for purchase online at

Catawba Theatre Arts Department Chair Beth Homan notes that Paterson’s visit is due to the generosity of donors and marks what she hopes will be the first in a series of potential dance symposia at the college.  She says she is pleased to have theater students from various colleges and universities, including 25 from Catawba, as well as students from A.L. Brown, Charlotte Latin, and Providence Day High Schools, committed to participate in Paterson’s master class.

Catawba’s Adjunct Professor of Dance, Tod A. Kubo, a professional director and choreographer, has taken the lead on planning and organizing the August 25th event.  He calls Paterson “approachable” and “generous” with his ideas and advice.  Kubo encouraged those who marveled at Paterson’s work on Madonna’s “Blonde Ambition” tour and Michael Jackson’s “Bad” tour, as well as in Cirque Du Soleil, Broadway productions, and numerous other award-winning films, to attend the “Inside the Choreographer’s Studio” event, Paterson’s behind the scenes interview.

Paterson’s career spans nearly every genre of the entertainment industry, including film, theater, Broadway, commercials, television, music videos, concert tours and opera. A dancer in his early career, he danced for Shirley MacLaine and was Barbara Mandrell's partner for two years on her TV series. He appeared in numerous TV specials with Linda Carter, Cheryl Ladd, and the Osmonds, and partnered with both Olivia Newton John and Diana Ross in music videos. He was one of the two fighter dancers in Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” video clip and was assistant choreographer and a zombie dancer in Jackson’s “Thriller.”  He choreographed Madonna in the film, “Evita,” and directed and choreographed the musical sequences in Lars Von Trier’s film, “Dancer in the Dark.”

Paterson choreographed the videos "Hot for Teacher" for Van Halen and "California Girls" for David Lee Roth, as well as videos for George Harrison, Donna Summer, Sheena Easton, Paul McCartney, and Julie Brown.  He has also has choreographed over 250 commercials including commercial campaigns for Nike, GE, Pepsi and Rubbermaid.

He directed the opera “Manon” for both the Los Angeles Opera and the Berlin Staatsopera which was conducted in Los Angeles by Plácido Domingo and starred soprano Anna Netrebko and her partner Rolando Villazon. In 2009, he directed and wrote Cirque Du Soleil’s "Elvis" presented at the Las Vegas CityCenter.

He is featured in the Smithsonian publication, "Masters of Movement: Portraits of America's Greatest Choreographers,” and a documentary about his life, "The Man Behind The Throne," has been shown nationally and internationally. Paterson earned a Tony nomination for his work in "Kiss of the Spiderwoman," starring Chita Rivera on Broadway.

Tickets for “Inside the Choreographer’s Studio,” scheduled in the Robertson College-Community Center on campus, between 4 and 6 p.m. on Friday, August 25th, are $20 each and available for purchase online at

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