North Carolina-born, Atlanta-raised JaQuel Knight is what you’d call a choreographer and creative director to the stars. Having worked with everyone–from Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears to relative newcomers Vanessa Money and Liam Payne–his most notable bit of choreo came when then-engaged mega-star Beyonce tapped Knight to direct her new video for “Single Ladies“. The dance immediately went viral, Bey got married to Jay and the rest is history. Well, almost.
Since creating the “put a ring on it” move back in 2008, Knight’s personal career has exploded, including trips across the globe, teaching seminars and giving private dance lessons to music’s elite and less fortunate Knight-fans alike. Billboard caught up with Knight to chat about his busy schedule, which songs he’s super into right now (see DJ Khaled) and what he’s got in the pipeline (hint: it could be a major reality TV show).
It’s been a busy summer for you! What do you have going on?
My summers are packed with work. I force myself to take a week off in July, but that’s my first break of the year and I’m sure I’ll end up working. In terms of a typical week, I’ll start prepping and choreographing a gig here in LA for a couple days, then I’ll fly to London and be there for 4-5 days, then I’ll go finish a job in New York, and then back to LA for a few days, and then back to New York. My suitcase is always packed and it’s non-stop. It’s 8 to 16 hour days, in the studio with the client or in a rehearsal or a meeting. I also consider wherever I am going out part of my work. It’s always important to go out to the clubs and see what people are doing. So you start at 9am and you finish at 4am. You back at it again the next day.
For lots of people that would seem tiring, but glamorous. What’s the toughest part?
I think the toughest part that people find glamorous is definitely the traveling. Every time I’m somewhere, people are like “oh you’re in London living it up”. They think I’m out seeing sights,…