Connect with Mic…
EP 40: Mic Thompson (autogenerated)
Dane Reis: [00:00:00] You booked it. Episode 40. Hey, entertainers and performers of the world. I’m your host, Dane Reis. And welcome to you. Booked it where I chat with inspiring entertainers, seven days a week. By digging into their journey. We’re going to discover everything you need to do to be a successful entertainer, you know, because training usually skips that part about how to actually make your skills work for you in the real world.
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[00:01:24] All righty, let’s get started. I am excited to introduce my guest today. Mick Thompson, are you ready for this mic? All right. Mick began dancing at the age of 10 and by the time he was 15, he was, was named the U S ballroom Latin champion. Soon after mixed career took off where he began dancing with his favorite recording artists, including Michael Jackson for eight years.
[00:01:54] Diana Ross, Paula Abdul Wynonna Judd, Vanessa Williams, Tracy omen and Jennifer Lopez. He was a regular on the Dick Clark’s TV series, your big break comedy Central’s of the man show. And Jay Leno’s the tonight show Mick was also featured on the films, haunted mansion pirates of the Caribbean, the majestic, the wedding planner, dance with me, and as the lead ballroom dancer in the Disney film and chanted, his choreography can be seen around the globe at the Lido de Patrie Disney’s Tarzan.
[00:02:29] Award-winning shows in Mexico, China onboard carnival cruise lines and the national tour of Dolly Parton’s. Hello, I’m Dolly MC is a sought after choreographer for dozens of celebrities and commercial clients. Now, once theaters opened back up, mic is looking forward to the opening of the West end of London at new musical, the leopard song, where he works as the head choreographer.
[00:02:54] The highlights of his career include being selected as a choreographer of the month for the special millennium issue of dance, spirit magazine, and winning a nomination for swinging on a star for best choreography from the NAACP. Mic that is a quick intro of who you are and what you’ve done, but why don’t you tell us a little bit more about yourself, fill in the gaps, if you will, who you are, where you’re from, where you’re currently calling home and a little bit more about what you do as a professional in the entertainment
[00:03:28] Mic Thompson: [00:03:28] Well, thanks so much for letting me be one of your guests and I’m looking forward to telling you a little bit more about this story that I believe with a big. Dream come true in a colorful life story. So this is all starting from me when I was young. As you mentioned, I was a bond dancer. But once I received the championship, I really didn’t know what to do with my career.
[00:03:49] And then I was told that there’s a dance world out there and not Vegas for people that are tall and condense like my self. So next thing I know it, I graduated from high school, young. I graduated as a sophomore and asked my mom and dad, if I could go ahead and, and start my career and they were.
[00:04:06] Skeptical, but I was the youngest of five and I just knew how to get my way. So they agreed and the rise of a distance in Modesto, California, without going to school, which wasn’t going to be a pretty picture either. So they said, go ahead. And then I went to Las Vegas, started dancing in the, big extravaganzas because that then.
[00:04:28] They had, you know, every hotel in Las Vegas had what they called an extravaganza, which had between female dancers minimum. In each of them. So the talent male dancers. Now this style of dancing was not what you saw in New York musical theater or in ballet or tap, not even in Los Angeles, jazz, it was its own.
[00:04:51] It had a mix of everything, but it was a style that a bone dancer could pick up. If you had some extra to learn a new style. So by letting go of my partner, I let my upper body funky. And the Crowdsurfer, his name was well known for a, the funkiest choreographer, in Las Vegas at the time. So this style was easy for me to catch onto.
[00:05:19] And within five days I was already cast and plugged into the rehearsals for a extravaganza called casino. They pre. So, this is what brought me out of my bar and career into the jazz element, musical theater, and then everything kind of just started blooming from there. Once you got that training and that experience and about Vegas, I was then able to touch my foot into this Hollywood, where I began living with my brother and stayed in his apartment while I scooped ice cream Haggadah.
[00:05:53] Well, soon after that, Debbie Allen. And some of the cast from Fein TV show appeared at DIA harness in which I was keeping asking. And as I was skipping their ice cream, I was trying to pitch myself. So yeah. Oh, I’m a dancer and this and that and that, well come to find out. She asked me to go to the MGM studios, the following day to be an extra for one of their things I was thrown.
[00:06:22] And, The cast that was there. The hug of us actually agreed to pick me up on the corner with ask him store was the next morning to take me to MGM. Even though I was an extra, they would be kind enough to bring me over there. So as we drove down to MGM, I would, my way, they went their way. I did the scene as extra, but by the end of the day, Debbie Allen and odor Sylvie, who was her assistant.
[00:06:48] Walk me down the streets at the MGM studios to another, to another studio and open up the booth huge doors. And there was defend dancers where I just seem to routine for what we’re going to film for that episode. And it was a rock Romeo and Juliet phones were really cute. And they told me that I’m now going to be part of this group.
[00:07:11] So the big Hollywood story that came to life was Debbie Allen on Hollywood Boulevard, scooping ice cream. And the next thing, you know, within two or three days, I was a regular on the TV show fame. And now mind you, these dancers were divas. They were technically trained in every way. So for me to come in there with little training, I had a lot of energy.
[00:07:36] I was told that my part was going to be the one that looked like I was trying really, really hard. I had personality that overdid everybody and that’s what they needed for this show. And so this was my little tag into LA. So whenever you saw Mick Thompson, I didn’t, I did. You would see a guy smiling so hard, you wouldn’t even watch the dancing because you’re, you’re fascinated by this guy doing more personality or as an disappeared, which was not a bad thing.
[00:08:07] And so again, now I’m up with the, I’m working with the, doing wigs in Los Angeles, but being not as such a girl. I was able to make up for energy and personality. This is what I’m trying to convey to you guys out there is that there’s going to be a way for you to enjoy your career. That’s going to make you stand out in the crowd, so to speak.
[00:08:28] So, this is kind of like my little reputation. Yeah. And then, it eventually led to doing TV shows and then Michael Jackson, as you mentioned, and that’s how I became popular in Los Angeles. And this is a big Hollywood dream come true for me, cause it still is going on as we speak. what couple of things I didn’t tell you about was that I’m currently on the TV show for so time.
[00:08:54] Can we dreadful to the angels. I was in seven episodes. This last season. There’s a group of us that were all cast as dancers. And we, we did the, the full TV series and then coming out, I believe in October, you’ll be seeing the musical prom on Netflix with no street, Nicole Kidman. And this was a musical that was on Broadway and they turned it into a film.
[00:09:20] And, I was one of the New York guests, so you’ll see me plenty in the opening, 10 or 15 minutes of the movie. It was, we over acted. We were very animated, cause it’s a campy film, so it was really fun to do. And so these are the types of movies and films that I’m actually continuing doing even at this time in my life, you know, cause now I’m in my fifties.
[00:09:44] Dane Reis: [00:09:44] Yeah, that’s amazing. Your career is just absolutely bonkers. And I love having this opportunity to chat with you about, and have you share that story and your insights, in this industry. but let’s move on to this next section. And look, I am a sucker for a good quote. What is, what is your favorite quote that you’d like to share with everyone?
[00:10:10] Mic Thompson: [00:10:10] a good cheer is always the best quote for me because it’s simple. And it just always just is a nice quote that I say to myself when I just feel like I’m thinking too much about something that, you know, we all went our we’re thinking. And so why take a time? That’s thinking that’s not necessarily happy.
[00:10:32] So be a good chair. And I love that quote. It just turned things around instantly for me.
[00:10:39] Dane Reis: [00:10:39] Absolutely. I love that. Yeah. And let’s move to this part. And of course, Mick, you are an amazing entertainer. I am an entertainer. And I think that you would agree that this industry is one of the most subjective brutally.
[00:10:55] Honest can also be one of the most personally emotional industries that we experience and, you know, as well as I, that in order to create and have. A successful career in this industry, like you had your entire life takes a lot of dedication and hard work. And while yeah, we have a lot of fun and there’s loads of excitement being on stage, being on film.
[00:11:20] There are also our fair share of obstacles and challenges and failures that. Are inevitably going to come up and we’re going to have to move forward through. So tell us what is one key challenge, obstacle or failure that you experienced in your career and how did you come out the other side better because of it?
[00:11:41] Mic Thompson: [00:11:41] Well, I would think that the way things. I have everything in the eighties and nineties was that I didn’t take any type of, you know, cut as a negative thing. I was always looking at well that’s when that the other kids got on me, you know, that heavenly father and, you know, cause I always believed that, you know, this entertainment is blessed.
[00:12:04] And I would like to think that, who has been cast is meant to be there, you know? And so you want to be excited and happy for them. And that totally eliminates the. Depression or the sadness you feel about being cut or, you know, and, and having have been turned into a hard situation for yourself now it’s easier said than done.
[00:12:23] Cause sometimes I know it’s, it’s hard when you’re really, really pushing for it. Or if you really want a part that’s really, really bad and you want to dance in this, in this, in this movie or in this commercial and you don’t get the parts, then, you know, You will look around and sometimes it is what I did better.
[00:12:40] I know I haven’t been in LA. It’s always going to be about the look of who the casting people see to represent their, their products. That’s the end of the story. You don’t, it doesn’t matter what you look like or anything. Now, when your dad is seen as a dancer, that’s going to be about your look, your body type and your dancing, not necessarily your personality because you’re backup, dancing, you know?
[00:13:09] So you don’t want to assign too much, you know, because then you’ll be like, okay, get out of my way. You’re in the back line now.
[00:13:19] Where it says on solid gold or fame on these TV shows where the dancers have each year, that’s where you gone to the person nowadays. It makes sure that you are defined as a character in the show. So you are constantly thinking about on presentation. And that’s a big, big thing for me. because of one of the first things I ever heard from a audience participants.
[00:13:41] I didn’t remember that watched me perform when I was 10. Was that, Oh my gosh, you smile all the time. It’s so noticeable. Well, it’s really, it’s a really likable trait trait, and I just took that right away and use that. That key for me was the people like to see. And I noticed that I don’t see that as a lot.
[00:14:03] I see diva dancing on television these days, amazing champion level beyond champion, and yet they do not smile or care as much to perform, to let us into their hearts and souls by their facial. Allowance. I don’t know if that makes any sense. Absolutely. Okay. So, this is what I tried to always emphasize when I’m teaching and this is why I’m a Disney animator choreographer as well.
[00:14:33] As you know, I’ve been choreographing for the Disney company since 1993. I’ve been used as, in yoga, but GABAA is Muno. I’m the original Muno. I did scales the dragon for the little mermaid for Jim Hanson, and also I’m called in to be a choreographer and a dancer on a talent dancer. That’s being hired to be hooked up on to these, knobs and, and, Ticks and tacks all over my body, which pick up animation movement from my dancing.
[00:15:05] And they post them in certain Disney projects, such as California adventure, world of color. You’ll see me, you’ll see my dancing and my body movement exploding. lots of the characters that you’ll see in that show, things like this. So, this is a way at this time of my life. I’m a animation motion picture capture specialist.
[00:15:28] So when I look at challenges and failures, I have to admit that you come across the people that you don’t just jive with. And that’s a sign of saying don’t. Put your energy here. Okay. Because there’s plenty of people that write the energy and they would love more of it here. So it may not be the money road, but it’s going to be the road.
[00:15:51] That’s going to be infested with the people that want to absorb what you have to offer. And it’s going to be a positive experience and it will turn out to be where you need to put your time and your so you’ll never feel that that failure.
[00:16:09] Dane Reis: [00:16:09] Essentially inverted the entire situation, and you’ve turned it all into either a lesson or positivity and support for your fellow artists and dancers.
[00:16:18] And through that, it has created a more fulfilling artistic life for yourself.
[00:16:25] Mic Thompson: [00:16:25] It’s so true because at the end of the day in my heart, I believe the talent and an art are gifts that we get from above and that we do use them in. The light and not the dark. And it’s going to bring people out to enjoy their gifts, as well as entertaining those, to watch our gifts.
[00:16:48] And if you given this gift, it would be utilized. If you just go to the journey where the light is shiny. If that makes any sense and not because there’s too many people that are just trying to rock that because they want this trunk or they want this check. But instead of just finding those other places, other outlets to be called, you know, you’re, you don’t want to be thinking about where you should be or who’s in the way of you doing this on your
[00:17:17] Dane Reis: [00:17:17] own.
[00:17:18] Absolutely. Well, let’s move on to this next section now to a time that I like to call your spotlight moment. That one moment in time that you realized, yes, I am going to be an entertainer for a living or maybe it was, yes, this is what I need to be doing as an entertainer. Tell us about that.
[00:17:40] Mic Thompson: [00:17:40] Well, I know that the time and the place where this spotlight.
[00:17:45] Incident happened to me. I was 17 years old and my, I was hired to go to the world’s fair, the road fair in a place called Gatlinburg, Tennessee show at the IMAX theater, where they had this rising stage. And, you know, and you dance in front of a video screen. It was like, wow. And I’m singing in it, but we were lip sinky.
[00:18:12] So it was the dancer scene job, which I really wanted to do, but I didn’t have the boy. So you get a chance to sync and act and even talk over. Other words was another phase of personality expression. So my mother and father to see me in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, and, I just remember being on the side stage.
[00:18:39] Through my pup goes America, knowing that my mom was down there, I felt this rest of the spirit letting me testify that said, this is what your mom and dad are going to be proud of. You are because here you are dancing and seeing, and it’s just, you know, what’s up with the fun, happy, happy, happy, because you show, you know, and I just knew that they were delighted.
[00:19:00] And my mom and I just, I just, I just, I think I started crying up there because the spirit was so strong to me to give you that spotlight testimony that I’m doing the right thing. I
[00:19:11] Dane Reis: [00:19:11] love that story. It’s so good. And let’s piggyback on that question and let’s talk about your number one book moment. Walk us through that day, the auditions and call backs.
[00:19:23] If those happened to be a part of it, what was going on in your life and. What about that moment? Makes it your favorite book moment?
[00:19:33] Mic Thompson: [00:19:33] Well, I would like to say that the book, that moment would have been the Michael Jackson experience because, but I was best friends with the choreographer. And, therefore he didn’t never, he never, ever tried to get me in.
[00:19:47] She’s a Michael Jackson thing and telly became the choreographer. The best Smith was Michael Jackson, Becca dancer. He’s the other guy that was right next to Michael since he left his brothers. And he and I became best friends since we met on the Academy awards, the year that we were together, we became roommates.
[00:20:05] And I remember him coming home and telling me that he just looked the Michael Jackson tour. With friends of mine. And so he was, there was one thing, but in 1993 it became Michael Jackson Lee choreographer. So then he asked me, he goes, Nick, I really want you to audition. You audition for Michael. It’s only one thing.
[00:20:28] You gotta be better than them all. Cause everybody knows we’re best friends. And if I give you the job, but you’re not the best, they’re just friends. That’s why. So.
[00:20:41] Once I got onto the job and we did our first presentation, Michael Jackson then booked me as his shadow dancer, which is this spot that you do not blip in the car for it. This is the choice of Michael Jackson. I was able to point of view grip this spot as his spotlight. Now, I mean, as, as the background shadow, and this is the, the, place.
[00:21:05] Placement on stage where you are always on camera. You’re always in every picture. You’re this, the shadow. So it was a beautiful place to go, but I had a, just Michael, and this is a book that memory that will always be special to me.
[00:21:21] Dane Reis: [00:21:21] That is amazing. I can only imagine that is such an incredible experience to dance with Michael Jackson.
[00:21:28] Mic Thompson: [00:21:28] It was, I mean, now we’re talking now, so now here I was now I’m doing jazz and doing all these curly hair, blond surfer movies, and being used for, you know, my, California look. But now I’m asked to do Michael Jackson and I didn’t even realize, I didn’t really even know if I got that funky. Right. And the was like, I’m not worried about that.
[00:21:50] I know you can get funky. So when I went to the audition, I just relaxed and I kinda. Didn’t want to put any pressure on me. I just said, you know what, I’m just going to mimic what they do, you know? So it was kind of like a sarcastic mimic moment, like, Oh, I got ya. And, and just kind of like, if somebody was trying to mimic me, they would be going all hyper and everything and I’ve seen it done, but this one, I just did it, but it seemed to work.
[00:22:18] Cause it, it just, it put me down on this. Different kinds of, you know, cause Michael Jackson is not necessarily, hard as it is stylized and, and struck. So, so, you know, this is why I was able to do this without being a diva ballerina or diva tap dancer and stuff like that. We had those within the cast.
[00:22:38] But my part was just to dance, you know, and it didn’t really have to do much. I had, I had good extension at that time, so I’d do a couple bottles, layouts and stuff, but that was about my bag of tricks. Anyway, for me to be in that environment with these dancers that were coming from all types of backgrounds, but United together during the Michael Jackson style, it was a.
[00:23:02] Major blow to me because the energy was surrounded everywhere and everyone was so nice. The cast that he actually had. Where just, you know, we became a family for sure. You know, and Michael Jackson, he, his energy was always positive, never cruel. He never, smart mouth to anybody. He never showed his evenness.
[00:23:27]he was, just, you know, he was great. You know, his energy was very positive and loving and talented. I mean, he mostly thought about his music and his part. Know, he just always knew that we were going to be beyond it on their own. You know, he didn’t have to worry about it. This is what was happening with me for about nine years.
[00:23:47] I was also in the, the, a mini movie called ghost Michael Jackson’s ghost, which they cast me as the cast, me, his uncle creeks, Lee. So you’ll see me in there, but a lot of fun shots in that. And the choreography is off the hook in that video. If you really want to see some Democrat, if you check out ghosts.
[00:24:13] Dane Reis: [00:24:13] Fantastic. Well, let’s take a moment to talk about the present. What. Projects are you working on now? What are you looking forward to? And of course we are amidst this global pandemic. How do you see the industry moving forward in the next couple of years?
[00:24:31] Mic Thompson: [00:24:31] Well, it’s going viral. it seems like everybody’s jumping on the Bible wagon.
[00:24:37] Which I have not put my heart and soul into because that takes away from the connection in which I believe I’m meant to be. I’m going to keep myself open for more, no travels, whether they’re social distance thing conferences, but I get a chance to go. And everyone’s in their own space that the convention big enough to hold a bunch of dance so I can be there by for them.
[00:24:59] But that would be what my, but I guess dance that. I’m staying within the trilogy musical theater. I think for the rest of my career, I love the children’s musicals. I’ve been, yeah, I’m doing them a lot. And trying to, and the company town square productions, which is a company from Don to friends, he has partnered with the same company I’ve been working with in China for the last nine years to bring all those same musicals that we’ve been doing in China to just send that 20,000 leagues under the sea Alice through the looking glass.
[00:25:33] I’m a Latin energy map. Pinocchio. We’re bringing the same musical I’ve worked on in China to New York at his children’s theater, that they are building in New York with social distancing in mind. So it’s going to be a new type of a children’s theater and he has dinner with them and they’ve asked me to be the choreographer for these musical.
[00:25:53] So it will be an in house from an it position for me, which I haven’t had. I don’t think since I began my career.
[00:26:01] Dane Reis: [00:26:01] So
[00:26:02] Mic Thompson: [00:26:02] the future for me is in the theater, such as the West end London and also the children’s musical theater, which I work with in Korea, China, Reno, and
[00:26:14] Dane Reis: [00:26:14] New York. Fantastic. And. Well, let’s move on to one of my favorite sections in the interview.
[00:26:21] I call it the grease lightening round.
[00:26:24] Mic Thompson: [00:26:24] I am
[00:26:25] Dane Reis: [00:26:25] going to ask you a handful of questions and I want you to answer them quickly and concisely one after another. Are you ready? Let’s do it. First question. What was the one thing holding you back from committing to a career as an entertainer,
[00:26:43] Mic Thompson: [00:26:43] right? Or the young woman?
[00:26:47] Dane Reis: [00:26:47] Great. And second question. What is the best piece of advice you have ever received
[00:26:53] Mic Thompson: [00:26:53] that your smile eliminated? The flip, please keep smiling.
[00:26:58] Dane Reis: [00:26:58] Love it. Third question. What is something that is working for you right now, or if you’d like to go pre COVID? What was working for you before our industry went on?
[00:27:10] Mic Thompson: [00:27:10] bringing animation and movement too. So then, and kids around the world who musical theater training.
[00:27:18] Dane Reis: [00:27:18] Love it. Fourth question. What is the best resource? Whether that is a book, a movie, a YouTube video, a podcast, maybe a piece of technology that you found is helping your career right now,
[00:27:31] Mic Thompson: [00:27:31] Mary Poppins, step in time.
[00:27:37] Dane Reis: [00:27:37] Fifth question. If you had to start your career from scratch. But you still had all the knowledge and experience you’ve collected from your career in this industry, what would you do or not do? Would you do anything differently or would you keep it the same?
[00:27:54] Mic Thompson: [00:27:54] I would have kept it exactly the same.
[00:27:57] Dane Reis: [00:27:57] Love it.
[00:27:58] And the last question. What is the golden nugget knowledge drop you’ve learned from your successful career in this industry that you’d like to leave with our listeners.
[00:28:10] Mic Thompson: [00:28:10] Don’t take it down and give it away. Don’t grab it.
[00:28:14] Dane Reis: [00:28:14] Love it. And to wrap up this interview, it is time to give yourself a plug. Where can we find you?
[00:28:21] How do we connect with you? Is there anything you want to promote?
[00:28:25] Mic Thompson: [00:28:25] Well, please stay connected to my channel, which is Mickey Thompson choreography channel on YouTube. And I would love for you to subscribe. I will be posted up Robert stuff that comes up and things that I’m mostly just my work. I put on this as not confused me as to what is my choreography, but, and, that’s about it.
[00:28:44] I have only that resource that I use in my Facebook pretty much because I, I, you know, use my own promotions. I promote myself through LinkedIn and Facebook.
[00:28:56] Dane Reis: [00:28:56] Fantastic. Well, Mick, thank you so much for joining me today. It has been an absolute honor and pleasure to have you on
[00:29:04] Mic Thompson: [00:29:04] my pleasure today. And I’m greatly appreciative for you to ask me to be part of your podcast series and on today’s episode.
[00:29:13] It’s great to know that you’re there when Lisa and I miss you guys,
[00:29:16] Dane Reis: [00:29:16] we miss you. Thank you so much for joining us today. My one call to action for you is to go to youbookeditpodcast.com and join our free email community. Where we dig deep into a continually growing resource of truly actionable things you can be doing right now to help you advance your entertainment career.
[00:29:40] Don’t miss an episode. We have a new guest, seven days a week search for you, booked it on Apple podcast or your favorite podcast app and subscribe today. All the best to you. We’ll see you tomorrow.