For one young Vietnamese boy, the answers to these and many of life’s other big questions were found at the most unique source: the unmistakable dance moves of none other than The King of Pop, Michael Jackson.
Tu Michael began to emulate Michael Jackson’s dancing at age 11, while in the 6th grade. Three years later, he performed for the first time at his school’s English Festival. Then, while attending the Institute of International Relations, he formed a group called “Moondancers”, who began performing frequently at clubs, parties, and corporate promotional events.
Tu Michael’s story, however, is not one merely of a child who begins to dance and perform publicly. His childhood was quite different from his current stage persona. Tu grew up as “the quiet kid,” a shy young boy who lacked the confidence and motivation to do anything beyond merely attending school.
Then came the music and dancing of Michael Jackson.
The rhythm. The moves. The passion. As young Tu heard MJ sing and watched him dance, he felt a new energy course through his being. He had found inspiration, motivation, and purpose, and began to channel those feelings into his own dance moves. He has even developed his own motto, mantra he lives by:
“I am not Number One, but I will be the Only One”
“Dance by the feet, feel by the heart”
When asked about his goals, Tu Michael is quick to point out that he does not seek fame or fortune, nor does he obsess over becoming a Michael Jackson imitator. “I do not want to live my life in showbiz…I would like my story to inspire others. There are hidden talents in everyone, but you may not dare to recognize it.”
Beyond dancing, himself, Tu Michael has begun to teach others. His aim is to show students the true meaning of dancing. “It’s not about skills or technique,” he says. “It’s about the passion in dancing…it’s the spirit.”
Apparently, his students are learning very well. In 2011, a 12-year-old pupil of his named Dang Quan won the television show/competition Vietnam’s Got Talent. The hard-to-please judge akin to American Idol’s Simon Cowell, musician Huy Tuan, praised, “You convince us with your every single dance move.” Having a young student receive such a mature evaluation is a testament to Tu Michael’s “beyond technique” philosophy.
From quality standpoint, Tu Michael is not up there with the renowned Michael Jackson impersonators, nor does he claim to be. Performers like Navi and Maxx Vega appear have shared Michael’s plastic surgeon—their authenticity reaches clone-like levels. Instead, it is Tu Michael’s normalcy, his every-man persona, that audience find most compelling.
The moves and grooves of Michael Jackson have inspired a guy in Vietnam to dance in the public eye. Then taking it a step further, the world at large is taken enough by Tu Michael’s dances and his incorporation of those into short videos, that Tu Michael has made himself into a bit of an internet sensation.
Inspired by the energy he feels when dancing, Tu Michael has taken his Moondancing to global levels via the web. After reading about making money online he stumbled upon Fiverr.com, a website that allows Sellers to do most anything for a standard fee of five dollars. Tu thought of his passion for dancing and posted a Gig stating that he would “dance like Michael Jackson for $5.” He forgot about Fiverr until, two weeks later, he received a request for his dancing Gig.
After a some revisions and a more direct sell toward commercial promotions, with extra money, Tu now offers to dance to the song of your choice (MJ or otherwise), in various costumes, in multiple settings, or even against a green screen backdrop, and offers a variety of upgrades.
Tu Michael does not perform for the money, however, whether it is a large corporate paycheck or an internet customer’s USD. By day, Tu Michael works at Vietcombank. He earns a comfortable living and has no intention of setting aside his career to pursue his Moondancing full time. But when the workday is over, you are likely to find Tu dancing to the music that has inspired him since childhood.
Only time will tell what Tu Michael’s next steps will be. For the time being, we know he will dance, teach, and spread his story, hoping that his own life experiences will inspire others. He is hopeful other “quiet kids” similar to himself will find their own passion, be it dancing, singing, or something altogether different.
Visit http://tumichael.com for more information.
Name: Tu Michael
Address: 198 Tran Quang Khai, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi, Vietnam