That’s how any of us get anywhere. According to DiCampli, choreographers can get between 0.75 and 3.5 points on a show’s gross revenue, depending on their experience and whether the show recoups its investment — a figure that includes future productions and touring companies. Reporter. [At this point,] people can see something right away and know ‘JaQuel choreographed that.’ ”, It’s not in his interest to be anyone other than himself. The end product showcases what would become Knight’s stylistic signatures. “He teaches you how to walk. While there aren’t any explicit criteria for what makes a piece of choreography “copyrightable,” “Single Ladies” could be a textbook example. [Laughs] Yes. Even with a mask on, his joy in the memory is palpable. That’s why intellectual property is a big deal.”. “Single Ladies How choreographer JaQuel Knight saved Beyoncé’s ‘Single Ladies’ video. 'Single Ladies' JaQuel Knight becomes first choreographer to land the cover of 'Billboard' magazine. “And I’m still here on a weekly [rate]?” His reputation as one of the industry’s top choreographers grew, yet where compensation was concerned, he was still treated like a temporary hire — not an author and owner in his own right. Their first client is already waiting in the wings: Sean Bankhead, a friend of Knight’s who has known him since high school in Atlanta, when they were members of rival dance crews. The title track and music video was released on October 26, 2020. If Knight could successfully register his work, Hecht knew, he could then license it to others who wanted to use it in public performances, from feature films to global tours. The Copyright Office approved the registration on July 9, making Knight (as far as the prominent copyright experts interviewed for this story know) the first commercial choreographer in pop music to succeed in doing so for his work. (They are also not choreography experts, though they analyze choreographic submissions regularly for consistency’s sake.) He has, symbolically, joined the canon of important contemporary choreographers: As Weber points out, the bureau has worked on scores for choreographers going back to modern dance pioneer Isadora Duncan — “and, now, through to JaQuel Knight.” After so many years of serving other artists’ visions, Knight can finally claim ownership of his own. ... Meg Thee Stallion (he choreographed the WAP video), regularly works with Beyonce, and choreographed “Formation,” “Single Ladies” and “Homecoming.” He also worked on several videos for the Lemonade and Black is King visual albums. "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" zadebiutował na 78. miejscu Billboard Hot 100. Now, they’re figuring out what those licenses might look like and cost, along with what back-end opportunities might exist for choreographers with copyright ownership. Even amid the coronavirus pandemic, he’d had a busy past few months. Advertising We’re getting used and abused.”. (Since then, some of Hecht’s clients have done so; others that were rejected by the Copyright Office are in stages of appeal.). "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" by Beyoncé was a hit in 2008 and continues to be one of her most popular songs. Beyoncé and Jay Z got married in 2008—but didn’t tell anybody. I have a huge heart for Megan and what she stands for and means to the community.”, The day before Knight headed to Tampa, Fla., to meet Megan for final rehearsals, news broke of Jacob Blake’s shooting in Kenosha, Wis. ii saw alot of people doing their version of the Single Ladies video so id thought i do mine. 289.3k Likes, 10.7k Comments - Tabria Majors (@tabriamajors) on Instagram: “Y’all, I’m on a high right now. There are certain hit songs that are almost inseparable from the dance moves that go with them. The music video achieved fame for its intricate choreography and its deployment of jazz handswith a wrist twist. Like Fortnite, you're saying — a video game that's going to make a ton of money by selling a dance that somebody else created. EU Privacy Preferences, BILLBOARD is a registered trademark of Billboard IP Holdings, LLC. ), Where official music videos are concerned, Knight’s copyright ownership should not change negotiations much: a label, or the artist in question, could buy his work for a video (much like a film studio buys a script from a screenwriter), discuss points or some percentage of the profit, and he’d be free to collect on uses of the choreography elsewhere. At best, Congress simply seemed to be creating “a definitional difference between choreography and ‘dance in general,’ ” says Kasunic. Wonder Girls has Beyonce's choreographer to help them with the dance steps for their latest album. He could help change not just what recognition and compensation look like, but maybe also the arcs of his fellow choreographers’ careers. "Single Ladies" also incorporates a lot of movements found in other Hip Hop dances. Born in North Carolina and raised in Atlanta, he has worked with Beyoncé on many of her most notable dances, including on "Single Ladies", "Formation" and the historic Coachella performances which she headlined. “A collecting society does two very compelling things for creators: It creates a scale whereby they can collect revenues, and it’s a force for creative people — a political force and an economic one,” says Stanford University Law School’s Paul Goldstein, a global authority on intellectual property. And what about the specific message of protecting Black women? i tryed my best [= please no negative comments =\ Tell me about how you incorporate video, music, movement, stillness and speech to create something that is more than just entertainment. It's a simple explanation. Just to give us a sense of what you think about as a choreographer? During “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It),” the artist’s choreographer and the tour’s creative director John Silver asked dance captain Ashley Everett to marry him. Bankhead's choreography includes Normani’s “Motivation” video, a tour de force of dance that burnished her solo clout last year. © 2021 Billboard Media, LLC. Lynne Weber has danced with a professional ballet company and studied hula, Indian mudras and modern dance. Today, choreography still feels a bit like the Wild West of copyright. “And that’s just not true. Since Knight’s team registered “Single Ladies,” it has received requests to license his work in mediums ranging from video games to feature films. Often, he’ll ground a choreographic work in a motif like the “Single Ladies” hand flick — something any viewer will remember, and can likely replicate, even if the surrounding movement patterns are more complex. “This is potentially a seismic event in this space,” says Lateef Mtima, the founder and director of the Institute for Intellectual Property and Social Justice and a professor of law at Howard University. “It would be wonderful if choreographers could band together with some collectivity to get what they deserve.” None in the United States manage rights for choreographic works, but several across Europe do — and they cover choreography in music videos. But as videos have moved from TV to YouTube and Instagram, the importance of visual spectacle has only grown — and choreography has become a more significant part of an artist’s iconography. Beyoncé’s ‘Single Ladies’ choreography isn’t original but she didn’t steal it—here’s the proof Put down the pitchforks, folks. Big breaks come in all shapes and sizes, but rarely do they come as big as JaQuel Knight's. Brittany Jones-Cooper. “I was able to show what I’m capable of. It has been credited with starting the "first major dance craze of both the new millennium and the Internet", triggering a number o… Then, after two years of searching, they met attorney David L. Hecht of Hecht Partners in New York, who in 2019 had litigated the most prominent case in years. It's to protect the creator from these huge corporations that come in and take advantage. Now 31, Knight is one of the music industry’s most sought-after choreographers, a creator of iconic dance-centric visuals at a time when they can propel a song to the top of the charts and even change the course of a career. Those who specialize in them seldom succeed at anything else. Of Gatson’s “Mexican Breakfast” reference, Knight says, “You see the three ladies, you see the inspiration — but the funk, the stylized movement, they’re extremely different. Knight’s movement is undeniably sexy, but always on the artist’s own terms: A woman dancing his choreography looks like a queen, even when she’s twerking in a position that might seem to defy gravity. "I Can't Stop Me" (stylized as I CAN'T STOP ME) is the title track of Twice's 2nd full album "Eyes wide open". When JaQuel Knight was a teenager in Atlanta, he spent his summers at band camp. Under federal law, that ownership exists from the moment a creative work is “fixed” — for choreography, preserved in a form of writing like Labanotation or on video — and under the Copyright Act of 1909, choreographers have had the option to do just that. He also wanted to incorporate J-setting, a movement style Knight knew in which dancers perform in a lead-follow format, similar to marching band majorettes. Several things could account for that. California Privacy Rights They have a heavy hand on my life — my mother, I have a sister. And if it hasn’t been done, how can you dream of it?” One of the people most stunned by Knight and his team’s success registering “Single Ladies” was, in fact, his mentor and co-creator, Frank Gatson Jr., an industry veteran who danced in Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal” video. What I do, whether it's personal or business, it all relates back to the Black female. JaQuel Knight, the architect of Beyoncé‘s “Single Ladies” dance, spoke out about this in a new cover story with Billboard. Reporter. Aemcy shirt and pants, Adidas shoes, Vitaly necklace, choker and ring, Maple Supply rings. Not just any band camp though — marching band camp in the South. Yahoo Life. Billboard is a subsidiary of Valence Media, LLC. Beyond those initial points of inspiration, Knight had free rein to workshop any ideas he had, in the studio with Beyoncé. For a Black creator in an industry that has long appropriated Black culture — and who often works with the industry’s most influential Black female artists — the score represented something bigger, too. If you look online, it is easy to find side-by-side comparisons of the “Single Ladies” and “Mexican Breakfast” videos flagging the very reference points that Gatson and Knight intended, as if there’s a game of choreographic “Gotcha!” going on. Two years ago, the discipline he learned during those formative summers in Atlanta came in handy when he served as a lead choreographer and co-creative director for Beyoncé’s HBCU marching band-inspired Coachella performance, which became the acclaimed Netflix concert film Homecoming. “For me it was like getting her to walk again,” recalls Knight. Weber, 68, is a professional dance notator who has been working closely with Knight on his copyright journey. No, the point of copyrighting isn't to protect us from [people] doing the dances at home. For real? The bureau plans to submit its scores of Knight’s work to the Library of Congress for inclusion in its collection. Even if you didn’t see them in person, you can now watch these moments on demand — and learn them yourself — as footage of them proliferates online. Those cases were largely withdrawn because, in March 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in an unrelated case that a claim of infringement based on a registered copyright requires first securing that registration. Hear the radio version at the audio link, and read on for an edited transcript. “What JaQuel and I do, it’s commercial art. Of the more than 500,000 applications the office receives for millions of works You may have never heard of Jaquel Knight but if you've seen Beyonce's latest video "Single Ladies… At the time he did it, no one knew it. I felt like it validates our positioning and ownership. Main Image:

JaQuel Knight photographed on October 9, 2020 at Wilhardt & Naud in Los Angeles. Beyoncé's official video for 'Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)'. “A culture, a mood, a visual statement.”. Styling by Eric Archibald. The responses to this project have been amazing!! November 12, 2020. For Knight, “every movement has a purpose, and it’s about the music but also about the full package of what the dance is interpreting,” says Shakira, who worked with him on her Super Bowl halftime show this past year. Call him nitpicky if you want, but JaQuel Knight is the go-to choreographer to the stars for a … The world of professional dance is a small one built largely on reputation — so, historically, choreographers haven’t been tempted to outright copy each other’s work, resulting in few occasions (until recently, at least) when the idea of infringement litigation even seemed necessary. He first visited Japan when he was invited to teach dance workshops in Hiroshima in 2004, and since then has worked as a choreographer for major Asian pop artists and groups including Jolin Tsai, Namie … Lifestyle These themes of his work — uplifting Black entertainers, helping them own their power through statements that are sometimes political — make Knight’s own quest to copyright-protect his work as a Black artist something of a political act itself. Terms of Use “To this day, he says he came to make sure I noticed him, not to get the job,” recalls Gatson. Critics have compared the song to Aretha Franklin's "Respect" and Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive", prompted by their lyrics, which all promote female empowerment. His blend of influences ranges from African dance — in which the hips and upper torso often move in different rhythmic sequences — to classic musicals. During SNL rehearsals, Megan told Knight she wanted to train with him in Los Angeles for a month, just to prepare for whatever their next project may be. “I mean, that is Beychella,” says Knight with a laugh a few weeks later, sitting outside a cafe in lower Manhattan in early October. How choreographer JaQuel Knight saved Beyoncé’s ‘Single Ladies’ video. There’s very little case law on copyright and choreography, and a slew of Los Angeles entertainment lawyers told Knight’s manager, Mary Pelloni, that she and Knight would at best face an uphill battle trying to register his work. Brittany Jones-Cooper. Letting every piece of your body have energy that can pierce the camera lens, so people at home can feel you. it validates our positioning and ownership, Live Updates: Protests For Racial Justice, Megan Thee Stallion Protests Breonna Taylor Ruling On 'SNL'. Every performance has been elevated since I started working with JaQuel.”, In July, rapper-singer Tory Lanez shot Megan in both of her feet following a party they’d attended. “How is this happening and [choreographers] are not getting anything?” Knight remembers asking himself. Why … To do so, they’re seeking the advice of contacts both in and outside the music industry — experts like Warner Chappell president of A&R Ryan Press (for the publishing perspective) and Knight’s agent, Lucille DiCampli (for the musical theater perspective). “Even in super slo-mo, you can see the dancers are together,” says Weber of the “Single Ladies” video. But within the framework of copyright, those references are considered “building blocks” — raw material artists build upon in new work, like certain chord phrasings in music — which are not only acceptable but almost expected in an art form like dance. “He’s giving you an overall aura. Hum a few bars of " Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)," and your hand might start flipping back and forth on its own. ... Wonder Girls enlists "Single Ladies" choreographer. Though surprisingly few in the dance world take advantage of it, choreographic works are protectable under copyright law in the United States (and most countries), and choreographers can submit theirs for registration with the U.S. Do Not Sell My Personal Information Beyoncé's 'Single Ladies' choreographer, JaQuel Knight, has obtained a copyright registration for the famous dance routine. It's definitely the joy, though. Ari Shapiro: For non-dancers, will you break down some of the movements in the "Single Ladies" video? Why did you think this is something a choreographer should have? Beyonce's video "Single Ladies". On that level, there’s no doubt that Knight’s choreography is very much his own. “No one was taking Megan lightly before I came into the picture,” says Knight. Hecht represents a group of clients including actor Alfonso Ribeiro, rapper 2 Milly and Russell Horning, the teenager known as Backpack Kid, who alleged Epic Games copied and renamed their signature dances (The Carlton, The Milly Rock and The Floss, respectively) and sold them as emotes, the virtual “expressions” players use on the Fortnite battlefield. At that point in time, Gatson also worked closely with Beyoncé on both creative direction and choreography, and once the two began conceiving “Single Ladies,” he asked Knight to fly to New York to join the team. Do you fear that that's what's going to happen here? “It’s potentially as important as the revelation that Ray Charles negotiated back ownership of his masters. As an artist, putting yourself onstage is already a vulnerable space. So much of what makes choreography universal and ubiquitous now is social media. What kind of synchronized ass shake is this?’ ” he says, bursting into laughter. I'm up on him, he up on me Beyoncé's 'Single Ladies' choreographer, JaQuel Knight, has obtained a copyright registration for the famous dance routine. The choreography for the song is based on a style of dancing known as "J-Sette." ... Knight landed his breakthrough gig at 18 years old for Beyoncé's iconic video "Single Ladies". Call him nitpicky if you want, but JaQuel Knight is the go-to choreographer to the stars for a reason. Barbering by Kelly J. Glusovich. 29 listopada singel dotarł na 28. pozycję, a w kolejnym tygodniu awansował na 2. miejsce listy.Ze sprzedażą 204 000 kopii, piosenka uplasowała się na szczycie Hot Digital Songs, spychając na 2. pozycję inny utwór Knowles, "If I Were a Boy", którego tygodniowa sprzedaż wyniosła wtedy 160 000 kopii. "It's to protect the creator from these huge corporations that come in and take advantage," he says. But as you grow, you learn who you are. “But that won’t be a comfort to YouTube,” says one intellectual property attorney who works in the music industry. Like Beyoncé herself, he is a master of precision (he often hires dancers with ballet technique training), so “Single Ladies” has an overall clarity and elegance, regardless of the dancers’ particular movements. Copyright Office’s associate register of copyright and director of registration policy and practice. Copyright provides a creator “a level of presumptive validity, and also paternity: ‘This is mine,’ ” explains Robert Kasunic, the U.S. Joner Hall (winner of Beyonce's "Single Ladies Dance-off on the Rachel Ray Show) doing the single ladies video dance!!!!! His phrasing isn’t predictable either, moving from moments of intensity to sudden stillness. “Now, even Megan’s like, ‘What the fuck? Privacy Policy For Knight, getting the “Single Ladies” job meant first failing to get another. Hum a few bars of "Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)," and your hand might start flipping back and forth on its own. Since then, Knight’s extensive work for her has included videos for several songs from her audiovisual projects Lemonade and Black Is King, plus two Super Bowl performances. You may not be familiar with the names JaQuel Knight and Sean Bankhead, but there’s a very good chance you know their work. "Single Ladies" is an uptempo dance-pop and R&B song with dancehall, disco and bounce influences. Inside "Single Ladies" choreographer JaQuel Knight's quest to copyright his dances. As drum major, Knight arranged the intricate ensemble choreography and music — Luther Vandross, Stevie Wonder, a little Crime Mob to represent for ATL. In June, he creative-directed and choreographed Megan Thee Stallion’s virtual performance at the BET Awards, a spectacle of Mad Max imagery and glamazon dancers, twerking in unison, in which she seemed more confident than ever before. So why was it important to you to get copyright protection? I mean, how I got here as an artist is being inspired by those who came before me. Often, a credit on social media is all a commercial choreographer like him will see as a testament to his work. He teaches you how to flick your wrist when you’re hitting that last chorus onstage,” says Chris Anokute, founder of artist-development firm Young Forever and a former Motown Records executive who worked with Knight on Larsson. Executives and managers for artists ranging from pop star Zara Larsson to country icons The Chicks have him on speed dial, hoping his moves — or even simply his “vibe” — will unlock new powers within their artists. It’s a bit like sheet music, if the notes were multidimensional: It uses vertical staffs (one per performer) and symbols indicating the body part, direction, length and intent for a movement. JaQuel Knight, choreographer of iconic routines for Beyoncé, ... Hum a few bars of " Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)," and your hand might start flipping back and forth on its own. “Moments where I remind myself of my grandmothers, of talent shows with my cousins, marching band, everything I’ve done wrapped into one.”. Meet the choreographer behind Beyoncé's iconic moves. “I will be second in line right behind him to copyright my work.”. I mean, the role of Black women is beyond important. Inside "Single Ladies" choreographer JaQuel Knight's quest to copyright his dances. That feeling is my grandmother all day. “Luckily, JaQuel is making headway and getting answers that are really a huge game-changer,” says Bankhead. Emmanuel Ocbazghi. Most choreographers don’t know how to do that because they don’t understand artist development.”, Knight is well-aware that not every artist has Beyoncé-level stage presence or dance training. Gatson was auditioning dancers for Michelle Williams (of Destiny’s Child), and Knight — who, in person, has the assured bearing of a performer but a compact build — was considered too short. (He was only charged for the incident in October.) Knight landed his breakthrough gig at 18 years old for Beyoncé's iconic video "Single Ladies". When she reunited with Knight the following month, it was for her first concert since that traumatic event: a livestream for Tidal produced by Live Nation. Choreographer Jonte Moaning, best known for his work with Beyonce's "Single Ladies", has been revealed to be working with T-ara for their comeback album! The Copyright Act of 1976 finally recognized choreographic works as a discrete category, but even so, the act did not provide an explicit definition, other than to say that they didn’t include “social dances” (say, the waltz or the hustle) or “simple routines,” neither of which were defined. Today, choreography still feels a bit like the Wild West of copyright. “The overall artistic mélange — you definitely see creativity, lots of different themes and perspectives melding together for a contemporary urban audience,” Mtima says of the video. He has worked with Beyoncé since he was 18, when his mentor, dancer and choreographer Frank Gatson Jr., brought him in to choreograph for her groundbreaking “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” video. Nominated for three Grammys, Beyoncé’s hit “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It),” from her third solo album, I Am …Sasha Fierce, has taken the world by storm.Peaking at No. In the days following, it dominated the cultural conversation (everywhere from the Black Lives Matter Twitter feed to Fox News), proving how Knight’s creative vision can raise even an established star artist’s profile. I've heard fears that when dances are copyrighted, people on TikTok or YouTube are going to get sued for, like, doing a popular dance at a bachelorette party. How choreographer JaQuel Knight saved Beyoncé’s ‘Single Ladies’ video. As the centerpiece of culture-changing music videos, that choreography has profoundly changed the way Black women are portrayed. “It’s out of this world to see my hard work and sweat put on paper.”. “The way in which he navigates such dominions is his choreography — his artwork.”. A break like “Single Ladies” is everything a choreographer could’ve hoped for, but when the video first came out, Knight was pissed. Gatson had a choreographic reference in mind, which he had discussed with Beyoncé before Knight got involved: a Fosse routine called “Mexican Breakfast” that featured three women dancing in a line on a bare stage. They did it?’ ” recalls Gatson, 62. The notation for "Single Ladies" is 40 pages long, and that's the choreography from top to bottom. When he first saw the “Single Ladies” score, “my jaw dropped,” he says. By Deborah Searle. TikTok doesn’t license choreography, and until it does, Knight’s representatives’ only way of enforcing their rights, should they choose, might be sending an endless series of takedown notices. Knight describes his current role with her as “more than choreographer or creative director — essentially, the guy who figures out the overall image when it comes to performance.”, It’s a role he has inhabited before, for artists like Tinashe and Zara Larsson ready to break through to the next level of stardom. After all the work, all the pain, all the troubles they deal with, they steadily continue to rise up and show out. And Knight doesn’t just give them moves — he sharpens every aspect of their performances. In other words, he needed copyright protection. In 2017, Janet Jackson made national news for reuniting her former dancers onstage for her famed “Rhythm Nation” routine. “I don’t want to hit steps every day for the rest of my life,” says Knight. We've seen how the media portrays Black women — they just continue to question and continue to put them down. A lot of the law is not targeted in any particular way; people get confused with discriminatory practices in certain industries. Call him nitpicky if you want, but JaQuel Knight is the go-to choreographer to the stars for a reason. “It’s great to have someone on my creative team who has such vision and can bring ideas to life that resonate long after the show.” Mid-performance, the music stopped, and she and her dancers raised their fists in the air as the names of the dead flashed on a screen behind them, followed by the question, “Why is it so hard being Black in America?”, Megan and Knight explored similar themes in her SNL appearance. All Rights Reserved. For most of the 20th century, choreographic works could only be registered if they demonstrated a clear narrative and could thus be categorized as “dramatic works” — which left out most anything outside traditional ballet. After winning an MTV Music Award for Beyoncé’s Single Ladies music video, JaQuel hit fame, and at only 20 years of age the accolades keep coming. JaQuel Knight: There's a part where... you clap your hands and your arms go around your head, and you kind of stick your butt out like your grandmother would do when her favorite part of her favorite song would come on — she'd make that good ol' stank face. 'Single Ladies' JaQuel Knight becomes first choreographer to land the cover of 'Billboard' magazine. Over the course of five weeks, she completed a 40-page-long score for “Single Ladies,” and she has moved on to “WAP.” “My son sometimes walks in on me,” she says with a laugh. “So how can I share this knowledge with everyone else, and start to build something even my kids can live off of? Yahoo Life. You have this close artistic partnership with Megan Thee Stallion, and you were intimately involved in creating the performance that she gave on Saturday Night Live just a month ago, which combined music with a message to "Protect Black Women." © 2019 Billboard Media, LLC. For me it's about being present in the moment: feeling all the things, feeling the ups, feeling the downs, and then allowing that to translate into my work. SINGLE LADIES CHOREOGRAPHY by Joner Hall. It’s something that has really grabbed at our souls.”, The Dance Notation Bureau, a nonprofit where Weber is executive director, is the home of Labanotation, the most commonly used form of codified dance notation. Still, plenty of choreographers have no idea that they can register their work in the first place. I am so honored…” Update: I heard that the dark skinned one is a man. Get familiar with these movements and add them to your routine. Saved by Ember Nevill. He’s already in the final stages of registering six other pieces, including his choreography for Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion’s August collaboration, “WAP.” Eventually he plans to register his entire catalog. All about tapping into my upbringing, '' Knight says you stand for something, ” he says lot! And evil with a mask on, his voice cracking a bit like the world... Dance-Pop and R & B song with dancehall, disco and bounce influences world to see my hard and! Their performances associate register of copyright and director of registration policy and practice it? ’ ” reasoned Knight who. Knight becomes first choreographer to land the cover of 'Billboard ' magazine non-dancers, you. 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