Dubai’s historic district of Al Bastakiya has been featured in a viral Michael Jackson tribute video, directed by international choreographer Tobias Ellehammer.
The clip features a dance interpretation of ‘Scream’, Jackson’s 1995 hit song with sister Janet. It’s part of Ellehammer’s global ‘Jackson Trilogy’, which has garnered millions of views over the last three years.
The cinematic videos follow Ellehammer, and dancers of all ages and ethnicities, as they put together seamless interpretive dance sequences against cross-continental backdrops.
They also feature the dancers performing in both snow and shine.
The three-part tribute began with ‘Burn it Up!’ in 2015, which has more than 3 million YouTube views, followed by ‘Black or White’ in 2016, which also features Dubai.
Ellehammer’s visually impressive ‘Scream’ clocks in at over 11 minutes and wraps up the trilogy. It has already racked up more than 24,000 views on YouTube since its January 1 premiere.
“Scream is a story told exclusively through dance and cinematography with the purpose of highlighting many of the issues that divide and fracture our society today,” Ellehammer wrote in the description of the video.
“Being afraid of what we don’t understand is part of human nature, but with a little understanding these fears can be turned into a positive energy that will transcend through generations and leave the world a better place than when we found it,” he added.
One of the dancers, Shannelle ‘Tali’ Fergus, commented on the YouTube video to say: “I’m struggling to watch it top to bottom. Every scene deserves an immediate replay.”
The Dubai scenes were made in collaboration with the UAE-based company NM Choreography, which spent several months on pre-production, including scouting locations, auditioning dancers, holding studio rehearsals and acquiring all the necessary filming permits.
The shoot took place in February of 2018 over the course of six to eight hours. Because it took place in Al Bastakiya, a popular visitors destination, the shoot required crowd control and the occasional redirecting of tourists.
A rehearsal with the dancers took place the prior day, though it only lasted for a couple of hours as they were ready to perform and did not need heavy training.