Jeffrey Page, the mastermind choreographer behind Beyonce’s Josephine Baker Tribute, “Run The World (Girls)” and the Mrs. Carter Show World Tour, sat down with #TeamBeautiful to discuss the artistry behind teaching one of the biggest entertainers of our time, Beyonce, how to move.
Page, who also studied under the tutelage of dance genius, Debbie Allen, discusses how a boy from Indianapolis, Indiana went from local dance shows, to touring the world with King Bey. Since he was 9-years-old, Page has made it his business to bring dance and choreography to the forefront, and during our chat, we find out how.
HelloBeautiful: So what was your childhood like?
Jeffrey Page: I grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana with four brothers and tons of foster brothers! My mother worked in child placement services and she has a huge heart, so my parents have taken in many sons.
HB How did you get your start in dance?
JP: My first love is Hip-Hop, but as I was walking down the street one day in Indianapolis, I saw signs for tryouts for a Hip-Hop dance group. I then I went to the tryouts and it was this lady teaching African dance and I felt like I was bamboozled. It was a lot of girls in there and I was the only guy, but I ended up liking it, so I would split my time between football practice and basketball practice.
HB: How did you know you wanted to be a choreographer?
JP: I think early on I knew I really had an interest in building and creating work, just staging and art, it just so happened that it landed me with people such as Beyonce, but really I’m an artist at heart.
HB: What’s the difference-if there is any-between a dancer and choreographer?
JP: I’ve always known choreography was my vein. A lot of people confuse dance and choreography and interchange the two and the difference between the two is…you have an architect and an engineer. The architect designs the building and then he takes it to the engineer and says I want this. The engineer then says, “Okay, I need this, this this that and the other.” The choreographer is the architect and the dancers are the engineers. It takes a totally different mindset to do those things.
HB: So what makes your choreography different from the rest?
JP: I think I have a certain funk and backwoods, type of nitty-gritty gravy, with a side of concept of staging, concert and choreography and I think I owe it to my upbringing in Indianapolis.
HB: With all your training in all different kinds of dance, what happened to take you from Indianapolis to Beyonce’s Mrs. Carter Show World Tour?
JP: Once I graduated from Philadelphia’s The University of the Arts, I knew I didn’t want to do the typical dancer thing and join a dance company and blah blah blah. So I moved to L.A. and there, I was known as the “African Dancer Man” and that was kind of the box that many people put me in. In addition to choreographing African, I auditioned for Beyonce when she did “Baby Boy,” and then Frank Gatson reached out to me to choreograph “Déjà Vu.” Once people kind of realized that I’m so much more than African dance, that’s how I got into the Beyonce camp. It was most definitely because of African dance and no one does it. They think it’s a novelty, but it’s the blood of Hip-Hop and it’s the underbelly of what we know Blues and Funk to be.
HB: What’s the one thing you’ve learned from watching Beyonce?
JP: I’ve been working with Beyonce and the entire creative team for about seven or eight years and all the butterflies of, “Oooh, it’s Beyonce” has gone through the window and now I just look at her as a f*cking brilliant artist and that’s just what it is.
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