SOUTH AFRICAN IN LEAD ROLE IN MAGIC MIKE LIVE LAS VEGAS
By Sean Badenhorst
South African dancer, Kalon Badenhorst, who first rose to local prominence as a 12-year-old finalist on SA’s Got Talent in 2009, is now performing on international stages and is currently playing the lead role of ‘Mike’ in Channing Tatum’s popular stage show, Magic Mike Live, Las Vegas.
The 24-year-old Badenhorst was asked to perform the lead role in the Las Vegas show after the culmination of a 20-month contract playing ‘Mike’ at Magic Mike Live, Berlin. It’s a three-month cover stint in the Las Vegas show as the incumbent dancer was due to take temporary leave.
“It’s been quite an incredible experience to play the lead in a high-profile show on the Las Vegas strip,” said Badenhorst. “Vegas is quite a place and very much like you see in the movies. It’s crazy how popular it is as an entertainment destination,” said Badenhorst.
“I have really enjoyed this three-month stint in the Las Vegas show. When I played ‘Mike’ in the Berlin show, all my lines were in German, which I became pretty comfortable with, but here in Vegas, it’s obviously English, my home language. Because there’s a lot of humour in the show, it’s easier to pick up on nuances and innuendo in English,” added Badenhorst, who performs 10 shows a week at the Sahara.
“When we met Kalon at our auditions in Berlin, we were so excited to find a dancer that encompassed so many dynamic qualities - contemporary, breaking, and an all-around high skill level. A perfect ‘Mike’!” said Alison Faulk, Magic Mike Live Co-Director and Co-Choreographer.
“He was so amazing in our Magic Mike Live show in Berlin, that when we needed to find a long term cover for our ‘Mike’ in Vegas, he was our first choice. We are beyond proud of him for his incredible work he is doing and so impressed!” added Faulk.
“We pride ourselves at Magic Mike Live for hiring not only extremely talented and handsome dancers, but also kind, respectful, courteous gentlemen who we can trust to give our female audiences the best experience ever - and that is certainly Kalon. Aside from being so technically skilled as a dancer, he’s also so expressive in his movement which makes his performances so compelling,” said Katie Zanca, Associate Producer, Magic Mike Live Las Vegas and Director of Worldwide Casting.
“Las Vegas audiences have been absolutely dazzled by Kalon’s charm, swagger, and talent. People love that he’s come all the way from South Africa to share his talents with us – and the American ladies love his accent! He’s been an exemplary cast member and colleague and we’re excited to continue working with him for hopefully years down the line,” added Zanca.
Born in Durban, Badenhorst’s parents moved to Johannesburg when he was two. There he discovered dancing at the age of 10 and quickly progressed through the competitive ranks in a range of styles, eventually winning numerous world championship titles in various dance styles. At the age of 12, Badenhorst entered the first season of South Africa’s Got Talent where he was one of six acts to reach the final.
“Entering South Africa’s Got Talent and progressing to the final is when I decided that I loved performing and wanted to do it as my career. Thanks to my parents and many dance teachers and other supporters, I was able to follow through. I’m thoroughly enjoying my role as ‘Mike’ and look forward to what the future holds,” added Badenhorst, who has had roles in various musicals, including Bodyguard das Musical, in Cologne and Vienna and Prince of Egypt, in Copenhagen.
Magic Mike Live is the creation of Hollywood actor, Channing Tatum. After the global success of two Magic Mike movies, Tatum conceptualised a live show that would continue to appeal predominantly to women where 13 talented men entertain in a show packed with dance, music and acrobatic feats– mostly without their shirts…
Check out the Magic Mike Live Las Vegas website here: https://magicmikelivelasvegas.com
Follow Kalon’s progress via his Instagram account: @kalonb_sa
Dance Quarterly is a collection of writing from various industry journalists and academics across the country. This online publication is edited and curated by Tammy Ballantyne and Jessica Denyschen. To submit your writing for consideration please email: firstname.lastname@example.org