MadonnaTribe had the chance to meet Mihran Kirakosyan,
the amazing dancer that you've seen on stage with Madonna
in the re-Invention tour, the Live8 gig, the "Hung
Up" video and the promotional tour for "Confessions
On A Dance Floor".
Talking to Mihran we've learnt how this
incredibly talented guy has managed to make the impossible
happen by working harder and challenging himself every day.
Mihran and welcome to MadonnaTribe.
The Madonna fans saw you for the first time on stage during
the re-Invention tour in 2004 but your story as a performer
starts years before...
Mihran: I was surrounded by entertainment
and entertainers since the day I was born. My parents
made sure to involve me in theater, movies, the circus
and all types of events.
I don’t remember much but the little memories that
I have are so fulfilling. I started to dance at a very
young age inspired by artists such as Michael Jackson.
did coming from such a family of artists influence your
Mihran: Music plays a big role in my
life. I do everything under music from the minute I wake
up till the second I go to sleep.
I always have music around me some how.
I have music in the background right now while I answer
these questions. I listen to all styles of music from
I listen to hip-hop to pop, jazz, blues, funk, Rock &
Roll, classical and more.
MTribe: You were seven
years old when you moved from Armenia to California.
What did this mean to you and did it influence your decision
to become a dancer?
Mihran: Well, I don’t remember
as much as I would like to, but I do have so many harsh
memories. I remember right before we came to America,
Armenia was still a part of USSR. Around the time my parents
decided to come to America, USSR collapsed and Armenia
was becoming an independent country. If we had stayed
there it would have become so difficult to live since
countries around Armenia were at war. We went through
many days with out water and light. I remember the cold
and dark nights.
My father brought us to America so we can fully take advantage
of the amazing and vast opportunities. Coming form Armenia
has influenced me to work harder to ultimately achieve
my goals for a better life.
MTribe: Let's talk about your theatre workshop
at Marshall High. It seems something that was somehow tailored
for you, with all the different disciplines that had to
do with stage and performances involved, that is probably
also the kind of environment you were surrounded by in your
Mihran: The workshop was astonishing. It
was my most favorite discipline, since I was not a big fan
of homework, class work and reading. I befriended many kids
like me and had a blast liberating my creative side. My
teachers, Kevin Kane and Jackie Lopez, were very creative
and inspiring. I looked up to them like mentors. When I
look back, they had a lot to do with the person I have become.
MTribe: Was your decision
to join a dance agency a sort of turning point in your career?
Mihran: Yes, definitely. The agency helped
me find work and introduced me to the industry. It was then,
that I started doing what I had dreamed of.
What were you looking for at the time, and how does reality
compare with your dreams?
Mihran: I was looking for so little at
the time, but in reality I got so much more. I always think
big and that is how I aspire to retain my positive attitude.
Nevertheless, I never thought I would get this far and this
And another major step ahead was probably the re-Invention
tour with Madonna in 2004.
Do you remember how did it all start?
Mihran: At that time I had just finished
the Britney Spears promotional tour and never in my wildest
dreams did I think I would jump on the re-Invention tour.
It was one of the most challenging points in my life because
for one, I started off just doing hip-hop. I don’t
know how I transformed into a dancer for the most famous
princess and most importantly the pop "Queen".
Now you can see a hip-hop dancer with makeup doing Vogue
However, I am sure for those who have seen any of Madonna’s
shows know that she incorporates every kind of dance style.
We saw some bits of the dancer's auditions in the "I'm
Going To Tell You A Secret" documentary but there's
more to tell about it for sure. How did you get involved
in the auditions?
Mihran: It was one of the craziest auditions
I had been to. There were over a thousand dancers auditioning
and therefore took about a week. One of my dearest friends,
Tiffany, told me about the audition. To be honest, I went
thinking I would not get the role, because I thought I won’t
be able to fit in. It was a totally different style than
I was used to.
Do you have any special memories of the auditions? Was that
the first time you got to meet Madonna and Jamie King?
I do have many special memories of the audition. I remember
being confused because I thought for someone to get to be
in the tour, they needed proper training in some type of
Jazz or ballet. The whole time I thought that it was a matter
of time before I would get cut. As for meeting Jamie King,
I met him working with Britney Spears on her last promotional
tour. Jamie King was kind enough to introduce me to Madonna
on the set of Britney’s music video, "Me Against
Was Madonna among your favorite artists before having the
chance to know her and work with her?
Mihran: I never grew up listening
to Madonna, but I always had her CD’s and video’s
at my house, because my family is big fan of Madonna. After
working with her I am one of her biggest fans. I dare someone
to say S#$@ about her! lol
What about her music?
Have you been listening to her albums when you were a child?
Do you have any favorite song of hers?
Mihran: I am 20 years old and her committed
fans have been with her for 20 years.
I did listen to her songs and mostly the ones where I can
Some of my favorite songs are"Like a Prayer" and
Let's talk about the process of building up a show with
You worked with her on the re-Invention tour, on the Live
8 performance, on the promotional tour for "Confessions
On A Dance Floor" and on her "Hung Up" video.
That means a lot of work and creative process in a bunch
of months, which experience was more difficult, which was
a bigger challenge?
I guess the tour was the biggest challenge. Madonna is the
hardest working artist that I have met. We rehearsed for
2 months Monday- Saturday form morning to night. She rehearsed
as much as we did, even more.
With Madonna, she loves to create something new every time
and so she creates that challenge for herself and others
to make each and every show bigger, better and unique.
How was life on the road during the re-Invention tour?
Mihran: It was great. Everyone tried so
hard to make everything comfortable and fun for us. Some
of the dancers and I had been on tour with other artists
before, but dancing for Madonna is quite different. We traveled
by plane instead of a bus and we had plenty of time to go
Can you describe a typical working day, and a day off?
Mihran: On a day off the dancers would
go off either site seeing or shopping.
Our hotels were usually in very populated and popular places,
which made it easier to have fun and see what the place
has to offer.
On a working day, we would wake up, eat and go to the venue
Like I said, Madonna is very hard working and we would rehearse
before each and every show. We would then eat again, and
start getting ready. While we were getting ready we would
hear her crazy fans yell "Madonna" throughout
the venue. After the show, we would either go and crash
or would get together and go out.
There were a lot of people touring with Madonna, the other
dancers, the band, her backup singers, the crew and so on.
Madonna tours are known for creating a strong sense of team
and "Family" between all those who are involved.
Did that happen to you as well?
"Family" sense was incredible. I have never seen
so many of the coolest people working together, but that
all had to do with Madonna as well. She was very cool and
down to earth with everyone. She made everyone feel comfortable.
I hated the feeling I had when the tour came to an end.
Many of the dancers were in tears. Most of us still keep
in touch and have become such good friends.
MTribe: Do you remember some nice and funny moments
during the tour? And there was maybe a show that was particularly
difficult to deliver?
The most difficult and memorable show was the one at the
Slane Castle in Ireland.
There were 80,000 fans in the freezing weather. It became
even more difficult when it started to rain on stage. However,
the rush of the danger involved and the 80,000 fans made
it worthwhile and possibly the most incredible show we had
MTribe: Do you have a favorite number in
the Re-Invention tour show?
I would have to say "Music," because it is one
of the numbers I felt the most comfortable in. It was more
of my style and allowed me to add my creative side by free
And which was the hardest one to rehearse and perform?
Probably, "Express Yourself and Vogue".
In "Express Yourself" we had to learn how to do
routines with rifles which took a good period of time in
In "Vogue" - I have never Vogued in my life, lol.
I didn’t even know what Vogue was. At first I was
having a hard time learning the unique body posture the
I was not confident in the number until my friend Zack told
me, "If you look gay, then you are doing it right."
You be the judge!
Did you work on any song or number that was not
included in the final set list?
Mihran: Yes, but
that is a creative decision that Madonna made. In a way,
I would rather not say.
MTribe: Were you familiar with the
other tours Madonna did in her career, before the re-Invention?
Can you compare those to the one you worked on?
Mihran: Yes, I have seen some of her other
performances and parts of her tours, and no I can not compare.
Again she re-invents herself at each of her shows so that
no one knows what to expect. All you can really expect is
to have a good time, other than that she will never be predictable.
MTribe: The Madonna fans were happy to see you
and Cloud back on the stage with Madonna for the Live 8
show in London last summer. How things went this time, how
were you contacted for the show?
Mihran: Well, she let us know about the
show in short notice and we flew to London in just enough
time to rock the stage with Madonna
MTribe: Did you have a feeling of why she chooses
you two guys to join her on that very special show?
Well, first of all, we were honored to stand next to her
while she made history yet again on a very memorable show.
Madonna knows exactly what she is looking for in each show
and I guess she thought we would portray what she was looking
What is your fondest memory of the Live 8 concert?
Mihran: The Madonna performance was definitely
one of the highlights of the show and had some very emotional
moments. Just the whole show I guess, cause there were sooo
many fans and the energy was amazing.
is responsible for creating that amazing energy. I loved
her performance "Like a Prayer." It is one of
my favorite songs and the crowd was just mesmerized for
a good 5 minutes.
MTribe: Do you think that being on stage with
Madonna at the Live8 and being watched by millions of
people at a time was a sort of extra push for your career?
I would say that the performance added something more
to the image we all had of "Mihran from the re-Invention
Mihran: I do very much think that. So
many people recognized me and made sure to e-mail me and
let me know how great the performance was.
MTribe: Let's talk about the "Hung
Up" video, that I guess was your first time on the
set of a Madonna video. How was that experience like? How
was working with director Johan Renck like?
I also did "Me Against The Music" with Madonna,
but this was my first video for her. It was cool, and we
It was the first time Cloud and I met the new dancers of
the promo tour. Once again we got to incorporate a lot of
our creativity in the video.
It was fun to see how the project turned out.
Johan is very tall and friendly, lol. He was a fun person
to be around. He would always crack a joke or two after
MTribe: You were already familiar with
video and commercial shootings, was there something special
in this one with Madonna?
There's a funny moment in the "making of" special
were we can see you talking to the other dancers in the
Mihran: Oh yeah, it is always different
with Madonna because I learn so much from watching her work
and trying to have everything perfect.
She spends quite a bit of time shooting her videos. The
important thing is that we always have fun while we are
working. I am glad you guys found that funny, lol.
MTribe: The "Hung Up" video and the performances
on the promo tour include a lot of great dance moves and
freestyle, what was your own contribution in making it so
amazing and full of energy?
Mihran: See Madonna has a great idea of what each
and every one of the dancers bring to the performance and
when she feels like she needs us to freestyle, she kind
of trusts what we can bring to the show.
Yes, we did include a lot of freestyle on the stage performances
and that makes it more sporadic and fun.
MTribe: How would you describe Madonna fans? You
had a chance to "experience them" quite a few
times now. Did you notice any difference between the US
leg of the tour, the European dates, the MTV Europe Music
Awards in Lisbon, Wetten Dass in Germany, the KOKO and G-A-Y
her fans are the craziest fans in the world, especially
the fans in Europe. They come to her shows dressed up as
Madonna, screaming, yelling, dancing and going crazy. We
sometimes saw some of the same fans over and over. It is
like they are her army rather than her fans.
MTribe: Which was the most
memorable moment in this last promo tour? Do you have a
show you are particularly proud of?
Mihran: The show at the G.A.Y Club was
craziest, because the fans were out of control - screaming,
yelling and throwing things.
MTribe: You've been working with Jamie King on
the Madonna tour, the video and the promotion for the new
album, but you also recently worked with him in the Nike
Rock Star Workout. How was this experience for you and how
is working with Jamie?
Mihran: I think that Jamie is one of the greatest
and most interesting people I have ever met. I have learned
a lot from Jamie and still do. It is like he is a genius.
He can stand in front of the stage and it is like he can
see exactly what is going to work and what is not. At the
same time he is the most awesome and down to earth person
you will ever meet.
He can use whatever is given to him and can still create
the craziest show, with unique and unforgettable dancing.
Let's talk about two more great artists you worked with
in the recent years, Britney and Kylie. What did you do
with them and how were they like?
I did Britney’s promo tour for her latest album and
I did a video with Kylie.
I only spent a few days with Kylie and from what I learned
she is very nice and down to earth.
Britney Spears is closer to my age so we all would go out
dancing, play games and act immature (it was fun). She is
goofy, sweet and down to earth.
How do you feel having such an amazing background and work
experience with so many talented artists in the showbiz,
and being very young after all?
Mihran: Yes, being 20 years old and accomplishing
what I have accomplished is amazing. However, I won’t
take all the credit. I have to thank so many of the people
who believe in me and still work with me such as Madonna,
and Jamie King.
MTribe: Working on the tour, Live8 and
everything "Confessions" related you have spent
many time with Madonna so far. What is your fondest memory
Mihran: She is such an interesting person
and she has made me want to change so much that it is hard
to pick one memory.
I loved how Madonna and I would get into a conversation
for hours because I would not agree with her on something.
Then at that point she would bring in all of her knowledge
of the books she has read and I would have nothing to say,
but to get the book and read it for myself.
MTribe: Did your experience working with
her change the opinion you had of her as an artist and as
a human being?
Mihran: Ya, she is one of the coolest and smartest
people. She loves to create challenges for people and it
seems that she always creates a challenge for herself as
well. Beneath the "Queen" image she is a wonderful
mother, wife and friend. I have also learned that she is
very educated and can talk to you on any subject for hours.
MTribe: How has your career changed after
working with Madonna?
I have grown so much since working with her. Like I mentioned
before, since I came into this world of entertainment
so young, I have learned so much from Jamie and Madonna
by watching them work and do what they do best.
What did this experience bring to your personally?
I have become more persistent in obtaining the future
I intend. I have learned that the impossible can happen
by working harder and challenging yourself.
MTribe: There are talks of a 2006 tour,
Madonna said she's thinking of it but a final decision
has not been taken yet. Would you like to be asked to
join her on tour again?
Mihran: Oh absolutely. I know weather
I am on the show of not, if she decides to do another
tour, it will be new and miraculous. I do, however, hope
that I will be able to join her yet again.
MTribe: Let's talk about the latest Madonna
album. What do you think of her "Confessions"
and do you like the idea of having a non-stop all dance
Mihran: I thought it was great that she
went back to her roots and did a dance album.She is great
at getting people on the dance floor. Stuart Price and
Madonna did a great job writing and producing the album.
MTribe: You have been in Japan with Madonna
when she returned there for the first time after 12 years,
how was it like?
Mihran: First I want to say, I loved
Japan. She has some crazy fans in Japan. Japanese people
are so kind, respectful and interesting. The shows were
great, as we expected.
MTribe: Mihran, thanks so much for this
interview. We wish you all the best and hope to see you
on the road with Madonna very soon!
For more information about Mihran
don't miss his official website at www.mihran.am
courtesy of Mihran Kirakosyan except were otherwise stated.
This interview Copyright 2005 MadonnaTribe