In the Heat of the Knight

JaQuel Knight is an accomplished dancer and choreographerOne day you are in Los Angeles working to progress your dance career. Hours later, you find yourself in New York City working with superstar Beyoncé Knowles on the choreography for the lead single off of her 3rd solo album, “Single Ladies.”

This is the life of JaQuel Knight...

He knows he is blessed. Born in North Carolina he moved to Atlanta, Georgia at age six, JaQuel’s parents instilled in him a lot of the tools he would later use to achieve at such high levels early on. “Dad and Mom were big influences; they made sure money was handled well” 

Later, as he attended Tucker High School, he had a second helping of discipline as he joined the band. “I started getting into music and becoming interested in marching bands  I originally wrote sheets and eventually wrote tracks.”

He got the call from Frank Gatson Jr., a dancer and choreographer who is a part of team Beyonce and has helped to shape the “Diva’s” image from a visual/creative standpoint. He me Frank while auditioning to dance in the video for Michelle Williams’ single, “We Break the Dawn.” “I went into the audition with the mindset of ‘I’m going to have Frank see dance and he is going to have to hire me for something even though I’m sure I’m not the right build to dance on this particular job. So after doing the dance audition, he asked myself and a few others to stay and freestyle. After I free-styled, he pulled me into the hallway and told me that’s the style he wants for Michelle’s video – a groovy house vibe. So he had me freestyle again for everyone and then told me I would be hearing from him soon. He brought me into a rehearsal to go over a few grooves and saw I could teach and handle everything really well and the rest was history. He added meJaQuel Knight and Beyonce on the set of to her creative team. And I choreographed the promo tour and then he called me in for Beyoncé.”

“I never heard the song [‘Single Ladies’] before he was in rehearsal. I went straight to rehearsal that morning. We came up with a couple of things – it took about a week and a half and it took us that whole time to come up with the choreography. It was pretty much Frank, Beyoncé and I. She (Beyoncé) wanted to do something she’s never done before. Every time they came up with something similar to something she had already done, she’d cut that quick! What I like most about the choreography is that is something that everyone can do. We had to make sure that is was interesting, that it captured people’s attention – that it wasn’t too much. Direction-wise, that’s the way we wanted it and that’s pretty much the way it came out. At first they were kind of going for a theme. But they wanted something that Beyoncé can do and something [her background dancers] could follow and “I thought about the fact that it reminded me of the auxiliary girls – the drill teams – the J-Settes [of Jackson State University] and we wanted to create something that wasn’t too complicated but still very catchy. If he could go back in time and direct a video it would “probably be [Janet Jackson’s] ‘Rhythm Nation.'”

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JaQuel’s Choreography Reel

A Taste of JaQuel Knight Choreography 

“I was jumping up and down – I couldn’t believe it and I was ready to go!” This was JaQuel’s reaction to getting the call from Frank to come to NYC to work with the self-proclaimed “Diva.” “I was nervous but i didn’t show it when first meeting Beyoncé. She has worked with so many different people and when you work with good people you want to keep them around so there was a lot of pressure on me to perform well because I knew if I didn’t I would be on the next flight back to L.A. But I didn’t let it stress me out. She was amazing it was cool. I love her.” JaQuel went on to choreograph “Diva,” with Frank (and Tricia Miranda).

Sasha Fierce – “Diva” Choreographed by JaQuel Knight & Frank Gatson, Jr. (w/Tricia Miranda)

Speaking with Mr. Knight, it is evident that his family is very important to him “Everybody is happy for me. I was able to go back to North Carolina [to be with my family] for the holidays and they had pictures up and mom and dad told everyone about it. My dad asked to take a picture with me. That was cool. That was exciting.

Currently, he’s “working on Britney [Spears]’ and Beyoncé’s tour. I am working with Beyoncé now.” At that point, he was about to begin work with Britney Spears on choreography. “I was at a couple of castings but yesterday was my first day working with the dancers for [Britney’s] new tour.”

“The artists I have been blessed to work with are amazing and they’re sweethearts. Today is my first day actually meeting Britney.”

His advice for those who may want to follow in similar footsteps? “Stay true to who you are. Go with what you feel is natural. I personally like to think of things that the world would like to do.”

As for JaQuel’s plans for the future? “Single Ladies’ is kind of how I want my career to go in the next couple of years. If you hire me, I will give you something simple yet effective.”


For booking inquiries with JaQuel, contact:

McDonald/Selznick Associates


Also, check out JaQuel at


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