Remembering Michael

6.29.2009

By Noah Michelson

From a technical standpoint, what was it about Michael Jackson's dancing that made it so revolutionary?
He studied musicals. A lot of artists these days study his movements or what other artists have done. He -- and even Madonna -- they really looked at television and musicals and then they took a lot of those movements and made them more current and urban. He would also take chances like with wearing the white glove and the white socks because they emphasized his movement.

You now work with a lot of this generation's biggest stars. How have you seen Michael's influence play out on them?
I think everyone is just striving to be the kind of person he became. He inspired the world. You see the reaction of all the different generations. I think any artist would love to be able to share their music and make a difference. [Sings] Make it a better place' [Laughs]

Where were you on Thursday when you heard the news?
Daniel [Miagany, Packard's boyfriend] and I were grocery shopping. I heard someone talking about Farrah Fawcett off in the distance and then I heard Michael Jackson's name. I knew Farrah died and I thought maybe they had just moved onto talking about something to do with Michael. Then we were pushing the cart outside and all these people were stopped in front of the door. There was literally this group of people and you could see the panic on their faces. I said, 'I'm sorry, is something going on? Is something wrong?' And they said, 'Michael Jackson just died!' and I said, 'What?' And then it all of a sudden hit me and I grabbed my phone and I had 30 or 40 texts and as many missed phone calls from people saying, 'Have you heard? Do you know what's going on?' I called my agent and then I found out.

It's one of those moments where everyone will be able to say where they were when it happened --
Yeah, Princess Diana, the Kennedys, Elvis. Like 9/11 everybody will be able to say where they were. That's the thing with the concert I did with him -- it was September 10th -- the day before September 11th. He reunited with his brothers for the first time, it was his first performance in 13 years, all the biggest stars were coming out to celebrate and pay tribute to his solo years and then the next day September 11th happened and he was not about to be like, 'Everybody watch my show!' Everybody was in mourning about 9/11. But the show was really special to him.

There was as much -- if not more -- of a discussion about Michael's personal life as his professional life -- especially his sexuality. Do you have an opinion about that?
I get that question a lot and I just don't know. I'm sure that the time will come when there's going to be all kind of things coming out about him. Unfortunately that just happens.

What's your all-time favorite Michael Jackson moment?
He did sound check for us [at the 30th Anniversary Concert]. It was the dancers and myself and the crew who had been putting up the stage and he ran 'Billie Jean' for the first time with the musicians and the hat and the white glove and the lights and it was like a private performance for us. It was like sitting there watching the King of Pop. It was something that nobody gets to experience. It was just a surreal, amazing moment in my life.

Glenn Douglas Packard is currently starring on the second season of VH1's reality TV series Brooke Knows Best, which airs Sundays at 10 p.m. EST.

For more on Packard, check out his website.

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