Gabriel got his first professional gig dancing for Aaron Carter when he was 17. Since then he has worked with artists such as Janet Jackson, Mariah Carey, Beyoncé, Christina Aguilera and many more. In 2009 he got the opportunity to dance with the King of Pop, Michael Jackson, on the This Is It tour and can be seen featured in the documentary. “Step Up Revolution” marks Gabriel’s transition into the world of acting.
TheaterJones: How did you guys get involved with this project?
I auditioned for the lead role of Eddy, and I connected with the part immediately and landed the rol
Did you know a lot of the dancers that worked on the film?
Scott: Misha and I have known each other for years. He was always that young prodigy kid. I remember looking at him and thinking, “man this kid’s crazy.” But this was the first time we actually got to work together.
Gabriel: That was sort of true for a lot of us in the movie. Myself and Twitch, we have admired each other’s careers from afar, and this was the first chance we got to work together.
Misha how did it feel getting a part in this big franchise?
It was a dream come true. I danced for Michael Jackson and that was sort of the pinnacle of my dance career and it was hard for me to go back to dancing for other artists after that. I sort of hit my peak. So, I was looking for a transition and I have been doing a lot of choreography throughout the years. And I had planned on becoming an actor. My best friend is Kenny Wormald, who’s the lead in Footloose, so I watched him do it and we sorta have this relationship like ‘well, if you can do it, I can do it too!’ He inspired me, he sent me to his acting coach. and someone put a bug in my ear a few months before the audition So I started taking acting classes and I really fell in love with the role. I really connected to the part. When I read the part I was like ‘this is not Eddy, this is Misha Gabriel!’” I really felt a connection to the character Eddy and when I found out I booked the role it was like all the planets had aligned
Q: Can you tell us a little about Eddy?
“Fiery, hot-head, quick to react…I think – hopefully lovable, in a sense? [laughs] He definitely has those characteristics to him.
Q: How was it shooting in Miami?
Gabriel: “It was awesome. I was born in Miami so I got to go back to my hometown. It was hot! We shot a lot outside. But it was fun, we had a great time. We’d go out as a group, as a mob, and just take over clubs out there. There was no hope for anybody else there that was trying to dance.”
Q: This movie is premiering at the Chinese Theater in Hollywood, that’s a pretty big deal for you guys. Tell me about that.
Gabriel: “It’s tomorrow, I need to get a suit! [laughs] That’s all I can think about.”
“This is my second premiere. The first premiere I went to was for Michael Jackson’s This Is It. Sort of a different feel, I wasn’t acting in that film, it was documentary footage that had been taken and turned into the movie. I’m used to dancing back up, I’m used to being behind the artist, this is the first time that I’m getting some limelight for myself…it’s surreal
Will there be a final battle in this movie?
Gabriel: No battles. Personally as a dancer I am over it and I know that the dance community is over it as well. This movie is about these underprivileged kids and their use of dance to make something of themselves. At first we use dance as a creative outlet, but as the movie goes on dancing sort of becomes an outlet for creative protest. In the finale we are not battling another dance troupe, we’re sort of revolting against something else. No spoiler alerts. It’s a different take than the other films, but I think it’s just as impactful.
Will we see other dance styles outside of the hip hop realm?
Gabriel: You will also see a lot of new dance styles in the movie. Travis Wall, a choreographer on SYTYCD who also happens to be my roommate, choreographed some contemporary pieces for the movie. It’s really cool.
Who are your biggest inspirations?
Gabriel: Michael Jackson first of all and also my mother. My mom’s a ballet teacher and she taught me everything I know about work ethic and dance. When I moved to LA there were three choreographers who played an important role in my dance career: Brian Friedman, Gil Duldulao and Marty Kudelka.
This Q&A was originally posted on TheaterJones.com.