Wade takes up offer to dance with Jackson
Flashback to Variety Today 1991
By Shirley Broun
DREAMS do come true … just ask nine-year-old Wade Robson, of Brisbane, who recently packed all his worldly possessions and moved to America to dance with his idol, International superstar Michael Jackson.
Wade, who won National acclaim on popular talent show Starsearch, has worked with Michael previously. the star was so impressed with the young dancer that he issued an invitation for him to return to the United States to work with him on a number of projects that will see Wade sharing the screen with his idol.
It’s a dream that young Wade, whose precision, skill and fluency on the dance floor has made him almost a household name throughout Australia, is taking in his stride, but for his family it was a hectic period of reorganising in order to meet the deadline.
Variety Today managing editor Shirley Broun joined Wade, his mother Joy and sister Chantel for dinner just prior to their departure and the atmosphere was one of anxiety and excitement.
“Michael rang last Friday and asked if we could be ready to leave in two weeks. It has been a pretty hectic schedule ever since,” Joy said.
Hectic! Not only did the family have to pack, say their farewells to friends, family and school mates, but Wade and Joy also had to fly to Sydney to record a special episode of Starsearch and be back in time for a performance that weekend in a Queensland country town.
Dinner that night was a relaxed affair – just like a normal suburban home, despite the exciting times which lay ahead.
Chantel, 12, was out getting her hair trimmed and permed, ready for the trip and Dennis (Wade’s father) was working. Meanwhile Joy was busily preparing spaghetti bolognaise for dinner and Wade was practising his dance steps for the ensuing Starsearch appearance. I was made to feel totally welcome – like part of the family – with Wade and I engaging in `catch the coin’ games and magic tricks while Joy picked up Chantel.
A rubber snake placed strategically on my shoulder soon alerted me to Wade’s delight in being somewhat of a `trickster’.
“Wade and Michael are very similar in many ways,” Joy said. “They are both Virgos, enjoy drawing and playing tricks – I can see many similarities in the personalities as well.” The family have scores of facsimiles with messages and drawings from Michael.
Wade has also covered his wardrobe door with photographs of himself with the superstar, one of which bears the following message: “I’ve found a new inspiration. God has a special plan for your Wade. Just fulfill it. I love you. Michael Jackson.”
It was fate and sheer determination by Joy that eventually re-united Michael and his `Little One’, his nickname for Wade.
Wade, when only five years old, first met Michael after winning a `Michael Jackson’ dance competition in Brisbane. He, along with other winners from around the State, appeared with their idol on stage at the Brisbane Entertainment centre and pint-sized Wade not only stole the show but also Michael’s heart.
Videos taken by Michael’s personal press contingent also featured the young Brisbane school boy while he was awaiting the first `live’ glimpse of the super star.
Wade’s story unravelled like a fairytale from then on. On Australia Day 1990, as part of the Johnny Young talent School in Brisbane, Wade performed at Disneyland. During that visit, accompanied by his family, Wade was able to make contact with Michael.
“It was fate and a lot of luck that they saw each other again, because as Michael said it is virtually impossible to get to him – but we managed to,” Joy said.
The family, including Wade’s grandparents, were invited to stay at Michael’s ranch in Los Angeles, an invitation which was extended and accepted twice more prior to the family’s decision to head to the States for good. Joy, who saw her son’s dancing talents at age two when she gave him a video of the Making of thriller, has been the inspiration and driving force behind her son’s success. And, she has witnessed the development of a close bond which now exists between Wade (who turned nine on September 17) and Michael.
Ask Wade what he’d like to do when he grows up and he says: “I want to dance like Michael Jackson, and be a basketballer or baseball player.”
In May 1990, Wade appeared with Michael Jackson in international magazine layouts for `Michael Jackson LA Gear’, and since arriving in America in early September, his wardrobe has been filled with the popular line. He has also just completed an unscheduled appearance on one of Michael’s videos, still in production, and is soon to start work on two more.
The decision to move to America to further Wade’s career was not easy, and resulted in Wade’s father, Dennis, remaining behind in Australia. Wade also leaves an older brother Shane, 18.
A sad note to the story is that thieves ransacked the family’s Brisbane home, filling a truck with all their gear which was packed ready to ship to the United States. Among the stolen items was a limited edition Michael Jackson Platiunum album – a gift from it’s namesake.
Nevertheless, the Robson family are enjoying their new life in the glamour and glitter of American entertainment. It’s a far cry from their quiet suburban lifestyle downunder but there are still a few things they will miss. “I’ll miss my Dad,” Wade said.