YOU CAN DANCE:: GGT.com blogger and resident Madonnaologist, Philip Tetro, got to interview someone from Madonna‘s past – Blond Ambition Tour dancer and Dance Captain, Kevin Stea. Stea is a creative adventurer, enjoying a long voyage in the ocean of pop culture. His career has brought him on stage with singers like Lady Gaga, Madonna, Michael Jackson and Rihanna; on camera with directors like Mike Nichols, Tarsem Singh and McG; in front of the lenses of photographers like David Lachapelle, Peggy Sirota, Herb Ritts and Mary Ellen Marks; and on the runway for designers like [Jean-Paul] Gaultier, Thierry Mugler, Fendi and Calvin Klein. He performs under the pseudonym That Rogue Romeo with his own music, and is constantly looking for new ways to express himself. Check out some never-before-heard juice on his working with Madonna over twenty years ago, as well as what he thinks about her career to date!
You’ve worked with several big-name artists such as Michael Jackson, Lady Gaga, and Britney Spears (just to name a few). Which artist had the best work ethic, and who have you learned the most from as a performer?
Lady Gaga works harder than any other performer I’ve ever seen. Period. Her stamina is unbelievable. From her, I’ve learned that persistence and tenacity are the fuel that drives the talent engine. From Michael Jackson, I learned that appreciation of others is just as powerful a talent as a voice. From Vincent Paterson and Kenny Ortega, I’ve learned to always bring life to movement, that little details make the difference between the banal and exquisite, and that the only perfection in your art is being true to yourself and your imperfections. From Prince, I learned that instinctual creativity brings genius and chaos in equal amounts. From Madonna, I’ve learned that the world is a buffet of knowledge and experience, that discipline is the name of the game, but be careful what you wish for. From Rob Marshall, I learned that grace, ease and fun is possible under pressure, if you create a context for the whole team. I could name something from each and every person I’ve worked with. The second I stop observing and learning is the moment I die.
What are your current musical ventures?
I perform under the name That Rogue Romeo. He’s a bit of a dark tortured lover with a big heart. Hmm, that’s sounding a bit like me lately. Perhaps our worlds are colliding, or perhaps I’m simply getting closer to my true nature and embracing it. I write what’s true for me. I’ve tried to write stuff I don’t care about, [but] it never works. I’m about to release a full-length album entitled ‘Machine & Magic’. [It’s] a deluxe version really, with 13 songs, mixes, and some alternative versions. I’m from the Robyn school of thought – she released three albums of amazing music last year
I’ve been writing and singing off and on for 20 years, but only recently did I realize that it would be my life’s greatest regret if I didn’t give myself to it. Now it owns me. I could live in the studio. I’ve JUST launched a kick-starter campaign to fund three new music videos with some of the dance world’s most talented people, like Tony Testa, Brian Friedman and Mark Kanemura. Super-choreographer Vincent Paterson (who DID Blond Ambition, “Vogue”, “Smooth Criminal” and Michael Jackson’s BAD tour, and “Dancer in The Dark”) called me right after seeing the campaign and asked “WHY AM I NOT DIRECTING ONE OF YOUR VIDEOS?!” Ha ha! It may not be in line with the kickstarter intention of giving opportunity to young new talent, BUT WOW. If there’s ANYTHING left over, and I mean $50 even, it will go towards the Vincent Paterson/Rogue Romeo video fund. I will make that happen for sure. I’m FLOORED and honored. I KNOW I’m on the right track when I get completely giddy at the thought of doing these projects… shouldn’t life be an exploration in joy? What makes me happiest? Bringing all the images, sounds, steps, designs from inside my brain OUT into the physical world. And, my song “City of Glass” was About.com’s Song of the Day last month, and was #1 on the Zurich Pride Radio Chart for 7 weeks last year. Someone liked my song, I hope! That music video is out now!
Where do you want to be in ten years?
Surrounded by studly sycophants lounging on a giant pile of cash. Well, maybe just happy, writing, creating, partnered, creatively respected, earning a living, and working with friends. More specific? I want That Rogue Romeo to be more brand than musical artist, creating new ventures unseen/untried before, earning enough money to pay all involved handsomely, making unforgettable imagery and sounds, injury-free, traveling, free clothes, love. I want to leave the dance world a better place than when I arrived, with tours and videos covered under the unions. I want to inspire others to follow their creative spirits and allow themselves to get down and dirty, know that my words have whispered under their shirts and into their hearts, and that someone has really heard me.