Dreams can come true

Greek dancer Leeco Kosmidis grew up with Michael Jackson and dreamed that one day he would dance with him. Now his dream has come true

When Leeco Kosmidis was just knee high to a grasshopper, he watched one artist in complete awe. He watched one man revolutionise music and dance. Through his performances in film clips – which he made into mini movies with his songs – he changed the way we viewed music videos and performance forever. It was the time of the MTV generation; like so many before and so many after Leeco would watch this one artist and be inspired, and recreate the dance moves at home.
The artist was the irreplace-able and brilliant Michael Jackson – the King of Pop.
“I remember watching his moves in awe as a baby, his whole attitude and style,” Leeco tells Neos Kosmos. He was taken aback with Jackson’s style and ability to engage in all dance genres. From a young age he knew he wanted to do the same.
Leeco was born in Georgia to a Greek father and Armenian mother. Due to the isolation of his country of birth, his exposure to music was minimal, but they always showed the big stars. Michael Jackson was huge – but unbeknownst to the young boy, the artist was already the recipient of colossal popularity all over the world.
When he was a toddler, his family moved to Cyprus. Hailing from an artistic family – with a musician father who toured the whole of the USSR, and a piano playing mother, the young boy was always encouraged in the arts. He was only three when he started to dance.
“I have a video of myself from my third birthday, dancing,” he says with a giggle.
And his feet never stopped. At the age of nine, Leeco took up traditional Greek and Cypriot dance classes. But at around about the same time, he discovered break dancing. Again influenced by the power of film clips, Leeco stumbled across New York rappers Run DMC’s visual to their hit song It’s Like That. The clip shows street dancers in an urban style dance off in a warehouse. All breaking, popping – moving in a way the young boy hadn’t seen before.
“It got me so excited,” Leeco remembers of when he first saw the clip. “I remember I didn’t know what they were doing; I didn’t know anything about break dancing or street dancing culture in general.”
So off the ever culturally inquisitive nine-year-old Leeco went, to explore the genre and culture of street dance. He started breaking by himself in the streets of Cyprus, and at the age of 12, took himself off to the studio to learn more about street style.
To this dancer, classes and forever being open to all genres are the reason that sets a good dancer from a great. And in an industry where it’s dog-eat-dog, you need to be the best. He says it’s paramount for any young dancer to ensure that they learn and learn as much as they can about every genre of dance. After all, that’s what he did as the winner of Greece’s first ever production of the hit reality TV show So You Think You Can Dance. As a lover of dance – and a person who loves to extend themselves and push the limits – Leeco applied for the show and got his real big break as a dancer by being crowned Greece’s first ever winner.
“I realised I loved dance in general so I went on the show and had to do everything,” he explains, “from contemporary to ballroom, hip hop, lyrical – I was exposed to all the genres of dance.
“And now, I call myself a dancer. I feel as though I can do any genre, any style.”
Winning So You Think You Can Dance turned out to be a pivotal moment in what would soon be a varied career. He was asked by some of Greece’s biggest musical talents – such as Despina Vandi and Greek rapper NiVO – to choreograph and dance in their film clips, he was the choreographer on the TV show Greece’s Next Top Model and a contestant on Greece’s Got Talent.
But nothing could prepare him for the big break that was just around the corner, to be one of the 49 dancers in the world production of Cirque De Soleil’s tribute to the King of Pop, Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour.
The production uses Cirque du Soleil’s creativity to give fans a unique view into the spirit, passion and heart of the artistic genius who transformed global pop culture. The underpinnings of The Immortal World Tour are Michael Jackson’s powerful, inspirational music and lyrics, brought to life with extraordinary power and breathtaking intensity. The show celebrates the legacy of an artist who gave so much to music and pop culture.
“It’s like a dream come true,” exclaims Leeco about when he was invited to be part of the production.
“I wanted to dance with Michael Jackson, to tour with him, but sadly that didn’t happen.”
Michael Jackson passed away on June 25, 2009, aged 50.
“This is the closest I will ever get to dancing with him,” Leeco says of being a dancer on the show. Some of Michael Jackson’s band members provide the music for the production as well as his dancers and choreographers, who are part of the show.
“It really feels like he is there,” says Leeco of performing in a show that is a homage to a legend, “you can feel his presence at every performance. And the audience can feel it too.”
Goosebumps – that’s what Leeco says the fans feel at every performance, and that’s what Australian audiences can expect when the show kicks off next month. He says night after night, they perform to screaming audiences who leave inspired by the message they carry on behalf of the King of Pop – love, peace and unity. And as a performer, he says he is humbled and grateful after every night to be able to do that. The show captures the essence, the soul and inspiration of Michael Jackson – celebrating a legacy that continues to transcend generations. The secrets of Michael’s inner world are unlocked – his love of music and dance, as well as fairy tales and magic, and the fragile beauty of nature.
And now, as for this Greek Cypriot boy from Georgia, who lives out his dream night after night, he refuses to sit on his laurels.
“I still have dreams – big dreams,” he says.
“I never want to stop dancing and performing. When my body says stop and I can’t go on anymore then I will. Until then…”
Given that he’s only 27, we have plenty more time to see the talent that is Leeco Kosmidis.
Cirque du Soleil’s Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour Australian tour will include strictly limited engagements at Perth Arena (18 to 22 September), Sydney’s Allphones Arena (26 to 29 September), Brisbane Entertainment Centre (2 to 6 October), Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena (9 to 13 October) and Adelaide Entertainment Centre (15 to 17 October).
Book online at www.ticketek.com.au or by calling 132 849. Ticket prices range from $89 to $189 each.