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Becoming Michael Jackson

A Kimberley-born performer is taking on the ultimate challenge – in a tribute show to the King of Pop.

Michael Jackson impersonator Dantanio Goodman gets ready to perform at the Michael Jackson HIStory Show. Picture: Cindy Archillies/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Ever wonder what it takes to be a Michael Jackson impersonator?

Well, Kimberley born Daniel Goodman is doing just that, touring the world as a tribute artist.

He has spent the last 25 years perfecting his craft through singing and dancing and has even managed to master those epic dances moves that only MJ is famous for.

“I was truly inspired by the age of nine when I watched my brother dancing to Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough that’s where the influence really started and by the age of ten I think I could do the moonwalk,” he said.

It’s clear right off the bat that Dantanio, as he prefers to be called, has dedicated his life to becoming Michael Jackson.

Upon first glance, he is the King of Pop in every way. A carbon copy in fact.

From the fedora hat, sunglasses, and gloves and of course the King of Pop wouldn’t be the King of Pop without his signature white socks and black shoes which prove to be perfect for moonwalking.

Dantanio’s transformation would also not be complete without MJ’s soft and unique toned of voice.

His face lights up as he shares his experiences both on and off stage in an ever so slightly American accent.

“It’s a mental state and an emotional transition because becoming Michael Jackson is not just about getting on stage and being Michael Jackson, it starts backstage with the make-up, it starts with the costume and personality,” the tribute artist said.

“When I leave the dressing room I tell myself I am Michael Jackson,” he added.

A smiling Dantanio believes he was destined to play the role of MJ.

WATCH: Becoming Michael: In conversation with MJ impersonator Dantanio Goodman

“On and off stage the reactions are different, but they are both beautiful. On stage its pandemonium, the audience goes wild,” he said.

The MJ performer points out that being the King of Pop takes a lot of work and discipline.

“There’s a set structure that I live by - I drink a lot of water, I sleep as much as I can and discipline,” he said.

He described the show as giving fans the ultimate Michael Jackson experience.

“We brought that experience home to the fans. It’s generational. We want to continue the legacy and transcend it over to the next generation,” Dantanio said.

“When fans see me it’s an emotional mix. Some fans just want to hold my hand. Sometimes it’s scary. People go into a frenzy because their emotional connection to Michael is so deep,” he said.

In 2014, the South African tribute artist won the part following a worldwide search by Australian Showtime producers.

Since then he has been touring the world doing what he loves - singing and dancing and paying tribute to his idol.

The King of Pop may have passed on nearly a decade ago, but his memory still lives on.

For Dantanio it all started with a dream and the rest, as they say, is history.

“It’s a beautiful experience and I appreciate the opportunity to bring someone as legendary as Michael back to life,” he said.

The Cape Town leg of the hit tribute show, Michael Jackson HIStory, runs at the Artscape until next month.

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