Kiwi Kiel Tutin choreographed for the fabulous Jennifer Lopez

What's Fresh 09/02/2018

Kiel Tutin is still pinching himself. When the UK-born Kiwi dancer used to sing along to Jennifer Lopez's 'Waiting for Tonight' at age five, he didn't think that one day he'd be working with the pop superstar herself. 

But as Lopez goes on stage to perform an hour-long performance for the Super Bowl Saturday show in Minneapolis, the 22-year-old ex-Royal Dance Crew member is making his age-five self proud, knowing he played a large part in it. 

Tutin, originally from the UK, has been living in New Zealand for more than a decade, and classes himself as "full-blown Kiwi". As a kid he says he was always performing.

"It was singing and acting but then it turned out I was better at dancing then I was at those," he laughs. 

He's been choreographing for Jolin Tsai, "the Britney Spears of China", for the past two and a half years, heading over to China around three times a month to choreograph for the pop star.  

But Tutin tells Newshub it was through fellow Royal family member Michael Metuakore that Tutin caught the eye of Lopez's team, Metuakore having worked as a back-up dancer for Lopez since 2015. 

Lopez's creative directors watched some of Tutin's work. 

"Three days later I was on a plane to LA," Tutin says.

He spent a week with the pop superstar, helping with choreography for her Calibash performance, similar to the 2015 AMAS number choreographed by our most successful New Zealand dancer, Parris Goebel. 

Tutin seems a touch too humble to say it, but Lopez's team were obviously impressed because within a few weeks he was being flown back to help choreograph her Super Bowl Saturday performance in Minneapolis.

Tutin says the whole experience is "really surreal".

"Even now I have to pinch myself. I used to sing along to her music and now I'm teaching her dancers."

He says the pop princess has a special connection to New Zealand and our performers. 

"She definitely is so involved in dance that she knows the Kiwi culture and knows how good our dancers are."

While the "surreal" experience is sure to open doors in the future, Tutin is still just soaking in the craziness of it all. 

"She said she liked me and she liked my stuff, which always good to hear. It's just crazy considering there are so many killer dance crews around LA, that they liked little old me."

The message is clear - we're going to see big things from Kiel Tutin. 

Newshub