Tokoroa local booked to dance for JLo in Vegas

By Kimiora Kaire-Melbourne

A 24-year-old of Cook Island and Māori descent from small town Tokoroa has always worked hard to pursue his passion and has dreamt of being an international dancer.  That dream has just become a reality.

Michael Metuakore has not only featured in New Zealand’s first multi-million dollar dance film “Born to Dance”, but after auditioning with 300 other male dancers, he was one of the final seven chosen to be a back-up dancer for Jennifer Lopez.

However, this was not an easy road for Metuakore.  Being from a small town, he decided to broaden his horizons.

He and his brother packed their bags and moved to Auckland in 2012 to dance with The Royal Family, a dance company run by the world-renowned choreographer, Parris Goebel.

He has set up a Givealittle page to help fund his flights, accommodation and visa so he can dance for JLo at her Las Vegas show, All I Have.  On the page, he says how hard it was for him to move to the big smoke.

“The move to Auckland was the biggest sacrifice I had to make.  I always saw Tokoroa as my home.  I was comfortable, I had my family and didn't know the outside world.”

His mentor and close friend, Parris Goebel took to Instagram to congratulate Metuakore saying, “I’ve seen him at his worst and at his best, but this man took every inch of potential within him and worked so hard in hoping his opportunity would one day come.”


Metuakore is the most recent success story to come out of The Royal Family, but definitely not the first and he won't be the last.

One member, Lance Savali is currently dancing his way around the world with Chris Brown, and another dancer from the company, Alexandra Carson, is dancing alongside Janet Jackson.  Not to mention Parris Goebel who has worked with Janet Jackson, Jennifer Lopez and Nicki Minaj, just to name a few.

It is clear that Goebel is overjoyed by Metuakore taking one step closer to the big time.  In her Instagram post she went on to say, “It was his first audition EVER but every min of hard work he did in our small country prepared him for this moment. DREAM BIG.  I hope this inspires you all. I am so proud of you!”

You can find the link to his Givealittle page here.