Interview: Dancer/Activist Michael Silas On Life After Gaga

Michael Silas is all about passion. Whether he’s competing on the Bravo dance competition series Step It Up And Dance, dancing for the likes of Christina Aguilera, Ne-Yo or Kelly Rowland or conquering the world with a certain up-and-comer named Lady Gaga, Silas exudes passion 110%. As one of Gaga’s original male dancers at a time when the world was just discovering her, he toured around the world as well as appeared in the “Poker Face”, “Paparazzi”, “Telephone” and “Judas” videos.

But what happens when that part of your life is behind you?

For Silas, his time working with Gaga was just the beginning. AfterElton recently caught up with him Los Angeles for an interview and photo shoot where the charming Silas looked back at his coming out struggles, keeping himself grounded while working with an international phenomena, his unwavering commitment to young gay people as well as who exactly has a hold on his heart these days.

AfterElton: Dancers seem to just have it in their blood from a young age. Was dancing always your thing?
Michael Silas:
No. That actually was not my thing at all. Growing up in Germany, all I played was sports, football, basketball, soccer and baseball. I had no inkling of what dance was round me. But I was always infatuated by movies like House Party, music videos like Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson and Madonna. So, I was always infatuated with it, but I didn’t have the courage to explore it. I didn’t think that sports players were dancers at all. So, I just figured I would play the sports. Fast forward. I moved to Houston. Ninth grade year I saw a pep rally. I saw boy dancers dancing masculine, dancing in clothes that I would wear. I thought, ‘Oh, my gosh. This is something I can do.’ So, I slowly but surely started to explore it. I would wait after school to watch the rehearsals, try to learn the dances. Then one day I got the courage to quit football. I quit football cold turkey. And I also came out in high school. I quit varsity football, joined the dance team, and I was gay. You can only imagine how that was for me.

AE: How was it? Tell me.
MS:
There was definitely still bullying going on then, but not as prevalent as today is. I had some of it. But it gave me the strength to keep forward. After I moved to America and saw that it was something that was tangible, I explored it full throttle. But I didn’t have the support of family and friends in the beginning so, again, I only had my support. That’s all I needed. I feel like you utilize yourself and believe in yourself, and trust yourself you’ll go much further without having to use advice of other people.

 

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