BEIJING (Reuters) - Almost a year after Michael Jackson’s death, the spirit of the King of Pop appears to live on in a 4-year-old Chinese boy, who is fast becoming an international dance sensation.
Wang Yiming, who is known as Xiao Bao or “little treasure,” has already been making waves across the world with his dance moves, appearing on U.S. television show “Ellen” and performing at the World Expo 2010, which opened in Shanghai this month.
A favorite of Chinese media, Xiao Bao draws curious crowds whenever he breaks into a dance routine, which his mother Bian Aiqing says happens almost every time he hears music.
“When he was young, we just started playing music to him and he started moving around like this. But we didn’t think that he had such a strong feeling for music,” Bian said.
“When he was just a couple of months old we would let him listen to music and he would immediately stop crying and calm down,” she told Reuters Television.
Xiao Bao was born prematurely, and doctors suggested moving his limbs to music would help build his weak muscles, but his parents were surprised by how quickly and passionately he took to the rhythm.
Dancing since he was two years old, he has now mastered the moonwalk and other signature Jackson moves, performing them to hits such as “Beat It,” “Billie Jean” and “Dangerous.”
“Even before I was born I would listen to music and dance in my mum’s stomach,” Xiao Bao said.
Before long, his passion turned into an obsession — the family spends up to 20,000 yuan ($3,000) a month on dance training with a professional and outfits including tailor-made suits, hats and shirts.
Xiao Bao is serious about his dancing career and says he would not mind becoming famous one day. But his parents say that no matter how talented their son is, his schooling will be their priority.
Jackson’s death on June 25, 2009 from cardiac arrest at the age of 50 shocked fans around the world and sparked a new wave of interest in his music, while a documentary film featuring the singer, “This Is It,” became a blockbuster hit.
The King of Pop remains hugely popular in China, with Chinese developers drawing up plans last year to build a scaled-down version of Neverland Ranch on an island off Shanghai to commemorate him.
Editing by Miral Fahmy