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Michael Jackson's final rehearsal: 'He was at his best,' says associate choreographer

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The associate choreographer for Michael Jackson’s comeback tour says that the 50-year-old performer “was at his best” before his sudden death last week. “He really was in good shape, he was moving well,” Stacy Walker tells EW. Walker worked with choreographer Travis Payne on the “This Is It” tour that Jackson would have headlined in London this summer. “I don’t know what he was feeling on the inside but he certainly looked good on the outside. He was very, very up and happy. We all know he wasn’t a big guy. He was always very lean. Oddly enough, his best rehearsals were his last two on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. That’s where all the magic happened. We were all like, ‘Wow!’ It was stunning and ironic that he was at his best, right before he left us.”

Walker says she and Payne were rehearsing the show’s 11 dancers at Staples Center in Los Angeles when they heard the news about Jackson. “We were waiting for Michael to come,” Walker recalls. “None of us believed it. You know, there’s so much craziness around Michael’s life, so we are pretty good at sticking with the truth. We didn’t truly believe anything until our director Kenny Ortega got an official call.”

Talks are still ongoing over whether to continue Jackson’s show in some form. “We’re hoping to still do something,” says Walker. “I don’t really know what that is at this point because it’s all very fresh, but all of us feel the need to somehow spread his message because he had a big message. It was very important to Michael for people to get along without judgment and make this world a better place. Without sounding corny, it was about taking care of each other. We’re all very hopeful we’ll be able to do something and honor his life and get his message out there.”

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