Anthony Burrell, Mariah Carey’s former choreographer and creative director, opened up in a phone conversation with Complex about just why Mariah Carey’s performances have been so lackluster lately.
According to Burrell, the truth of the matter is that Carey is simply not a dancer.
“It’s just typical Mariah,” Burrell said of the performances in which Carey has notably done very little in terms of movement on stage. “Mariah is clear: when she doesn’t wanna do something, she doesn’t do it. She’s performing with lackluster and no f***s given, and it’s taking away her star.”
He added that he was not focused on giving her over-the-top dances but on making her comfortable while he was her choreographer.
“Working with an artist like Mariah, who’s not a mover first, it’s always a challenge to get them to think physically and not just vocally,” he said. “You always have to keep in mind that they’re a singer first. The priority is not teaching them 100 counts of 8, or endless routines. I wanted to give Mariah a modern push to revamp her, give her a fresher, more modern feel, make her more aware of her body and her lines, and not look like her feet hurt when she’s walking.”
He added that since he was fired in January, there is no one to guide her on what to do onstage, and her previous reliance on him is showing.
“You’re a legend,” Burrell said. “But you don’t care, your team doesn’t care. They’re not guiding and directing her. She’s back to where she was before. It’s not like she’s never looked this bad before; I just stepped her game up.”
He added that the sense he got from Carey’s team was that they were inexperienced, and that was part of the problem as well.
“It felt like they were so new at their jobs, and had no direction,” he said. “When you’re green, you’re playing things by trial and error, and there were a lot of errors. I was very vocal about things that weren’t right. When you try to take a shortcut and you don’t know the clues, you’re bound to get screwed up or screwed, because you don’t have the experience of running a tour or a billion-dollar empire. Some of the dancers her team hired are great dancers, but they’re not choreographers or creative directors.”
However, he said, Carey is still, in his opinion, a “world-class artist” and “a great person to work with.”