Spotlight On: A Series on Culture & the Arts

“Spotlight On” is XelaWho’s regular monthly series on all things cultural & artistic in Xela and Guatemala. The topic for January 2010 is: Ángel Rodas, The Guatemalan Michael Jackson

On June 25th of last year, when Michael Jackson took his final breath, he certainly couldn’t have imagined that his name would become even more widespread after his death than it ever had during his life. Nor could he have imagined hat a country he had never visited would pay him a post-mortem homage with a show featuring imitators from throughout the entire country.

This homage, which was celebrated in Guatemala City in November of 2009, united more than 100 different competitors from different regions of the country. Despite the large number of participants, only one of them went home with the title “Best Michael Jackson imitator in Guatemala”, as well as a prize of $500.

The lucky winner was Ángel Rodas, a native of Quetzaltenango who continues to reside here in the Centro Historico. Ángel, who considers himself one of the many big fans of the King of Pop, prepared for the competition for several weeks. Initially he took part in a preliminary round, in which he qualified for a 2nd round together with 74 other competitors. He continued on to the 3rd and then the final round. It was in that final round when he won 1st prize, convincing the jury with a mix that included several different and memorable songs of Jackson’s. His performance lasted only 1 minute, 10 seconds.

Since his return from the Capital and his being named “The Guatemalan Michael Jackson”, Ángel has offered various presentations around Xela. I was able to see one of his shows recently while strolling with my family at the Minerva Zoo. Ángel came across as a very energetic young man with plenty of desire to dance and interact with the public. That day, together with a popular telephone company, he gave a free performance that was part of a casting session that was seeking talent for a show that takes place a few days before Christmas at the Teatro Municipal. Half of the funds raised at the performance I saw were donated to restore and improve the Minerva Zoo.

And how does the Guatemalan Michael Jackson come across? For all of you who want to see Ángel’s act, you can check out his video on YouTube. In the video, you can see him dancing to the song Billie Jean in one of his Xela performances, as well as a post-show press conference. Enjoy!

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