Toni Basil is a multi-award-winning choreographer, dancer ,director, producer, recording artist and street dance historian.
Best known for her hit single and dancing video Hey Mickey, Toni received a Gold Album for 1981’s Word of Mouth and double platinum records for her International smash single Mickey in the UK, Canada Mexico and Australia. She received a Grammy nomination for her Word of Mouth long-form video album, which she produced, choreographed and directed. Mickey was Billboard magazine’s #1 song for the month of December 1982 and her video was installed into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as one of the groundbreaking video and singles of the 1980s. The Mickey music video has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art and in 1992, Toni earned herself a place as an American Video Artist in the coveted Museum of Modern Art’s calendar. She starred, co-directed and choreographed two self-titled BBC television specials, which were re-aired in record time due to unprecedented audience response and are credited as launching Mickey as a hit single in the U.K. charts and ultimately, worldwide.
Behind the scenes she has choreography and directorial credits on over 50 videos TV shows , commercials (2 award-winning Gap commercials), three Sesame Street videos and has choreographed and/or co-directed concerts and shows for Tina Turner, David Bowie, Bette Midler, David Lee Roth, Mick Jagger, Linda Ronstadt Lilly Tomlin, Enrique Iglesias as well as many others.
Toni is one of the founding members of the Street dance group The Lockers considered “the group that changed the face of dance” establishing street dance as a true American art form. The group broke boundaries on television toured and opened for Frank Sinatra Carnegie Hall.
In 2008 Toni received Hip Hop International’s highest award Living Legend of Hip Hop. Former recipients include MC Hammer, DJ Kool Herc , Grandmaster Caz, Don “Campbellock” Campbell and Boogaloo Sam.
She has worked on an incredible range of television programming, from TV Lands Salute to Soul Train, NAACP Image Awards, Saturday Night Live, Sesame Street and numerous Music Awards shows. Well as being a Guest Judge on So You Think You Can Dance 2008 & 2009
Toni’s most notable feature film credits include choreography for such classics as American Graffiti and Legally Blonde. Her subtle choreographic hand was visible throughout Tom Hanks directorial debut, That Thing You Do.
In the 60s toni filmed short art films, Game of the Week, A Dance Film, Our Trip and The Ping Pong Match. Pre-dating music videos, these avant-garde pieces have now found a new audience and were exhibited at the Santa Monica Museum of Art and New York’s Grey Art Gallery. The L.A. Times Art Reviewer Christopher Knight noted that” filmmaker Toni Basil’s deft editing transformed an ordinary ping pong match between Billy Gray and Dean Stockwell into an energetic dance routine.”
Her acting credits include a wide variety of television shows and numerous films including Golden Globe an Academy award winning American classic films Easy Rider and Five Easy Pieces.
In 2018, Quentin Tarantino crowned her as the “Goddess of Go-Go” as she choreographed his Oscar winning film, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. He also stated that the musical number in which she is partnered on-screen with Davy Jones during Daddy’s Song for The Monkees film, Head, ranks in his top five favorite musical American musical movie numbers of all time.
Social Media has not left Toni Basil behind with a multitude of her dance videos going viral and in the television news media as featured on Inside Edition and CNN exhibiting her unique form of artistic mastery of fusion of her dance styles.
Toni is a classically trained ballet dancer with a multitude of street dance styles. She adds to her list of expertise in world dance and partnering Afro/Cuban, Tango, Flamenco, Salsa, East coast, and West coast swing.
She remains contemporary in the dance world as she teaches and judges internationally within the street dance community for which she is revered as a visionary and the matriarch of that community .
Continuing in the family tradition (her father, an orchestra leader and mother, a vaudevillian) she has excelled in every entertainment medium – stage, music, commercials, television, film, and video.
She’s been at the cutting edge of pop culture for the last six decades with one of the most unique and eclectic careers in show business. Her unique form of artistic mastery is at the heart of all of her work. She remains a true pioneer in the dance world, a visionary and a genuine American treasure.