By Ariel Worthy
The Birmingham Times
What’s it like to dance alongside Beyoncé in a hit video?
“It was amazing working with her,” said Birmingham native Christina Webber, who appeared in the megastar’s “Formation” video. “She’s such a hard worker. She was part of the creative process. She was super-polite. And when her daughter was around she was a mom. When you think about celebrities, you think they let their nannies do all the work. She was nothing like that.”
At age 31, Webber has made a number of career strides. As a professional dancer, she has performed with some of the top artists in the country, including Pharrell Williams, Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs, Clifford “T.I.” Harris, Ledisi, Jeremih, and Iggy Azalea. She’s also an actress. And before moving to Los Angeles, she lived in Memphis and was a dancer for the Memphis Grizzlies of the National Basketball Association.
But it’s her role dancing in Beyoncé’s “Formation” video—released a day before the 2016 Super Bowl—that’s memorable.
Webber got the job after she had worked with the choreographer for “Single Ladies,” another Beyoncé hit, in another show. She didn’t even have to audition for the part.
What stood out about Beyoncé, according to Webber, was that even on days off the megastar was up early to work.
“We got to San Jose a week before the Super Bowl and were off most of the time, but she was at the dance studio every morning at 7 a.m. rehearsing for about four hours.”
Webber can relate to that type of work ethic. She’s been dancing since she was in elementary school, when her father made her an honorary dance girl at Center Street Middle School, where he was a band director. She continued dancing at Huffman High School and the University of Alabama, where she studied Management Information Systems. She also is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc.
Although Webber still dances occasionally with singer Jeremih, mostly during weekend shows, she is now focusing on her acting career. The lighter dance schedule makes it easier for her to focus on acting, she said.
“At this point I’m satisfied with what I’ve done in the area of dance, and I’m just moving more into acting,” Webber said.
She has appeared in commercials for Honda, BlackPeopleMeet.com, HotWire.com, and franchise hair salon Fantastic Sams. She had a role in “Questions,” an independent film directed by Avery Waddell. And she made her television debut as a dancer in Laurieann Gibson’s “Born to Dance.”
“Working on developing my acting career takes a lot of preparation,” Webber said.
Her goal is to be a full-time film and television actress. She also would like to start a nonprofit through which she can “travel around and speak to [young girls], encouraging them to become women with standards and goals,” she said, “and helping them develop a passion for the right things, not the things society tells us to become passionate about.”
Teaching dance is another possibility for Webber. When she came home to Birmingham in July, she held a dance camp during an empowerment summit with a former high school teacher.
“I wanted to do my own camp, but I wasn’t able to,” Webber said. “I was so happy she came into my life again so I could hold the camp.”
If she could give any advice to anyone trying to achieve their goals of dancing and acting it would be to continue “nourishing their craft,” Webber said.
“Don’t get complacent,” she added. “Learning takes time, especially with dancing and acting.”
For those who plan to pursue their goals by moving to a city like Los Angeles, for instance, Webber’s advice: stay focused.
“L.A. is a place where someone can easily get distracted, but for me I knew what I wanted,” she said.
Moving to L.A. was never in her mind until she prayed about her next move, Webber said: “God has taken care of me since I moved. People always ask me, ‘How did you get work so fast?’ It’s because He continually takes care of me, I know what I’m here for, and I’m focused on getting there.”