Missy Elliott has been a longtime proponent of young talent busting a move in her music videos (see: Alyson Stoner), so it was only fitting that her choreographer Galen Hooks recruited a pint-size dynamo for Misdemeanor’s tribute at Billboard‘s Women in Music ceremony, which aired Friday night (Dec. 18) on Lifetime.
Meet Fiona Krkuti, the 10-year-old dancer who has been popping and locking since she was 3 years old. Initially tackling ballet, the New York native/ current New Jersey resident has gravitated to hip-hop dance, posting YouTube clips of her doing choreo to the likes of Justin Bieber and Travi$ Scott.
After winning the Monsters of Hip Hop Atlanta freestyle battle earlier this year, Krkuti’s agent submitted a video of her victory dance as well as several freestyle sessions to Missy’s choreographer, Galen Hooks, who immediately recruited her for the Women in Music number.
“Fiona has the type of fire and personality in her dancing that is so synonymous with Missy’s dancers in the past,” Hooks says over email. “Not only that, but I could tell from watching links of her dancing that she is a smart dancer who could pick up choreography quickly, which was crucial since she had to learn it off a rehearsal tape shot in L.A. while she was in NY.”
Krkuti’s ability to pick up choreography quickly could be credited to the fact that she trains at FUNKTion Dance Complex in Edison, N.J., and is a member of several dance crews, including New York and New Jersey’s Beat Club Crew, Los Angeles’ immaBeast Dance Company. She is also the lead counselor at CAMP Pulse, assisting choreographers for the national touring convention and is the captain of the Brooklyn Nets Kids, the NBA team’s kids dance team.
Despite her impressive resume, she describes her Missy moment as “the best.”
“I’ve known about Missy Elliott’s music since I was 8 years old,” she tells Billboard over the phone, noting that she served as Stoner’s mini-me for the Women in Music show. “It was just so amazing [dancing for her], and I love her music.”
She says they even bonded backstage after the performance. “She was just so nice,” Krkuti recalls. “She told me I was a great dancer and gave me a hug.”
While the Women in Music gig was her first time dancing for Elliott, she hopes to work with the Virginia rapstress more in the future, but reveals that she has even bigger dreams beyond dance.
“I do want to become a professional dancer,” she says, “but also, I’ve been thinking about wanting to become the president [of the United States]. Hillary Clinton is now trying to go for president and I thought it was just really cool.”