Jackson pulled it together in final rehearsals, choreographer says

A choreographer on Michael Jackson's doomed "This Is It" concert series testified Monday she was frustrated the singer was missing rehearsals but that her concerns were swept away during the last two preparation sessions for his anticipated “This Is It” comeback concerts in London.

“I finally saw what I was looking to see,” said Stacy Walker.

Walker said she was so encouraged she told her mother to buy a ticket for opening night in London. "I was very excited and relieved and hopeful,” she testified.

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The testimony, coming in the third week of a wrongful-death trial in downtown Los Angeles, followed earlier reports from witnesses who described Jackson as being in such feeble health that they doubted he could pull off the 50-concert series.

One witness, Jackson’s longtime makeup and hair artist, said she warned others that she believed the pop singer was dying.

Walker had worked as a dancer on Jackson's 40-minute video "Ghost" in the mid-1990s, a job that she said was the big break of her career, and toured with him.

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She was associate choreographer on "This Is It," working mainly with the dancers. Choreographer Travis Payne, she said, would often rehearse with Jackson in another room or at his rented mansion.

Walker also testified that Jackson was much skinnier than he had been when she had worked with him previously.

Walker was the first witness to testify for Anschutz Entertainment Group, the promoter of the London concerts. Jackson's mother and children are suing AEG, saying the company hired and poorly supervised Conrad Murray, the tour doctor who administered Jackson a fatal dose of the anesthetic propofol in the final days before the concerts.

AEG says that Jackson wanted Murray with him and that any payments the company was supposed to make to the doctor were advances to the singer.

Walker testified out of turn because she will be out of town and not available when AEG presents its case.

She said she wasn't "shocked" Jackson was missing rehearsals. "I was irritated he wasn’t coming.”

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jeff.gottlieb@latimes.com