The King of Pop’s salsa side 

Salsa expert Seaon Stylist-Bristol is insistent about one aspect of his new show “Rock With You: A Weekend Tribute to Michael Jackson” onstage at the Cowell Theater Friday and Saturday.

“I don’t want it to be an impersonation,” he said emphatically during a recent phone call.

Born in Guyana, trained as a teen in New York, and now based in San Francisco, the singer, dancer, actor, choreographer and teacher last year was turned on to the notion of presenting salsa interpretations of Jackson’s music to commemorate the King of Pop’s artistry.

“I was sitting on my couch relaxing the day he died, and my agent called me and said, ‘Why don’t you do one song dedicated to Michael?’” he says.

Stylist-Bristol liked the idea, which soon found success in popular performances at Café Cocomo in San Francisco in July, and since has blossomed into this weekend’s expanded “Broadway Latin style” performance.

The show, presented in collaboration with the nonprofit Arts & Entertainment Foundation, which provides music education and supplies to schools, stars Stylist-Bristol and features Latin jazz accompaniment by Grammy-nominated bandleader Rebecca Mauleon.

A full cast of Bay Area dancers will join Stylist-Bristol onstage, along with guest dancers Santo Rico and Amanda Estilo from New York and Juan Matos of Italy.

“It’s my love of dance and love of music that helped to create such a fusion,” says Stylist-Bristol, describing how Jackson’s music will be performed to various Latin rhythms — salsa, cha-cha, meringue and reggaeton — in the show.

“This is such a unique project; I’ve seen so many impersonations of Michael, but never with salsa,” he says.

Dealing with the music was much easier than working up the choreography to the level required, he says, pointing to the difficulty, for example, of taking the Egyptian moves from Jackson’s “Remember the Time” video and getting them to match “salsa on the bottom.”

“When it comes to Michael Jackson, you can’t get away with anything less than perfection,” says Stylist-Bristol, who counts himself among the multitudes of dancers who revere the King of Pop.

Members of the Latin dance community, both performers and audiences, are gearing up for the show with much anticipation, and ticket sales have been good, says Stylist-Bristol: “People are curious and excited to see it. We have to ­represent.”

Rock with You

Cowell Theater, Fort Mason Center, Buchanan Street and Marina Boulevard, San Francisco
When: 8 p.m. Friday, 4 and 8 p.m. Saturday
Tickets: $20 to $50
Contact: (650) 676-8900,

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Leslie Katz

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