"She invented pop culture performance."
LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- When you think of Tina Turner, you automatically think of her infectious smile, her powerful voice and of course, those dynamic dance moves.
They played a major role in the performer's iconic career and one local woman was there to see it all for more than three decades.
Toni Basil, a well-known choreographer and multi-award winning singer whose 1981 smash hit "Mickey" topped the charts in the several countries, spoke with Eyewitness News about her relationship with the "Queen of Rock 'n' Roll," who would go on to have a musical renaissance in the 1980s.
Basil recalls the first time she saw Turner on stage.
"She invented pop culture performance," said Basil. "I got to see her in the mid-60s, the Ike and Tina Turner review, at Ciros on the Sunset Strip and I was seeing something I had never seen before!"
Basil would eventually see plenty more of Turner, helping her perfect her on-stage persona.
"I got a call in the late 70s ... 'Tina has left Ike. When she comes out of hiding, she wants you to be her choreographer,'" recalled Basil. "I went to work with her and the number 'Disco Inferno' that I did for her first club act is the exact choreography that Angela Bassett did in [the film] 'What's Love Got to Do With It.'"
Off the stage, it was Turner's work ethic and her generosity that Basil remembers most fondly.
"One of the tours I choreographed for her, I said, 'Oh my God, that skirt is so fabulous. You look so good in it,' at the end of the tour, she gave me the skirt! That's the Tina Turner I knew," said Basil.
Then, when "Tina" the Broadway production debuted in 2019, Basil was gifted another surprise.
"I got a call from a friend of mine who had just seen the musical, and they said, 'The girl who plays her choreographer in 'Tina,' is named 'Toni,' and it like brings me to tears," said Basil.
The beloved fabulous skirt along with a plaque from Turner's 50th anniversary farewell tour are just a few of Basil's sentimental reminders of decades spent working with Turner.
"The last tour I did for her, the opening in Kansas City, I saw something I had never seen before. The audience, the females in the audience, stood up in the arena and started to do the 'Proud Mary' choreography with her at their seats when she started to sing. I have never before or after seen an audience stand up and imitate the choreography. That is how iconic her choreography was and what it meant to pop culture. 'The Great Tina Turner' is an understatement."