Dancer to Dancer

"Left Shark" Is BACK!

NBC

It was almost exactly three years ago that "left shark"—a dancer in a giant foam shark costume who was FEELING HIMSELF during Katy Perry's Super Bowl halftime performance—grooved his way into our cold, hard hearts. The world fell in love with the fish gone rogue. And that love? It's still burning.

Just in time for this year's Super Bowl, the real human behind left shark—aka Bryan Gaw, a former pro dancer (he's since become a hair stylist)—has penned a story for The Washington Post. The confessional-style piece describes what actually happened out there, what it felt like to become a meme, and what he learned from the whole experience.

You guys: It is really, really good.


The magic moment

Gaw, who at the time already had a 10-year track record dancing with the likes of Miley Cyrus and Lady Gaga, didn't come offstage after his shark moment thinking anything unusual had happened. He was just giving 1000 percent—as he had on every job his whole career. "As a dancer, you take on the vibe and the energy of whatever piece you're performing," he says. "Improvisation is part our job: We perform the choreography, but we're also supposed to fill in the gaps. If I'm instructed to go from one side of the stage to the other, I don't just walk across like I'm shopping at the mall. I was a big shark. I had to be a big shark. That's what separates a dancer and a performing artist—the ability to fill in those gaps and to interpret the work."

But he and the whole Katy Perry team happily embraced the phenomenon. "We all shared in the moment that was left shark. Perry included," Gaw says. "I think people were so attached to left shark because America loves an underdog. They love to root for one. The Super Bowl is a machine, so heavily planned and executed, and then along came this goofball. It gave people something to connect to."

Trust us: You'll want to read the whole piece. LEFT SHARK 4EVER.

Show Comments ()
Dance News
(From left) ABT's Erica Lall; NYCB's India Bradley; Washington Ballet's Nardia Boodoo; NYCB's Rachel Hutsell (all photos by Rachel Neville)

Misty Copeland. Her name is synonymous with exquisite artistry and outspoken advocacy. And her visibility has made a huge impact on the ballet world. Ballet's relationship with race has always been strained at best, hostile at worst. But Copeland's persistent message and star quality have finally forced the ballet industry to start talking about racial diversity, inclusivity, and representation. "The rarity of seeing ourselves represented is sad," Copeland says. "The more we see every hue and body shape represented on the stage, the more possibilities young dancers feel they have for themselves."

Keep reading... Show less
Dance News
Our nominees (clockwise from top left): Roberto Campanella, Aurélie Dupont, Ashley Wallen, and Anthony Van Laast

Last month, we asked why there wasn't a Best Choreography category at the Oscars—and discovered that many of you agreed with us: Choreographers should definitely be acknowledged for their work on the super-dancy movies we can't get enough of.

Now, we're taking matters into our own (jazz) hands.

We've decided to create a Dance Spirit award for the best cinematic choreography of 2017. With your input, we've narrowed the field to four choreographers whose moves lit up some of the best movies of the year. Check out our nominations for best choreography below—and vote for the choreographer you think deserves the honor. We'll announce the winner on Friday, March 2.

Dancer to Dancer

Being a dancer comes with the task of having to entertain the same questions over and over again from those outside the dance world. Of course, we love having our friends and family take an interest in our passion—but if someone asks ONE MORE TIME whether or not we've met Travis Wall, we might just go crazy.

Here are 10 questions that dancers hate getting asked.

Keep reading... Show less
Dancer to Dancer
ABT JKO School student Miuka Kadoi shoiwng off her beautiful line (photo by Kenneth Edwards)

Contemporary phenom Christina Ricucci has super-flexible hips, which means she can stretch her legs to unbelievable heights. But when she noticed herself making contorted positions in class, Ricucci realized she was approaching her extensions all wrong. "I went back to the basics in class, squaring my hips and using my turnout," Ricucci says. "I learned to create proper positions, rather than whacked-out versions of them."

Some dancers are so wonky they have a hard time supporting their high legs, while others struggle with limited flexibility. But no matter your facility, you can find a balance of stretch and strength to achieve your fullest range of extension. It's not about how high (or not) your legs can go: It's the quality of the movement, and how you get those legs up, that counts.

Keep reading... Show less
Dance News
Bronze medalist Kaetlyn Osmond skating her "Black Swan" long program (screenshot via YouTube)

Once upon a time (until the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi concluded, to be exact), figure skaters had to compete to music without words. Before this rule change, a skater faced an automatic point deduction if the music even hinted at vocals. Understandably, there were *a lot* of Olympic programs skated to classical music, and you'd tend to hear the same music selections over and over and over.

Keep reading... Show less

Leap! National Dance Competition offers dancers of all skill levels an opportunity to showcase their talents in an event where the focus is on fun and competing is just a bonus!

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Videos
Look at that extension! (Rick Moffitt/Wikipedia Commons)

There are plenty of current Olympic figure skaters who'd make beautiful dancers (first among them Adam Rippon, whose gorgeously choreographed long program won the internet, if not the gold). But today, as we wait for the women's figure skating competition to crown its new champions, we wanted to throw it back to one of the most beautifully balletic skaters of all time: Sasha Cohen.

Keep reading... Show less
How To
Thinkstock

Thinking about declaring a dance major? We had professors discuss all the factors you should consider before submitting that major-declaration form.

Keep reading... Show less
How To
Giphy

The high-flying leaps of grand allegro are meant to be incredibly exciting. But at the end of an intense ballet class, when you're exhausted, it can be hard to give them the attention they deserve. Want to pump up your big jumps? Follow these 10 vital tips from Jennifer Hart, curriculum director and instructor at Ballet Austin.

Keep reading... Show less
Health & Body
Thinkstock

"Whole, low-fat, or skim?" The question of which milk to drink has gotten a little more complicated lately, with a wide variety of nondairy milks popping up in grocery stores. To find out which ones are worth your milk money, we had registered dietitian Monika Saigal answer some FAQs.

Keep reading... Show less

Sponsored

Want to Be on Our Cover?

covermodelsearch-image

Video

Sponsored

mailbox

Get Dance Spirit in your inbox

Sponsored