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.
We know, we know: so many dance challenges, so little time. But taking the #SwishSwishChallenge, which the ever-fabulous Katy Perry announced yesterday, could earn you a prize bigger than run-of-the-mill internet fame: a chance to star in Perry's "Swish Swish" music video.
On Saturday morning, Russell Horning—aka 15-year-old Instagram king @i_got_barzz—was already kind of famous. His admittedly bad but weirdly mesmerizing dance videos had earned him shoutouts from the likes of Rihanna (and dance tributes from the likes of Josh Killacky).
But by Sunday morning? By Sunday morning, Russell Got Barzz had reached an entirely different level of memedom. Because Katy Perry tapped the teen—signature backpack and all—to perform "Swish Swish" with her on "Saturday Night Live." And the internet lost its darn mind.
Everything former DS cover girl Kaycee Rice touches turns to viral. From doing Nike campaigns (she has her own collection and self-designed shoe with the brand!) to performing at the Super Bowl to crushing class videos with WilldaBeast and Tricia Miranda, Kaycee's always on the move—and she's always fierce, fun, and full-out.
Katy Perry loves her dancers (LEFT SHARK 4EVER). New York City Ballet loves its artistic collaborations (that Opening Ceremony runway show—still not over it). So I guess, in a way, it was inevitable that Katy would end up performing alongside a bevy of City Ballet beauties.
And yet, this morning, when my Insta feed was full of photos of NYCB ladies backing Perry at Carnegie Hall, it still felt like THE MOST WONDERFUL SURPRISE.
Here's what happened: The David Lynch Foundation tapped Perry to perform her never-gets-old hit "Firework" at its benefit concert, held last night in NYC. Perry's choreographic team, RJ Durell and Nick Florez, tapped adorably pregnant NYCB principal Maria Kowroski and her beautiful dancer husband, Martin Harvey, to create some pretty pretty ballet choreo for the number. And Kowroski tapped four of her City Ballet colleagues—Faye Arthurs, Olivia Boisson, Jenelle Manzi and Gretchen Smith—to dance in the performance.
The result, judging by the Instagram evidence, was glamorous and elegant and super-duper pink. Which sounds about right, no?
Also, I need Katy Perry's gala dress, STAT.
A photo posted by Maria Kowroski (@realmkowroski) on
Repost from a Katy Perry fan.. Still can't believe my husband and I created the closing number for this event ?? thank you @goldenboyz_inc for the opportunity A photo posted by Maria Kowroski (@realmkowroski) on
A photo posted by Maria Kowroski (@realmkowroski) on
What an incredible experience getting to create and share something magical with @katyperry @gretchen.h.smith and @toughinatutu for the #ChangeBeginsWithin performance of #Firework for the @davidlynchfoundation. We could not have done it without you @realmkowroski and Martin Harvey! ? A photo posted by Jenelle Manzi (@jenellemanzi) on
Can we make #TappyFriday a thing? Earlier this morning we brought you the utter joy of Book of Mormon swing Christopher Rice's "Happy Tap Dance." Now, the Syncopated Ladies are turning up the heat with their latest tap video extravaganza, set to Katy Perry's "Roar."
It has everything you've come to expect from a Syncopated Ladies production—namely, Chloé Arnold's fabulous team of hoofers doing innovative choreography to an earworm of a girl-power anthem. But the cool thing about this latest video is that it's set in the desert, which means the Ladies are actually practicing the fine art of "sand dancing," as made famous by tapper Howard "Sandman" Sims back in the 1950s. The scraping sound of the sand under the dancers' feet adds a different kind of aural texture to the choreography.
Enjoy! And seriously, let's get this #TappyFriday thing going, guys.
Ah, the Super Bowl halftime show. For dance fans, it's, well, the Super Bowl of live performances. It's the glorious moment when literally hundreds of millions of people see 12 solid minutes of dancers (and, OK, giant musical acts) being amazing.
Of course, not every halftime show is a dancestravaganza. I mean, for what felt like 100 years following 2004's Nipplegate (oh, I so want to hashtag that, but it's FROM A PRE-HASHTAG WORLD, GUYS), the Super Bowl powers that be chose old rock-and-roll headliners, who were less inclined to get their dance on and more inclined to, um, sit at pianos.
But other years? Other years, we got lucky. Other years, we got MJ. Or Britney. Or Madonna. OR BEYONCÉ.
In honor of this Sunday's sure-to-be dance-filled spectacular (Beyyyyyy we're so glad you're back!), we put together a little #FBF list of the danciest moments in Super Bowl halftime history. And it starts in the 90s, which is when the halftime show as we know it really became a thing. (Before that, it was mostly just marching bands, believe it or not.)
1991: New Kids on the Block
OK, yes: There's an awkward Disney "It's a Small World" opening. But push through it, because afterward we get the slickly choreographed beauty of that glorious 90s phenomenon, the boy band:
1993: Michael Jackson
Here's what's most amazing about this performance, which essentially pioneered the modern Super Bowl halftime spectacle: MJ JUST STOOD THERE FOR A SOLID MINUTE. He was so charismatic that that was literally all it took to drive the crowd insane. But then he started dancing, and—I'll shut up now. Just watch him:
2001: Aerosmith, 'N Sync, Britney Spears, Mary J. Blige, Nelly
Can you tell that MTV had started presenting the halftime show at this point? Basically their approach was to take all the people who had top 40 hits and throw them onstage together. Luckily, in 2001, that group included both 'N Sync and Britney, which meant we were in for some solid choreography (THE "BYE BYE BYE" DANCE <3<3<3):
2004: Janet Jackson, Justin Timberlake (et al)
Yeah, Nelly and Kid Rock and the artist then known as Diddy also performed. But this one was all about the dance stylings of Janet and Justin—not to mention the appearance of one infamous, star-adorned nipple (yes, it's in this video, so proceed with school/work-appropriate caution):
2011: The Black Eyed Peas, Usher
Oof, the post-Janet boob years were long, dull and dance-less. (The Who? Bruce Springsteen? Tom Petty? The Rolling Stones? At least Dad was happy.) But then the Black Eyed Peas flew in on their futuristic stripper poles and brought choreography—specifically, choreography of the fluorescent-light-suit variety—back, as did one of our favorite MJ protégés, Usher:
2012: Madonna, Nicki Minaj, M.I.A., Cee-Lo Green
2014: Bruno Mars, Red Hot Chili Peppers
I'll admit it: After the amazingness of 2013's halftime show, I came into this one with low expectations. But Bruno Mars' high-energy, old-school choreography was surprisingly delightful, wasn't it?
2015: Katy Perry, Missy Elliott
So, what dance goodies will BeyBey and Bruno Mars (and, um, Coldplay, I guess) bring us this year? We'll have a full recap right here on Monday morning, of course.
And with that: Go forth into Super Bowl weekend, friends! Enjoy the dancing! Maybe enjoy the football, too, if it's your thing! Definitely enjoy lots of nachos!
Yes, the Grammys are all about the music. But they inevitably also feature a bunch of great dancers. And this year, those dancers seemed to play especially large roles—from Maddie Ziegler as Baby Sia to Katy Perry's shadow selves. Without further ado, here are the top five highlights from last night's show.
5. Lady Gaga danced cheek to cheek with Tony Bennett. OK, it wasn't the danciest moment of the night, but how amazing was Gaga's duet with one of music's all-time greats? Not only did both show off their legendary pipes, but they threw in a little waltz around the stage for good measure. The whole thing was pitch-perfect, literally and figuratively.
4. Pharrell showed us a different kind of "Happy." Whoa, we didn't think there was any way this song could go dark and moody, but somehow Pharrell managed to make a boppy unicorn-and-rainbow tune into an emotionally-charged anthem. It was intense. And the sweats-clad crew of dancers brought things to the next level.
3. Katy Perry went gospel. Much as we loooove us some dancing sharks, we were excited to see Katy Perry do a complete 180 from her over-the-top Super Bowl show. Her stripped-down performance of "By the Grace of God"—a tribute to survivors of domestic violence—was perfectly complemented by its sole decoration: a simple white scrim on which the shadows of two Katy-proxies danced.
2. Madonna got her bullfighter on. Well, here's something we didn't see coming: Madonna decided to go all matador on us, performing "Living for Love" complete with a team of dancing, bedazzled man-bulls. The whole woman-on-a-giant-red-table-surrounded-by-shirtless-men thing is actually straight out of Belgian choreographer Maurice Béjart's playbook—take a look at his Boléro, choreographed way back in 1961 and still performed frequently by the Paris Opéra Ballet. Also, we totally spy Madge favorite Lil Buck among the bulls! (The Grammys performance isn't available online, but here's the official video for "Living for Love," complete with bull-dudes:)
1. SIA OMG SIA. Unsurprisingly, Sia declined to show her face during last night's performance of "Chandelier." Unsurprisingly, the amazing Maddie Ziegler was there to play Bizarro Sia, and unsurprisingly, she was fantastic. But that's not to say this act was devoid of surprises. Because grown-up dancing Sia? That was "Saturday Night Live" alum Kristen Wiig. And she was great! Turns out, Wiig actually studied ballet for several years. We loved the crazy-quirky rapport she developed onstage with Maddie. (Also, "Wiig in a wig" is our new favorite phrase.)
What did you all think? Did you love or loathe Madonna's bull-dudes? Are you currently watching the Sia performance on repeat? On a scale of 1 to COMPLETELY DEVASTATED, how sad are you that Beyoncé's performance was basically dance-free???