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."