Tanairi Vazquez (James Jin, courtesy Tanairi Vazquez)

Broadway Performer Tanairi Vazquez on What It’s Really Like to Dance in a Super Bowl Commercial

When Tanairi Vazquez was cast in her very first Super Bowl commercial, she had no idea that she would be the star, or that Dolly Parton would be involved. But Vazquez was one of several dancers featured in the Squarespace commercial that aired during this year's Super Bowl, featuring a 2021 remix of the country music legend's hit song "9 to 5."

The commercial, choreographed by New York City Ballet's Justin Peck, is Vazquez's first job since the Broadway shutdown—up until Broadway's closure last year, she appeared in the Hamilton ensemble. She plays the lead accountant in the spot, and feels that the role marks a milestone in her career as a Latinx performer.

"It's nice to see the versatility that Latinos have too. We can be leads," says Vazquez. "For me to be in a national Super Bowl commercial—hello! That, to me, is one of the most important things as an artist."


Dance Spirit: What was the pressure like to be in a Super Bowl commercial?

Tanairi Vazquez: It's major. Millions of people watch. I was so overwhelmed, especially when people saw it on "Good Morning America." I woke up to so many texts, calls and Instagram notifications from people that I know—and that I don't know. Being able to represent the arts right now on such a huge platform like the Super Bowl is incredible.

DS: How did you book the job?

TV: I got an audition through my commercial agent. I knew it was for Squarespace, but I didn't know who was a part of it. I didn't know there was a celebrity involved at all.

For the audition they sent me a video of Justin Peck demonstrating the choreography. The style was very Justin Peck—athletic, grounded, with quick footwork. At the time, I was on vacation with my parents, so I learned the choreography in the Airbnb that we were staying in. My mom recorded me doing it on concrete in the parking lot. So that was crazy.

A couple days later, I got a callback saying they want me to do it again, asking if I could improv for 30 or 60 seconds. They also asked me to do a little bit of acting for the accountant part. So I made a video where I redid the choreography, and added a little somethin'-somethin'.

I got another callback via Zoom. It was just for the acting beat as the accountant. The next day, I got the call. And they're like, "Congratulations! We're giving you the accountant role!"

DS: What was the process of filming like?

TV: We filmed this in the beginning of January. The whole experience was crazy. We had a car service to the airport. We flew out to Nashville, where Dolly Parton lives, in first class, and they put us up in a really nice hotel.

We get there and I had my costume fitting—that's when I found out that I was going to play a lead role in this commercial. Thank goodness I had the next day off, because I needed the whole day to process it. I've never been a lead in something this big. Justin was like, "Surprise!"

DS: What about COVID safety protocols?

TV: We got tested every day, and had to fill out a form every time before testing. We also had our temperatures checked every day, too. The crew, makeup and wardrobe teams did as well.

Vazquez takes a selfie behind the scenes of filming the commercial. She smiles at the camera from behind a clear face mask, in hair, makeup, and costume for the commercial. She wears a red tank top, and her curly brown hair is loose around her face.

Vazquez behind the scenes of the commercial (courtesy Vazquez)

DS: What was it like getting back to work after being sidelined for nearly a year due to the pandemic?

TV: I felt very insecure. I haven't been on set. I haven't been with bodies. I was doubting myself, like "Am I good enough?," because of what we've been through.

But it was an amazing feeling when we had our first rehearsal. I realized how much I missed this. It gave me hope.

DS: What did booking this role mean to you?

TV: When I got on set, I realized, "This is where I want to be." During this pandemic, there were moments where I thought, "I don't know if I can do this job. Maybe I need to do something else." But the amount of love and support that I have gotten since the commercial debuted just re-inspired me to dream big and just keep going.

My parents instilled that in me. They said: "You are Puerto Rican. You bring your best foot forward. You can do what other people can do."

Latest Posts


Alex Wong (Collette Mruk, courtesy Alex Wong)

6 AAPI Dancers Share Their Stories

Last year, anti-Asian hate crimes increased by 150 percent in many of America's largest cities. And last month, a mass shooting in the Atlanta area took the lives of eight people, six of them Asian women. Since then, the attacks on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have continued, sparking a national movement to stop AAPI hate.

In light of this, Dance Spirit wanted to help amplify the voices of AAPI dancers. We asked six to share their thoughts about anti-Asian racism and how it appears in the dance world. Here's what they had to say.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
William Zinser works with a dancer at The Joyce Theater (Kristin Stevens, courtesy William Zinser)

How to Beat 5 Common Cheats Dancers Commit

Y'all, we get it. Dance is really, really hard. So what's the harm in taking the easy way out on a technical correction? Answer: an increased chance of injury, and a whole slew of new technique problems that could take a loooooooong time to fix.

Lucky for you, Dance Spirit has enlisted the expert help of Dale Lam, artistic director of CCJ Conservatory in South Carolina, and William Zinser, certified athletic trainer at the Harkness Center for Dance Injuries in NYC, so you can start leveling up your technique the honest way.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
What happens if you are passed over for the opportunity when it feels like your time? (Getty Images/kf4851)

What to Do When Your Dance Teacher Says You're Not Pointe Ready

Since the day you pulled on your first leotard, you have no doubt been dreaming of the day you would attend your first pointe shoe fitting. Going on pointe is a rite of passage as a ballet dancer, and the result of years of hard work.

But what happens if you are passed over for the opportunity when it feels like your time? It's totally understandable to be disappointed and frustrated if your teacher doesn't move you on pointe, but don't lose faith in yourself. "I've seen a lot of dancers go on pointe over the years," says Josephine Lee, professional pointe shoe fitter and founder of The Pointe Shop. "I don't think I have ever seen a dancer who was held back from pointework feel like they were behind in the long run."

Ideally, your teacher has laid out clear guidelines for what makes a dancer pointe-ready. But if they haven't, there are some milestones that ballet professionals are looking for to give the green light for your first pair of shoes. Factors like your age, technique level, range of motion and strength all come into play. And the good news is that if going on pointe is a goal for you, there are proactive ways that you can get there.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks

contest
Enter the Cover Model Search