Whether it’s the football that attracts you or simply the commercials, the Super Bowl, which according to The Hollywood Reporter averages approximately 100 million television viewers, is a big deal. And this year, the Super Bowl halftime show raked in more viewers than the game itself.
Having a role in that show would be an experience of a lifetime, and 20 talented Coral Shores High School (CSHS) students got to do just that – they performed in the Super Bowl halftime show, three of them as Shakira’s dancers.
You read that right. Three members of the Coral Shores Canettes dance team danced on the field during Shakira’s opening halftime show performance of “She Wolf.” For Katie Black, Krista Black and Andrea Galvan, it was a dream come true.
“Dancing in the halftime show was an amazing experience because I’ve always wanted to be a backup dancer for celebrities,” said Krista Black. “I got to work with a lot of professional dancers and choreographers, and I got to touch Shakira.”
This all began only a few weeks ago when a Super Bowl casting representative first reached out to Canettes Coach Joanne Haddad. Six of her dancers were available to participate in varying roles.
“I am tremendously proud of these girls,” said Haddad. “They are all so talented and the fact that we were able to show off their abilities and commitment on such a huge scale is awesome. They are great representatives of Coral Shores High School.”
After learning choreography and submitting audition videos, three of the six Canettes were chosen to perform with Shakira’s team of field dancers.
“I was really excited to be accepted because I didn’t really think I would get in,” said Black. “The actual performance was overwhelming because I’ve never performed in front of an audience that big. It was a huge moment, not just because there were millions of people watching, but because the stadium was filled with celebrities. Lady Gaga was there and she’s my idol.”
The remaining three Canettes and other lucky students from Coral Shores (13 theater students and one cheerleader) became halftime show “Field Fans.” In this role, the CSHS students and others from local Miami schools crowded around the stage on the football field, essentially there to hype up the show. Some of the Coral Shores students could be seen wearing tribal masks and were even involved in Shakira’s body surfing.
“The rehearsals were great, but when we were actually in the tunnel waiting to go on the field for the real thing, it was even more exciting than imagined,” said Michele Zofchak, Coral Shores English and theater teacher. Zofchak also held a role in the performance and acted as the theater program group leader. “There was such a tangible feeling coming from the audience. You could literally feel their energy.”
Haddad and Zofchak both agreed this was not only the opportunity of a lifetime, but a learning experience the students will carry with them the rest of their lives.
“One of the Canettes is considering becoming a backup dancer – what a great way to begin that career,” said Zofchak. “And some of my theater kids want to go further into the performing arts field, so seeing how a big production goes was really, really awesome for them. Even if they never do anything with theater again, 50 years from now they get to say, ‘Oh my gosh, I got to be in the halftime show!’”
All involved students attended rehearsals in the weeks leading up to the performance (many times after going to school) – with the dancers having to put in more strenuous work learning and practicing the She Wolf dance routine.
Gina Black, whose two daughters – Krista and Katie – danced with Shakira, said she is extremely proud of all three of the dancers. “These girls are 16 and 17 years old, dancing with girls in their 20s – some of them Dolphins cheerleaders, Marlins, college and Miami Heat dancers. They gave it their all and worked really hard.”
All participants were held under a strict confidentiality clause, which meant they couldn’t talk about the halftime show or post pictures until it was over. Each rehearsal, the students had to surrender their phones for hours at a time —probably the hardest part for some of them, according to Zofchak.
Haddad hopes the future will bring more opportunities to showcase the school’s dancers, actors, performers and artists, saying, “While our athletes are often highlighted, I was so happy to see our artists take center stage this weekend!”
One thing is for sure: “What’s one interesting fact about you?” is a question these students will never worry about. For them, Super Bowl LIV will never be forgotten.