Hours-long rehearsals that ran late into the night paid off for eleven of Larry Albright’s hip-hop students who performed in the Super Bowl halftime show mere feet from pop superstars Jennifer Lopez and Shakira.
More than 100 million viewers tuned in as the PBA students waved their arms to the rhythm of the music among the throngs of fellow cast members gathered in front of the stage. They earned their 15 minutes — or, more precisely, 13 minutes — of fame between the 40 and 50 yard lines.
“There’s a 5-second clip where you can see us going wild,” said Nora Barker, a junior studying communications.
Musical theater major Lili Hurst appreciated learning about the behind-the-scenes production work that goes into a show of Super Bowl-magnitude. A team of people hauled 35 to 40 moving parts of the stage onto the field in six minutes. Cameras whizzed overhead, where speakers and lights added to the spectacle.
“I felt I was getting my foot in the door,” Hurst said.
The students landed the invite through Albright, a well-connected adjunct instructor in the School of Music & Fine Arts. The Super Bowl performers included one current dance major, Ruth Ann Batista Morales, and two dance minors, Hurst and Kelli Urbanek.
Dance alumna Victoria Smith poses for a photo at the Super Bowl. Larry Albright, a hip-hop instructor, extended an invitation to current and former students, to join the field cast for the halftime show.Dance alumnae Brianna Figueroa, Victoria Smith and Adrienne Khouri performed, along with former Preparatory Department students Anna and Demaris Wiley.
The troupe committed to roughly 10 rehearsals, each six or seven hours long, in the two weeks leading up to the big event. All but two were in Miami Gardens, a 75-minute drive away. The dancers viewed the invitation as a “cool experience” and a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” that was worth the effort.
After rehearsal one day, Lopez grabbed Barker’s hand, and Lopez thanked her as she left, Barker said. Barker came Jessica Kieffer, Kelli Urbanek, Lili Hurst, Nora Barker and Venorah Sieling pose for a photo at Hard Rock Stadium. They were among hip-hop instructor Larry Albright’s students who joined the halftime show field cast.away from the Super Bowl experience inspired to work harder.
“I love to dance,” Barker said. “I definitely want to take more classes.”
Albright’s students said they take his Hip-Hop I and II courses simply because they enjoy them. Urbanek is taking his hip-hop course as an elective.
“I’m not very good at hip-hop, but he makes me look like I’ve been doing it for years,” Urbanek said.
Added Barker, “You can tell he’s passionate about what he’s teaching.”