How J.Lo and Shakira Won the Super Bowl

Last night's football game was, by most accounts, pretty good.

But the halftime show? Everyone—and we mean everyone, from Priyanka Chopra to Lady Gaga to Jeb Bush—agreed that it was one for the ages.

So, how did superwomen Jennifer Lopez and Shakira put on perhaps the best halftime performance in recent history? By making it into a giant dance party—with a purpose. The dynamic duo incorporated all kinds of dancing in their dazzling set, with support from some of the best dancers and choreographers in the industry.

Here's a step-by-step breakdown of the dancing that helped make the Super Bowl LIV halftime show so extraordinary.


Shakira Reminded Us That Her Hips Don't Lie

Sorry not sorry for that most obvious of references, because never has it felt more appropriate. Shakira and an army of fabulous female dancers performed an intricately choreographed medley, choreographed by frequent Beyoncé collaborator JaQuel Knight. And had you forgotten that Shakira, who is part Lebanese, is an excellent belly dancer? She reminded us in an impressive sequence that included a rope wrapped around her wrists—possibly a coded message about captivity and people of color.

J.Lo Stuck It to the Academy...

Lopez's pole routine, showing off the skills she learned for Hustlers, was perhaps the best way to clap back at the Academy after her Oscars snub. In fact, the stunning Super Bowl pole sequence was created by Johanna Sapakie, the pole-dancing expert who choreographed J.Lo's Hustlers numbers. (If you're a fan of Sapakie's work, be sure to vote for her in Dance Spirit's Best Movie Choreography contest!)

...and Invited Some "World of Dance" Friends to the Party

We know that J.Lo knows how to get loud, and nobody's better at helping her do it than creative directors Tabitha and Napoleon D'umo. Since they all work together on the Lopez-produced TV show "World of Dance," it seemed fitting that they brought two standout "WOD" acts onstage at the Super Bowl: the showstopping Colombian salsa company Swing Latino, and the phenomenally talented ballroom kids from Dance Town Miami.

The "WOD" TV series was created in partnership with the prestigious World of Dance competition, and choreographer Parris Goebel and her incredible Royal Family crew—stars of that circuit—also helped turn up the heat onstage last night.

Both Used Dance to Express Latinx Pride

Sometimes dance is the most powerful way to make a political statement. As the first Latinas to lead a Super Bowl halftime performance, Shakira and J.Lo pointedly brought a fantastic kaleidoscope of salsa, rumba and samba styles to Miami's Hard Rock Stadium. Dance is a universal language, and these two world-class performers used it to say something.

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Courtesy Ava Noble

Go Behind the Scenes of USC Kaufman’s Virtual Dance Festival

Now more than ever, the students of USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance are embodying their program's vision: "The New Movement."

As the coronavirus pandemic stretches on, the dance world continues to be faced with unprecedented challenges, but USC Kaufman's faculty and BFA students haven't shied away from them. While many schools have had to cancel events or scale them back to live-from-my-living-room streams, USC Kaufman has embraced the situation and taken on impressive endeavors, like expanding its online recruitment efforts.

November 1 to 13, USC Kaufman will present A/Part To/Gather, a virtual festival featuring world premieres from esteemed faculty and guest choreographers, student dance films and much more. All semester long, they've rehearsed via Zoom from their respective student apartments or hometowns. And they haven't solely been dancing. "You have a rehearsal process, and then a filming process, and a production process of putting it together," says assistant professor of practice Jennifer McQuiston Lott of the prerecorded and professionally edited festival.

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