They might have become an instant meme, but Rihanna’s backup dancers during her Super Bowl 2023 halftime show performance don’t seem to be complaining.
Among the hundreds of performers outfitted in what one of the dancers called “marshmallow Ninja Turtles” outfits were Arizonans who could not reveal their involvement until they took to the field on Sunday night at State Farm Stadium in Glendale.
Angel Castro posted on Feb. 12 that he danced at his first Super Bowl “in my home state on the (world’s) largest stage with one of the biggest superstars.”
Self-described as a creative artist from Phoenix who is now based in Los Angeles, Castro dedicated his accomplishment to “every DACA recipient who has had doors slammed in their face. Every brown kid who was made feel less than. Every queer boy who has felt invisible. Tonight was a dream,” as he wrote in his Instagram post.
“I never want to forget this moment,” he added.
Performing in Rihanna’s halftime show was ‘an easy yes’
LinZee Belle, a 32-year-old embodiment coach and somatic breathwork facilitator in Phoenix, posted a photo after the performance with the caption “Grateful is an understatement.”
The former professional dancer told The Arizona Republic that she learned she had been chosen as a field dancer — the performers who were not Rihanna’s usual backup dancers — a little more than two weeks prior and rehearsed almost every day since the beginning of February.
“It was an easy yes,” she said of being offered the halftime show opportunity. “They put us to work. I mean, we were performing in the halftime show, the biggest show in the world!”
To her knowledge, field dancers had to be local so they could attend daily rehearsals, and there were nearly 300 of them. Performing with Rihanna entailed signing a nondisclosure agreement, allowing their phones to be locked away and working alongside some of the most respectful and professional people in the industry, Belle said.
“(Rihanna) was very gracious. She came out saying thank you to everyone (and gave) so much love and credit to her dancers,” she said about the dress rehearsals in the stadium.
As for those outfits, Belle acknowledged that though she had some reservations at first, she was impressed by the end result.
“Listen, I thought the same thing when I saw the outfit: Oh my gosh, we are giant marshmallows,” she said.
Regardless, she felt empowered by the experience.
“It’s Rihanna, you know. … It’s a big deal,” Belle said.
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Reach the reporter at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @kimirobin and Instagram @ReporterKiMi.
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