The secret is finally out! Spring Lake Park High School’s dance team, the Pantherettes, danced along with Justin Timberlake during Super Bowl LII’s halftime show.
“This unique experience was something the entire group will remember forever,” said Jenny Whiteley, head coach of the Pantherettes.
Whiteley was contacted by a New York casting director and submitted YouTube videos to audition. Whiteley and SLP dance coaches Krysta Corrigan, K'ryn Bunker and Megan Wynn were selected along with 18 Spring Lake Park High School (SLPHS) dancers. The SLPHS dancers include Lauren Abrahamson, Sydney Anderson, Lauren Chan, Lynsey Cooper, Amy Fleck, Grace Helgerson, Hailey Holmquist, Julianna Jordan, Sara Kekic, Ellie Kukielka, Lindsay Mork, Kassandra Ostby, Meghan Pederson, Hanna Rademacher, Avery Roepke, McKenzie Suchy, McKenna VanDenTop and Alexxa Wallen.
Participants signed a secrecy contract and the coaching staff continuously reminded the team and parents they couldn’t share the information until after the halftime show. If the contract was broken, the entire team wouldn’t be allowed to dance in the show.
The Super Bowl team provided a video of the choreography and dancers were expected to come to the first rehearsal knowing the dance. Whiteley hosted learning nights where dancers got together to learn the dance as a group before rehearsals began at U.S. Bank Stadium. The dancers participated in six days of rehearsals with Justin Timberlake and his dancers before the halftime show.
“It was so good to see the hard work Justin Timberlake's professional dancers and himself put in,” Whiteley said. “It was fantastic for our team to bond in a way we never thought. It was unreal the day of to be among all that energy.”
Whiteley said the other unique experience it gave the team was a look at how "TV magic" happens. Not only were the athletes focused on dancing, they also had to keep in mind their field positions and where the cameras were located.
“None of us have ever danced for such a large audience,” Whitley said. “I am so proud of the team and coaches for killing it on the field and representing Spring Lake Park.”