UCA Mascot Staff’s SUPER (Bowl) Performance

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Whether you tuned in to watch the Super Bowl or just to see the commercials, there’s a good chance you stayed for the Super Bowl Halftime Show which has become a tradition of its own.  A-list celebrities take center stage to entertain the crowd for what will likely be one of the most talked-about performances of the year.  This year, superstar The Weeknd filled the coveted spot, performing a set of some of his biggest hits complete with lighting, special effects and, of course, an entourage of (socially distanced) dancers to make the spectacle complete.  The on-field performers (55 in honor of Super Bowl LV) wore red blazers, black pants, and the infamous face bandages from one of The Weeknd’s recent videos, but behind one of the masks was at least one person who was very accustomed to performing without the crowd being able to see his face.

Jaelin Dawson, a member of UCA’s Mascot Staff, was part of the action and ready for the performance of a lifetime.  Here’s what he had to say:

Being a part of the Super Bowl halftime performance was an unbelievable and unforgettable experience! I was informed that there was a casting call for the halftime performance and naturally, I applied right away. I’ve missed performing in front of people, dancing, and just letting loose.

When I was offered this opportunity, my jaw dropped! My initial thought was ‘how is this going to be possible in the middle of a pandemic?’ But there were so many safety precautions taken to ensure our safety. We were tested for Covid-19 every 48 hours, wore our masks and socially distanced as much as possible.

We had one day to learn the choreography under the direction of Charm La’Donna and three days to practice and put the entire show together. I felt like I was at UCA Camp again, where we had just a short amount of time to put together a performance that we would cherish forever.

After three days of practice, the big performance was already here. Fans greeted us from a distance as we arrived to the stadium. We waited for our signal to enter the tunnels as the football players cleared the field for halftime. This is the moment that the nerves kicked it. It was just like the moment before Opening Demos at UCA Camp. You know that you know your material and it’s going to be a fantastic time, but all of the joy, excitement and nervousness kicks in all at once.

We proceeded to march onto the field to find our spots. I looked up and saw excited fans with flashing cameras. My eyes teared up a little as I soaked in every second of that moment. I thought ‘I’m really about to perform at the Super Bowl!’. The music began, we started dancing and at that moment — the nervousness went away and was replaced with excitement and joy.

This entire experience was so memorable. And now I can say I’ve performed with THE WEEKND! He was such a nice guy and thanked us many times for being part of such an incredible show.

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