MARLBORO – A group of students from Marlboro High School had the thrill of their young lives when they performed during halftime of the Orange Bowl in Miami, Fla.
The Orange Bowl was played on Dec. 30, 2017. The dancers performed during the halftime show with musician Andy Grammer. In the football game, the Wisconsin Badgers defeated the Miami Hurricanes, 34-24,
The Marlboro High School dance team is made up of seniors Carly Cooper (captain), Skylar Simon and Sarah Gottdenker; junior Madison Whitman; sophomores Amanda Cooper, Hailey Ignarra, Lyndsey Kiperman, Isabella Marinello, Hailey Steinberg, Skylar Reiss and Samantha Broder; and freshmen Isabella Marchetta, Kate Spinelli and Mackenzie Werther.
The team is coached by math teacher Stephanie Mullin and Sloane Pallitto.
As to how the students from Marlboro ended up in Florida, Pallitto said she was contacted by an employee from WorldStrides Onstage, which was producing the halftime show. Pallitto was informed that the Marlboro students had been selected to participate with dance teams from Oregon, Texas and Canada.
The team was provided with a video of the routine from choreographer Cris Judd about three weeks before the performance.
“The girls had to watch the video and learn the choreography on their own time. Many of the girls practiced together,” Mullin said. “Then, the week before we left for the Orange Bowl we held a practice and walked through all of the routines so they felt prepared.
“Once we were in Florida, there were many rehearsals with all of the dancers participating. There was a final practice the morning of the Orange Bowl at a local high school so that all of the dancers knew the correct spacing and exactly how the show would go. After that, it was showtime,” she said.
“The performance was a true once-in-a-lifetime experience. It was chilling to be on the field at Hard Rock Stadium while watching our students have a blast dancing as part of such an incredible halftime show,” Mullin said. “I have never seen our girls happier than they were when they walked off that field.
“As an educator, that made the whole trip worth it. To see our students learning from each other as well as other dancers from all over the country, while getting the opportunity to see themselves on ESPN and the stadium’s (video board). For high school students, I am not sure there is anything better than that.”
“Standing on the sidelines as coaches, watching our girls do what they love on a much larger scale, was something that is indescribable,” Pallitto said. “The girls work so hard all year and dedicate themselves to their love of dance and our school.
“Seeing their excitement and watching their adrenaline as they performed in front of over 60,000 people made me proud and honored to be their coach. Though the performance was only eight minutes, the high the girls felt is something we all will never forget,” she said.
“There was adrenaline running through my whole body when we ran out to the field. The new friends I met were keeping us excited leading up to the performance,” Carly Cooper said. “I couldn’t help but smile the entire time.
“Dancing with Andy Grammer singing live behind us was one of the best experiences of my life and I got to do it with my favorite team. I have never performed in front of 60,000 people before and on national television.
“It was crazy to look up and see how many people were watching and how many cameras there were around me. I was having so much fun dancing with my team and the new friends I met throughout the experience,” Carly said.
“I would repeat this whole experience again in a heartbeat,” Amanda Cooper said. “Standing in the tunnel feeling a rush of adrenaline with excitement at the same time may be one of the best feelings in the world. Performing during halftime in front of thousands of people at a college football game is a completely different experience than performing during halftime at the gym in school.”
“The entire atmosphere of being in a stadium filled with thousands of people was something that can hardly be described,” Hailey Ignarra said. “Dancing with people from all over the country was incredible and being able to connect with those people while dancing was amazing.
“Once we stepped out on the field, that was when everything really went into perspective. Think about it, there are people watching and cheering for your team literally everywhere you look. It was a bit overwhelming at first, but the feeling it left was indescribable,” Hailey said.
“I would never have imagined myself dancing so close to a celebrity and having the absolute best time dancing on the field,” Lyndsey Kiperman said. “At first it was a little overwhelming dancing in front of thousands of people, but I had an amazing time. Being surrounded by a huge crowd and tons of lights made the experience even more exciting.”
“It was an amazing and rewarding experience I will always cherish and remember,” Hailey Steinberg said. “Despite my initial apprehensions about performing in front of so many people, on such a large field, the performance ended up being so much fun and not scary at all. The fact that our surroundings were so massive only made the experience even better, being that my friends and I were featured on the Jumbotron.”
“It was mesmerizing to just be out there, let alone be dancing next to Andy Grammer,” Mackenzie Werther said. “There is nothing that could ever compare to looking up into the stands and seeing all those people with their eyes on you through the lights. I’m so glad I went and I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything.”
“The dance was so much fun to perform and I’m so happy I was able to be involved in the performance,” Skylar Reiss said. “Although it was scary at first, it was so cool to perform on such a large stage. Since there were many performers, the stage did not seem as large as it was, which made it less frightening. It was truly an awesome performance and an experience I will never forget.”
“It was a surreal experience to be dancing with so many new and different people, especially in front of such a huge crowd and alongside a famous singer,” Samantha Broder said. “When I was standing on the field and looking around at the stands filled with people, it was so extremely exciting. With the addition of fireworks, loud music and lights, the overall experience was incredible and exhilarating.”