By Brianna Bush
Romelo Wilson, a senior at The University of Tampa and member of the Unified Dance Crew (UDC), danced in one of the most anticipated performances of the year! He was among a group of 250 dancers who were chosen to participate at The Weeknd’s Super Bowl Halftime Show.
He did not see this opportunity coming, but his undeniable talent and passion for dance sure led him there.
“Romelo has been on the Unified Dance Crew longer than I have and as long as I’ve known him, he’s always been such a hardworking, talented dancer,” said Milan Ramos, the president of the Unified Dance Crew. “When the manager of the halftime show reached out to me and asked if I had any African American/Hispanic male dancers, Melo was the first person that came to mind.”
He then sent in an audition tape of him freestyling to one of The Weeknd’s songs and the rest was history. He earned his way into two major dances: The Weeknd’s “House of Balloons” and “Blinding Lights,” but this gig was so high-profile that he had to keep it a secret from his family and friends.
Although there is much excitement getting to dance alongside one of the biggest artists of today, the most pivotal part of this experience is the magic and meaning behind it.
“I’m glad it was a cast of Black and Hispanic men in order to give them the opportunity wherein other situations they wouldn’t receive this same acknowledgment,” said Wilson who is a proud Panamanian and African American.
Romelo Wilson pictured at the set of Super Bowl LV Halftime Show
He continued joyfully, “That is an amazing thing to pass down to family members and kids.”
It doesn’t stop there; he has more that he will be able to share with future generations.
There was talk surrounding the infamous red coats, white masks, and bandages worn by Wilson and the dancers who filled the Raymond James Stadium field.
Pictured are Romelo and a group of the Super Bowl LV Halftime Show Dancers
“His performances tell stories,” said Wilson.
Their outfits were a symbolic representation surrounding the transformation that Hollywood celebrities and people go through to fit society’s standards.
Setting the tone for an incredible night, Romelo and the team of dancers were thanked by The Weeknd for participating in the show at their last dress rehearsal.
“We had to go up to the same set of stands as he did and I reached out to touch him,” said Wilson.
Romelo’s experience is one for the books and has made many of his friends and fellow UDC members proud.
“Romelo is one of my best friends and we’ve been dancing together for 3 and a half years. I’ve seen him grow as a person and dancer these past few years, and seeing him perform made me so proud of him and how far he’s come,” said Arianna Pepin who is also a UDC member and senior at UT. I’m so happy that he was able to have this experience.”
Wilson first learned about his interest in dance when playing the console game, Just Dance.
“I thought, let me take this out of my basement and into a studio,” he said.
As a Brooklyn, NY native, Wilson took his first dance class at The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in New York City and was hooked ever since.
“I have only been dancing since I was 15; before that, I was playing baseball,” said Wilson.
He then carried his passion for dance to UT where he tried out for UDC. Romelo has now been on the team for all of his semesters at UT and couldn’t be more proud to be a member.
“It’s one of the most notable parts of the university,” Wilson said. “It’s an escape for me from the stress of class or work.”
And with this massive performance, he’s definitely made his time at UT an exceptional experience.