Rihanna’s Super Bowl dancers didn’t know she was pregnant, dancer Laila Hayes told ET on Wednesday. Hayes was one of the 280 dancers who surrounded RiRi onstage at the halftime show last weekend.
“I don’t think anybody really knew she was pregnant,” Hayes said. “She hid it very well.”
Hayes was selected as a backup dancer in late January, and rehearsed the show for two weeks, sometimes dancing for up to eight hours a day.
The group didn’t join Rihanna until the week of the show, when she rehearsed with them on the field, but still stayed separate from the larger group.
“She was rehearsing onstage, they made sure that they had her safe in the middle of the stage and then group that I was in would stay on the sidelines,” Hayes said.
Hayes added that the cold weather meant Rihanna wore oversized sweatshirts without causing any pregnancy suspicion, even at one point wearing the jumpsuit she performed in, zipped over her baby bump.
“We were all confused watching it during the real thing when she went up there and was showing her stomach,” Hayes said. “She wore the same outfit for one of the dress rehearsals but it was zippered up.”
When Rihanna wasn’t there, or was practicing other things, choreographer Parris Goebel filled her place.
“She would stand in for her, sing all the songs, lip sync all the songs, do all her choreography because she knows everything,” Hayes said of Goebel. “She’s amazing.”
After Sunday’s performance, Goebel shared several rehearsal videos of herself standing in for RiRi among the dancers. The clips quickly went viral, and are still racking up millions of views.
Though she kept her distance, Hayes said Rihanna was amazing to work with. “She’s super gorgeous, she was super nice to all of us,” Hayes shared. “A little bit before [the performance] she had just thanked all the dancers, the production company, the directors.”
In January, Goebel spoke with ET about her choreography process, saying her inspiration always begins with good music.
“I always start with the music and I go from there,” she said. “It’s really just life, things that I experience as a woman, things that I feel, emotions, all of that. I just pull from it and create.”
Goebel also choreographed Jennifer Lopez’s Super Bowl halftime show in 2020, but she said the prior experience didn’t make this time around feel any less challenging.
“It feels like it’s my first time doing this, it’s different,” she said, adding that Rihanna “just kind of breaks all the rules so every time I work with her, you don’t know what to expect.”
But wouldn’t have it any other way, saying, “It’s so fun and so exciting.”
Source: ET Online