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Some Twin Cities dancers steamed about Super Bowl Live invitation

Super Bow Live image provided by the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee


That’s one of the words the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee used in an audition notice calling for 96 “technically-trained” Twin Cities dancers to perform during Super Bowl Live, the Jan. 26-Feb. 4 outdoor festival that builds the hype for Minnesota's date with the nation’s biggest sporting event.


That’s what some members of Minnesota’s professional dance community are calling the audition notice for hip-hop, jazz and break dancers, ages 16-35.

Dancers will be required to attend two rehearsals and work at least four four-hour shifts during the various events to be held on the Nicollet Mall. In return, they will receive meals plus a $100 "donation" to cover transportation expenses. Plus, they get to keep their costumes.

“As dance makers we know: This is not a great opportunity! This is exploitation," Twin Cities choreographer Laurie Van Wieren commented on Facebook along with a link to the audition notice posted on the website for Northrop Auditorium, the biggest presenter of dance shows in Minnesota.

The audition call says that dancers who are chosen for Super Bowl Live will work in 12- and 24-person teams, performing three dances, lasting three to five minutes, during each four-hour shift. 

One incentive, according to the posting, is "exposure" to choreographer Mark Swanhart, whose credits include Cirque du Soleil, Celine Dion's Las Vegas show and Baz Luhrmann's staging of "La Boheme."

“As you know, one can die of exposure,” quipped Twin Cities choreographer Cassandra Shore.

“The NFL has the money,” Van Wieren said. “They need to pay for the time, the skill, the art.”

The NFL, however, is not involved in staging Super Bowl Live. That is a Host Committee event, and one that is free of charge. The committee issued the following statement Monday:

“The Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee is a locally-based, non-profit organization charged with hosting the world in our beloved state for one of the world’s biggest sporting events.  We are seeking to highlight local dancers, particularly student groups, as part of our free and open to the public festival. This is just one more way that we are involving the community in this once-in-a-lifetime, memorable event.”

Although the NFL is a money-making juggernaut, it’s not known for shelling out big bucks to entertainers. Super Bowl halftime acts are unpaid, for example, but Justin Timberlake will be able to translate the exposure from this winter's show into album sales, downloads and commercial endorsements.

Regardless of who's paying, dancers argue that they use their bodies much as professional athletes do, with all the attendant risks, including repetitive stress injuries, sprains and broken bones. Of course, dancers’ earnings are relatively paltry — rounding errors when compared to that of professional athletes.

Auditions take place this weekend for a chance to perform for audiences for the Super Bowl, which comes to Minnesota for the first time since 1992.

Gwen Stefani to headline Mystic Lake's Feb. 4 post-Super Bowl party

Gwen Stefani last played in town at Xcel Energy Center in 2016. / Star Tribune file

Gwen Stefani last played in town at Xcel Energy Center in 2016. / Star Tribune file

Super Bowl revelers who head back to Mystic Lake Casino Hotel after the big game on Feb. 4 will be able to “hollaback” with Gwen Stefani.

The former No Doubt singer and “The Voice” judge has been announced as the headliner for the final concert in the casino’s four-night Club Nomadic series. Each night, a show will take place in a temporary, 9,000-capacity "pop-up" venue now being pieced together on a parking lot outside the Prior Lake entertainment facility, about a half-hour from Minneapolis. The casino partnered with Super Bowl party mainstay Nomadic Entertainment to present the unique series.

General-admission tickets for Stefani’s concert will be available to the public for an even $200 starting Friday, Dec. 15, at 10 a.m. via Ticketmaster. The show is also being sold among the casino’s high-buck VIP packages.

Last week, Club Nomadic organizers also announced a Feb. 2 double-lineup with “Love Me Like You Do” electro-pop singer Ellie Goulding and Kygo, a Norgwegian DJ who has remixed hits for Goulding and Ed Sheeran. Those tickets are also $200.

Stefani and Goulding each played to only about 6,000 people in their concerts last year at Xcel Energy Center, when tickets to their shows started at $40.

So here’s the final four-night lineup for the Club Nomadic series at Mystic Lake below. More info and ticket links for each show can be had via

Thursday, Feb. 1: The Chainsmokers ($200, or $1,000 VIP).

Friday, Feb. 2: Ellie Goulding and Kygo ($200 and $1,500).

Saturday, Feb. 3: Florida Georgia Line ($200 and $1,500).

Sunday, Feb. 4: Gwen Stefani ($200 and $1,500).

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