Members of Cypress Independent appear on screen from 6:04 to 7:22 during “Just Dance.”
Lady Gaga’s halftime show at the Super Bowl was not without an NSU presence; former Demon Heat co-captain Blair Pickett was one of many air blade spinners performing with Cypress Independent Winterguard during the superstar’s hit song, “Just Dance.”
While Lady Gaga transitioned to the piano for her performance of “Million Reasons,” air blades lit up the dark stadium, illuminating the field.
The 2013 NSU alumna and Tau Beta Sigma sister has been a member of Cypress Independent since 2015 and said that her Super Bowl experience “tops the cake” out of all of her performances to date.
“It was kind of surreal,” Pickett said. “We had about 10 rehearsals throughout the 12-day process, so it was really fast-paced.”
The biggest challenge for Pickett was spinning in the dark.
“We just trusted our technique, and it ended up being a really great production for us,” Pickett said.
Countless Twitter users tweeted praise for Cypress Independent’s performance and the pop singer’s incorporation of color guard into her show.
— Nikki Sass (@nikkisass) February 6, 2017
Mostly I'm impressed that not a single person dropped their rifles during the halftime show. #colorguard
— andy (@archenlander_) February 6, 2017
— Tamaira George (@tamaira) February 6, 2017
The Houston-based color guard group rehearsed an estimated 44 hours for the show in less than two weeks. In the three days leading up to the show, they rehearsed in NRG Stadium with Lady Gaga and met the superstar. Members spanning eight seasons of Cypress Independent were in the show to form an all-star group, according to Winter Guard International.
Demon Heat Director Estelle Gravois Murr said the incorporation of color guard into the show was “quite a fitting way to bring the music to life,” and commended Cypress Independent’s performance.
“They did a fantastic job,” Murr said. “They represented themselves, the state and our activity with class.”
Murr also praised the former co-captain for continuing to use her skills after college.
“[Pickett] has always been a star,” Murr said. “I’m proud she took what she learned at NSU and continues to hone her craft as a performer. I couldn’t be more proud.”