• Hundreds of dancers who will be performing on the field during the Super Bowl LVI halftime show won't be getting paid, a report says
  • They are reportedly expected to attend mandatory rehearsals for up to nine hours a day and provide their own transportation
  • Several professional dancers have since spoken out on the matter

Super Bowl LVI has received criticism for allegedly asking hundreds of dancers to perform at the halftime show next month for free.

Fatima Robinson, this year's head halftime choreographer whose credits include Michael Jackson, Aaliyah and the Backstreet Boys, wrote on Instagram that she hired 115 paid dancers for the Super Bowl this year to dance alongside featured artists Snoop Dogg, Mary J. Blige, Dr. Dre, Eminem and Kendrick Lamar onstage.

However, the hundreds of dancers who will be performing on the field won't be getting paid despite being expected to attend nine days of mandatory rehearsals for up to nine hours a day, Page Six reported. They were also asked to provide their own transportation and adhere to a strict confidentiality protocol, the report said.

The outlet obtained alleged screenshots of texts and DMs from various recruiters and L.A.'s Bloc Talent Agency asking professional dancers — many of whom have years of experience — to "volunteer" for halftime. "Glee" star Heather Morris, Carmit Bachar of the Pussycat Dolls and Alyson Stoner, who appeared in Eminem's "Just Lose It" music video, have since spoken out on the matter via social media.

"It’s not uncommon that the Super Bowl brings forth field local volunteers to be concertgoers for the Super Bowl experience just to deepen the production quality and value and the attention," Taja Riley — who performed at halftime with Beyoncé, Bruno Mars and Coldplay in 2016 and with Jennifer Lopez and Shakira in 2020 — told Page Six.

"These are things that are pretty common in the industry, but what is not common is a coordinator or production or producer reaching out to professional talent to hire them as volunteers and working them for the amount of time that they are requesting," Riley added.

Melany Centeno was among the dancers who allegedly received DMs about the volunteer gig and found it insulting given her professional experience. She has danced professionally for over a decade with artists such as Kanye West, Blige, Pink and Pitbull.

Centeno told Page Six that she immediately rejected the offer because the Super Bowl has "money to pay people."

"This is, at the root, exploitation," the dancer said.

Riley and Centeno alleged that Robinson is likely aware of this situation and that she has a history of bringing on dancers to work for free. Centeno claimed she experienced it firsthand during West's Sunday Service for Coachella in 2019 where volunteers and paid dancers "did the same amount of work."

Riley also alleged that Robinson blocked her when she reached out to her to discuss this year's Super Bowl. She said she just wanted the halftime show choreographer to "do the right thing."

Riley also called on Super Bowl LVI halftime show executive producer Jesse Collins and this year's headliners to make changes, saying "there is enough money that can go around."

Roc Nation, which also serves as executive producer of the halftime show, has since released a statement to Page Six addressing the controversy.

"We completely agree that all dancers should be compensated for their craft and that is why we are employing the 115 professional dancers performing alongside the headliners," the statement read.

"The professional dancers are completely separate from the volunteer-based, non-choreographed field cast," the statement continued. "As in years past, it is completely up to the volunteer candidates to participate. No one working with this show contacted an agency to request professional dancers to volunteer. Lastly, we strictly follow and adhere to all SAG-AFTRA guidelines."

​​Super Bowl LVI will take place on Feb. 13 at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California.

beyonce formartion superbowl performance
U.S. singer Beyoncé performs during the halftime show of the NFL Super Bowl XLVII football game in New Orleans, Feb. 3, 2013. Reuters/Jeff Haynes