Who could ever forget the moment they first laid eyes on the Super Bowl's dancing man? There he was at half-time during the Bruno Mars set — enormous smile, arms swinging above his elbows, iPhone 6S jumping in his pocket, eyebrows on fleek, and a bounce that could rival Neil Armstrong on the moon. "I was probably the oldest person on the field," he said about the major moment. "I didn't even know who Bruno Mars was. He could have been anybody for all I knew."
Image Source: Vine user Jed Marcus
So who is this sensation who has captured our hearts just like last year's Left Shark? His name's Mark Sumner; he's 62 years old, funny as heck, and no, he's not a dad. Well, not exactly. Sumner is the Director of the UC Choral Ensembles and has been teaching for 35+ years, so he considers himself a father figure to his students. He landed at the Super Bowl behind DJ Mark Ronson as a chaperone for the UC Berkeley members who were performing.
When they had a rehearsal on Thursday, the Super Bowl reps told them to give it 110 percent of their energy levels. So he did. "It was the most aerobic thing," he said, laughing.
"On Thursday, we thought we weren't really in view of the camera. We were kinda back in the corner," he added. "But I did notice that they cut to the DJ, so I made sure I was behind him." His students all crowded close to Bruno Mars — rookies.
I'm probably the oldest person performing on the football field this coming Sunday afternoon at the Super Bowl halftime...
He knew it was a big deal once half-time was over. "As soon as I walked off, I had 20 texts," he said, including one from a friend standing by his TV set pointing at him dancing. Soon after, he had to look up what "Vine" and "meme" meant.
Someone's dancing dad is my pick for Super Bowl 50 MVP. pic.twitter.com/fZUrTYbxGu
— Ashley Burns (@MayorBurnsy) February 8, 2016
Then he went home, sat in a chair in his robe, munching on a snack, and turned on the Late Late Show With James Corden. There he was on TV. "I thought, 'Oh geez.' It was a keep-pinching-myself thing — totally out of control."
Even more incredible? The response he's gotten from students. "The best part of this is all students I taught 38 years ago and since then have reached out to me about how important I've been in their lives when it comes to music." He's been teaching at Cal for 20 years and is thinking of retiring this year. Could there be a better way to round out his career?
Dad dancing FTW. https://t.co/7z5FpDxERq
— Zack Cox (@ZackCoxNESN) February 8, 2016
Sumner has many accomplishments — he has a doctorate degree and has won notable awards. When asked if this was one of his proudest moments, he explained that more than anything, it was a life lesson. You see, he's someone who likes to have control over every aspect of his life. On Monday, he learned that's not always possible. "Pride? I don't know if I can say that, but it certainly taught me to just let go more and enjoy life. You never know what's going to happen."
— Additional reporting by Marina Liao