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Instructor to show her kicks at Super Bowl


© St. Petersburg Times, published October 15, 2000

Miss Suda is Super Bowl-bound.

On Oct. 7, Oldsmar recreational dance instructor Suda Yantiss, known as "Miss Suda" to her students, was one of nearly 1,000 dancers age 15 and up vying for 500 spots on the dance team for the Super Bowl XXXV pregame show.

Among the throngs of giggling teenage dancers at Bob Martinez Center at the University of Tampa, she didn't feel too old for the job.

"They said they'd accept any age 15 and over, so I figured 37 was included in that group," she said. "One lady (selected) was 52."

She said she felt blessed by fate.

"I was number 25 in group 11," she said. "I just decided that 25 was a lucky number."

It was. But luck alone didn't get her there.

After years of teaching children and adults to dance, Yantiss was on the other side of the curtain. She was ushered into a large gymnasium along with 150 fellow dancers where she was taught a short routine of 10 counts of eight, which Yantiss describes as "a lot of steps."

The practice session took half an hour. Then the dancers performed the routine for a judge sitting in the stands.

The judge wasn't looking for body type, she was looking for dancers who were quick studies.

"Then they posted the numbers on the wall, and I found my number," Yantiss said.

If that weren't enough, she was filmed by a local TV crew and caught herself on the news that night.

Yantiss won't see her fellow dancers until December, when a week of intensive training begins to get them ready for the nationally televised five-minute performance just before the national anthem.

"We'll practice where the Bucs practice," she said.

Later she found out that although costumes will be provided, she would be responsible for buying her own hosiery, white gloves and shoes.

But the expense is worth every penny.

"Once you dance in a Super Bowl, you have the option of dancing in other Super Bowls," Yantiss said.

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