‘Surreal experience’: Leominster woman dances in Super Bowl Halftime Show

LEOMINSTER, Mass — As Rihanna serenaded more than one hundred million people during the Super Bowl LVII Halftime Show with her hit “Diamonds”, also shining bright that night was Yuliana Maldonado representing her hometown, Leominster.

“It was a surreal experience. The Super Bowl is always just one of the craziest shows to do. You have so much energy and it is one of the most watched performances,” says Maldonado.

Maldonado has also performed in other Super Bowls with Jennifer Lopez and last year with Mary J. Blige. Before dancing with superstars, she discovered her passion for dance as a little girl in Puerto Rico and perfected her craft at Miss Tanya’s School of Dance in Fitchburg.

“She made me understand the love that I had for it and really pursue that cause there were a lot of times I felt insecure, or people would be like you can’t make this a career,” says Maldonado.

She took her dance dreams to Los Angeles, never letting the naysayers stop her. She has worked with the choreographer for this year’s Super Bowl Halftime show in the past, which is how the opportunity came about to dance with Rhianna.

“It was really exciting for sure. I mean it is Rhianna. That’s like anyone’s dream to just perform with her, especially since she hadn’t performed for like six years, I think it was,” says Maldonado.

From Leominster to Los Angeles, Maldonado encourages other kids like her to bet on themselves.

“Work hard and just trust and believe that it will work out for you if you work for it,” says Maldonado.

Then maybe you too will shine bright like a diamond.

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