From Potters Bar to dancing with the stars - Meet history-making dancer Luke Johnson

Luke Johnson

Luke Johnson is the first British dancer to appear as part of the Super Bowl half-time show. - Credit: Instagram @JohnsonLuke12

Half-time of the Super Bowl 2020. The Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers are level at 10-10. But the football stars aren’t the only ones feeling the heat in Florida as a dancer from Potters Bar gets ready to make history.

Luke Johnson grew up in the Hertfordshire town, which he affectionately calls ‘Little Old Potters Bar’ as he reminisces over his childhood on Billy Lows Lane.

“Coming from Potters Bar, I never thought I’d be doing anything like this,” he told the Welwyn Hatfield Times.

After poor GCSE grades pushed him towards dance over acting at university, Luke made a life-changing decision at the end of his first year in 2014.

“When I was applying to courses at university it was between acting and dancing. In all honesty, I didn’t have good enough GCSEs for the acting course, so dance was the only one that would take me,” he said.

“I loved dancing anyway so I thought it could be an adventure. I remember walking in on my first day and out of the whole year I was the only male.

“I left university early and dropped out after a year, so I started taking classes to try and find a way into the industry.”

Luke Johnson

Luke made a meteoric rise in the dance world after dropping out of university in 2014. - Credit: Instagram @JohnsonLuke12

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He would make a meteoric rise in the dance world, continuing: “My first big jobs were incredible, working with Nicki Minaj for the MTV EMAs and then Ariana Grande at the Victoria Secret fashion show.

“I ended the year doing the X Factor final with Brian Friedman which was a big performance.

“It was crazy because it all happened within the space of about three weeks, but once I touched the stage, I really knew this was what I wanted to do.”

Performances with stars such as Rita Ora, Anne Marie, Little Mix, Liam Payne and Janet Jackson followed as his burgeoning reputation grew, with Luke also appearing in the live-action adaptation of Disney’s Aladdin.

2019 would see him venture across the pond, settling in Los Angeles, California. Living and working in the shadow of Hollywood would bring new opportunities with some of the biggest stars in the world.

One of those moments would come in early 2020 when Luke was chosen to dance alongside Jennifer Lopez at the Super Bowl LIV half-time show.

The hard work was just beginning for the 28-year-old, who was pushed hard by world renowned choreographer Parris Goebel.

“It was the hardest thing I’ve had to do physically,” he admitted.

“We had to learn so many different styles, and Parris put me in at the deep end, getting me to do this and that with her.

“She put me right next to J-Lo as she knew she would like me.”

While many will remember the night for the MVP performance of Patrick Mahomes as the Chiefs lifted the Super Bowl, Luke remembers it for making history, becoming the first British dancer to appear as part of the half-time show.

“It was insane. The whole experience was so surreal,” he recalled with a beaming smile.

“I did it with my best friend who is from London, so we’ve had our own little dance journey together, and when we came off the stage, he told me we’re the first people from the UK to do this. We just burst into tears on the pitch.

“That performance was just insane, and when I was lying there at the end, looking up at the fireworks going off, I just couldn’t believe it. I will never forget it, and especially the moments like nearly dropping my cane or J-Lo winking at me and my friend.”

Despite effortlessly strutting his stuff with Jenny from the Block, Luke from the Bar admitted he still feels the nerves of performing on the world’s biggest stages.

Luke Johnson

Luke (left) alongside Rihanna at the Savage X Fenty show. - Credit: Instagram @JohnsonLuke12

“Since I moved to America, I’ve danced on some of the biggest stages in the world, and it's obviously nerve wracking because of the scale of it all,” he said.

“Now I’ve been working with these artists for so long, they put their trust in me and love working with me as much as I love working with them.

“But when I walk out and I see 100,000 people my heart drops every time. When they ask me to rip a costume off them or hold the microphone and not drop it, I say of course I can do it, but it’s still nerve wracking, especially working with the best in the world.”

As well as being the first British dancer to perform at the Super Bowl, Luke is also the first UK performer to dance at the Savage X Fenty Show, appearing alongside Rihanna in 2021.

Despite his history-making shows, the 28-year-old has his eyes on further success, saying: “I want to do some world tours with the biggest artists in the world, and I have a little bucket list of people I want to work with.

“Every new project is opening up new doors for me too. I’m kind of just living in the moment right now and enjoying everything that I’m doing.”

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