Terry Lilly: Dancing to his dreams

Super Bowl XLV was just a game to some, but for Terry Lilly it was a dream come true. Grambling State University’s very own Terry Lilly, director of Recreation/Intramural Sports and Spirit Coordinator, was invited to be a guest choreographer for the halftime show.

“I did not choreograph Usher,” Lilly said, killing one of the many rumors he has heard since his return from the Super Bowl.

Last Sunday’s game in Dallas was Lilly’s first time ever attending a Super Bowl, so the excitement for him was unexplainable. Not only did he assist in the halftime choreography, he was also the flag-runner for the Green Bay Packers.

He said after agreeing to serve as flag runner (“Of course, who wouldn’t want to do it?”), he had only one request. Lilly said he insisted that if he was going to bear any team’s flag, it would have to be the “G” of the Green Bay Packers, which, except for the green color, is the same as Grambling State’s “G.”

As time neared for him to get on the field, he said that on top of his abundance of excitement and energy, he began to have flutters of nervousness.

“The football players were so big, I just didn’t want them to run over me because I wouldn’t be able to live that down,” Lilly said, laughing.

He was invited to work with Super Bowl XLV because of his affiliation with Just For Kix, a company that oversees programs in over 150 communities and approximately 18,000 dancers. They focus on precision dance team instruction with a motto of “doing your best is more important than being your best.”

The halftime show included 900 dancers under the supervision of Fatima Robinson. Robinson is a noted choreographer to the stars, including the Black Eyed Peas, who were a part of the entertainment during the halftime show.

Summing up the experience he had this past week in Dallas he coined it as an experience he would not trade for “anything” in the world.

Overwhelmed by all the love and support he has received, he wanted everyone to know that it was greatly appreciated.

With an extensive background in dancing that includes working with the Orchesis, GSU’s cheerleaders, and other dance troupes, as well as helping choreograph the Outback Bowl, Citrus Bowl and Orange Bowl, his resume speaks for itself.

Lilly started his tenure at Grambling State as a graduate assistant in the 1990s and has been at GSU ever since. He has juggled many hats during his stay.

Attributing his success to the hard-working individuals who instilled in him proper work ethic, he instills that same discipline in the students today.

“Although my tactics may be abrasive, hopefully they’ll appreciate the hard work I put them through in the end,” said Lilly when asked how he feels about the way students tend to describe his work ethic as too demanding.

He mentioned that anytime he leaves campus to do any events, he brings back everything he has learned so he can improve and make Grambling more “cutting edge.”

Lilly said one of the people who inspired him was former GSU President Joseph B. Johnson, who “always told me I could go anywhere if we put our minds to it.”

That’s the advice he gives his students today, letting them know anything is possible.

He is living witness to it.