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Katy Perry’s Infamous ‘Left Shark’ Dancer Has Finally Been Unmasked

He says his infamous flailing was meant to be 'freestyle'

Hey, internet, remember Left Shark? Of course you do — it was that seven-foot-tall dancer during Katy Perry’s Super Bowl XLIX halftime show who went rogue during a routine and became 2015's hottest meme. Allow me to refresh your memory:

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Three years after Left Shark danced his way into America’s hearts, the Washington Post has published an op-ed by the man inside the flailing fish costume. Turns out, Left Shark isn’t a shark at all, but a real human man named Bryan Gaw who danced for Perry for five years and now works as a hairstylist in Los Angeles.

“It was really only a few seconds, a snippet, maybe four or five counts where I improvised in my giant blue shark costume,” Gaw wrote. “But people went crazy.”

In a separate interview with NPR, Gaw elaborated on his decision to be “flexible” with the choreography, saying, “So there's a set choreography. There’s also what's called freestyle choreography, or, like, you get to move around or play your character as a dancer. … I'm in a 7-foot blue shark costume. There's no cool in that. So what's the other option? Well, I'm gonna play a different character.”

The character Gaw says he was aiming to portray was “an underdog,” the “every day person.” He wrote, “I think people were so attached to left shark because America loves an underdog. They love to root for one. The Super Bowl is a machine, so heavily planned and executed, and then along came this goofball. It gave people something to connect to.”

Gaw insists he gets nothing but love from fans, and he even puts his goofy achievement on his professional résumé. His message to the world? “Don't take life so seriously," he told NPR. "I was on the biggest stage in the world, acting crazy, and I got a lot of press and a lot of attention for it, in the most positive ways. It's great. Be you. Do you.”

Beautifully said, Mr. Shark.