Kedrick Pasley has always been a dancer — even in the womb.
His mother said when she was pregnant with him, her belly would start moving whenever she played music and stop as soon as she turned it off.
Pasley, a professional dancer who grew up in West Ashley and now performs at Walt Disney World and Universal Studios Florida in Orlando, Fla., hit a high in his career Feb. 7 when he performed with The Weeknd during the Super Bowl halftime show.
On the big screen, Pasley appeared as one of the performers in a red blazer and white mask on the field while The Weeknd sang "Blinding Lights" for the show finale. Fireworks burst in the background as hundreds of dancers, including Pasley, marched and grooved along the yard lines.
"I had a huge adrenaline rush the whole time," recounted Pasley in a phone interview with The Post and Courier. "It wasn't until seeing that logo above me read 'The Pepsi Super Bowl LV Halftime Show Presents The Weeknd' — the one I had seen so many times before watching from my couch at home — that I truly realized I'm part of this, I'm part of history."
Pasley's red blazer is now hanging in his closet, a keepsake he said he will cherish for years to come. But before he danced for millions on national television, Pasley grew up in West Ashley and took classes at the Charleston Dance Center and Charleston County School of the Arts.
He's been taking dance lessons since he was 3, starting off with "Ms. Myra" at the now-shuttered Cannon Street YMCA.
"I am so proud of him," instructor Myra Harley-Chamble said after the performance. "He went so much further in his dance achievements than I could ever have taught him."
Even at a young age, Pasley was always the first on the dance floor at weddings. He begged his mom to play Michael Jackson music videos and learned the moonwalk almost as soon as he could walk.
When he started competing at conventions through the Charleston Dance Center at age 7, Pasley said he knew he had to pursue dancing as a career.
"Dance chose me, and I'm just along for the ride," he said.
After graduating from South Carolina State University, where he suited up as the bulldog mascot, Pasley moved to Orlando to solidify his lifelong passion into a daily dream. At Disney World, he's performed in the Main Street trolley show and holiday extravaganzas, as well as productions of "The Lion King" and "Beauty and the Beast."
He owes his School of the Arts dance instructor Ashlee Ratigan for a connection to the theme park. After teaching Pasley in the Lowcountry, Ratigan went to work for Disney as a choreographer. She suggested Pasley join her.
“I thought Disney would be a good fit for him because of his friendly, outgoing, larger-than-life personality," Ratigan told The Post and Courier. "Also, he was amazing on stage in the school’s musical theater productions. He shined and was meant to perform."
While Pasley has a special appreciation for jazz and contemporary dance, he really can do it all, said Charleston Dance Center owner Buffi Wade, who considers herself a second mother to Pasley.
"You just kind of have this feeling when you work with kids who are so ambitious that they’re going to go on and do big things," Wade said. "He is that kid that can do it all. And he's humble. That takes you far in life."
Wade, along with Pasley's other prior instructors, had no idea he was going to be performing at the halftime show until he was already on the TV screen. That's because he was sworn to secrecy until the third quarter.
"Everything was confidential," Pasley said, from his surprise recruitment to the two weeks of full-day, masked rehearsals to being bused to Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., with a police escort minutes before the show started.
COVID-19 tests were taken by everyone every other day, and The Weeknd attended almost all of the rehearsals. Pasley got to give him a fist bump.
On the big night, backstage, Pasley said he saw Miley Cyrus and Cardi B. He and his fellow dancers cheered giddily before rushing into the stadium on cue.
The performance itself was a little bit eerie because of the earplugs he wore; the crowd's cheers were drowned out to focus on the choreography. But he tried to take in the whirlwind of a moment as best he could.
"This is the biggest accomplishment of my life in my career," Pasley said. "I think I'm still processing that."
Wade of Charleston Dance Center said that while one of her star pupils, Miguel Robinson, has gone on tour with Mariah Carey and performed with Beyonce, Mary J. Blige, Rihanna and Diddy, Pasley is the first to dance at the Super Bowl.
"That's the experience of a lifetime," she said. "It's just huge."
Interestingly enough, Pasley's Facebook memories 10 years ago featured a perfectly predictive status:
"Alright, Black Eyed Peas," he posted the year before he graduated high school. "Y'all did y'all thang ! I wish I was one of those 500 dancers on that field."
A decade later, he was.