Galyean was a cheerleader back in high school, and he intended to continue but couldn't.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on November 1, 2022.
Michael Galyean never thought he would see his childhood dream come to fruition until October 29, 2022, when he danced in front of 105,000 people at the stadium of the University of Tennessee. Galyean was a cheerleader back in high school and he intended to continue but couldn't. Nearly 20 years after high school, he finally got his chance when he was asked to surprise the crowd with his performance with the University of Tennessee dance team at a football game.
Galyean shared on Instagram that it would be an understatement to call this "a dream come true," with a video that has been viewed more than 45,000 times. In the caption, Galyean wrote of his story, "I applied and was accepted to Tennessee and Kentucky and I chose these schools solely on their cheer programs. When visiting UT, I remember rounding the corner of campus, seeing the monumental Neyland Stadium, and saying 'I’m choosing UT because I’m gonna cheer on those sidelines one day.' Well, the insecure and frail freshman me never tried out for the team and I’ve always regretted not fulfilling my childhood dream."
Galyean shared with Newsweek that he was intimidated by University cheerleaders. "I knew every cheerleader in the state and then to just see the beast that is [University of Tennesee] cheerleading, I just went, 'OK this isn't for me,'" he said. Galyean finished school, got a job, and put cheerleading on the back burner for a while. His further training includes a dance class he took in college. He mentioned that after working in retail for over 20 years, he lost his job in 2021.
Galyean saw it as a signal to start pursuing his interests at that point. "So, I've spent the last year just throwing darts, whether it's been the TV work that we have here in Knoxville, in front of and behind the camera, trying different things," he said. "I host events around town, I work with different dance outlets."
Galyean has worked with the dance team's Spirit Program Director, Kelley Tafazzoli, and he knew that she is searching for ways to enhance the fan experience. "The Spirit Program At UT reached out to me explaining they wanted to do a 'bit' during the next game that involved some acting and dance and that I was the first person that came to mind. I said… say less," he wrote in the Instagram post. "Kelley just knew that I have a history of being a showboat," he said with a laugh. "I guess she felt comfortable that I would do the role well and with respect."
After being contacted on October 20, 2022 and receiving a video of the act on October 23, he received just an hour of official practice with the team on October 29, 2022, before the performance. He wrote in the post, "At halftime, I changed into an Axis Security shirt. I 'worked' the whole third quarter as sideline security, patrolling the area in front of the student section and in front of the dance team."
In the video, Galyean can be seen standing in front of the team as they begin their routine while donning a blue security shirt and a pair of khakis. Another individual on the sidelines approached him after he acted as if he had gotten into a fight with a dance team member. Galyean backed up as the music intensified, then joined the squad in the dance move when the music dropped! He then proceeded to dance his moves in the middle of the group while the audience erupted in applause and hooted for him, and he ended the routine by striking a stance along with the group.
More than 15 million people have watched the TikTok video of the dance team's routine. The video was appreciated on Reddit after it was posted on the subreddit r/MadeMeSmile. TikTok user Alexa shared, "Nah, they really sold it. They had me😂." User Toniii commented, "OMG, HE ATE AND LEFT ZERO CRUMBS!" Reddit user u/ravengenesis1 commented, "Expected him to be part of the act. But didn’t expect him to bust a move like that."