On the plaza

'Dancing usher' shows off moves to Rockefeller Plaza crowd

April 5, 2013 at 12:39 PM ET

TODAY /
Shannon Sailes, the Detroit Pistons' famed "dancing usher," wows the crowd on Rockefeller Plaza with his moves.

When Detroit Pistons usher Shannon Sailes first busted out his dance moves on camera during a game, his co-workers told him this would probably be his last day of employment with the team.

"They said you could get fired,'' Sailes said on TODAY Friday. "You're not supposed to dance, so (they said), 'This is your last day.' I said, 'Well, then let me go on and deliver newspapers or something.'''

Instead, Sailes's dance moves have become a staple of home games at the Palace of Auburn Hills in Detroit, where he has earned the nickname "the dancing usher.'' When the television or Jumbotron cameras find him during a game, he will break out his Michael Jackson-style dance moves on cue, to the delight of the fans.

On Friday Sailes brought those smooth moves to Rockefeller Plaza, and even got the TODAY anchors to participate with a group break-dancing move straight out of the 1980s.

Dancing at games originated spontaneously for Sailes. At one game, a "dance cam" graphic came up on the main monitor, Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean'' started playing, and when the camera found Sailes, he went from his arms crossed behind his back to breaking out dance moves like "The King of Pop'' in his prime, to roars from the crowd. A video of his performance was posted on YouTube and received more than 100,000 hits, making the dancing usher a sensation far beyond Detroit.

"They put the camera on me and I was shocked, so I just started dancing and the crowd responded so well that every time they put the camera on me, I say, 'I'll dance,''' Sailes told TODAY Friday. "The crowd responded so well that (the Pistons entertainment crew) said any time the camera comes on, go ahead and dance. It's just in me naturally. I just like to dance, and I grew up dancing. It comes from the family."

It's not just the crowd that loves it, either.

"I get a good response from the players,'' Sailes said. "They're real humble guys, too.''

On Friday Sailes spent the early morning serving as a special guest usher opening doors for the guests in Studio 1A. Then he gave the crowd a show, with popping and locking and even a flex of his pecs as part of his dance routine, and even gave the anchors a lesson. Check out his moves below:

Peter Kramer / NBC /
Peter Kramer / NBC /
Peter Kramer / NBC /
Peter Kramer / NBC /
Peter Kramer / NBC /
Peter Kramer / NBC /

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