The Mystery Of The ‘Living Single’ Dancer
Who is the silhouetted dancer gracing the seminal ’90s sitcom’s opening credits?
In a recent interview with The Guardian, David Schwimmer, who portrayed the sad-sack paleontologist Ross Geller on the mega-hit sitcom Friends, pontificated that his show should be rebooted with an Asian-American or African-American cast.
In one of those satisfying “Gotcha!” moments Black Twitter is renowned for, Schwimmer was reminded by actress Erika Alexander her former show — the ’90s Black sitcom Living Single which debuted a year before Friends — was the template for his show.
Living Single was a sitcom about a close-knit group of six friends in various stages of upward mobility. They all lived in the same apartment building in New York and their misadventures in love, work, and life in general was the wellspring of the show’s comedy.
Schwimmer’s comments have ignited a resurgence of interest in Living Single — a still much beloved sitcom in the Black community. It is a show deserving of far more recognition and acclaim for its groundbreaking, funny, and at times poignant, look at middle-class Black American life.
And unlike Friends, which has some truly puerile and cringy pre-#MeToo sexual antics, Living Single reruns hold up remarkably well.
Another significant similarity between the two series is both boasted catchy theme songs. Queen Latifah herself penned and performed the main theme for Living Single, a R&B-rap groove impossible not to bop to when it cues up.
Now here is where the show’s mystery comes into play.
Living Single’s title credits include the silhouette of a woman undulating and gyrating energetically in time to the beat of the infectious theme song.
Her dynamic performance is exhilarating to watch. It makes you feel as if you can shuck it all, move to the big apple, and take on the world. But, who is this mysterious figure whose dance moves have become an indelible hallmark of the show?
This is her:
Her name is Leslie “Big Lez” Segar, @yourgirllez on Instagram, a gymnast and professional dancer who was 24-years-old at the time she performed her iconic dance routine.
In 2018, BuzzFeed did a profile on this ageless dynamo — who still has all the skills and the moves. She now dances and works as a choreographer kicking up her heels in Los Angeles.
While reminiscing about her participation in what would become one of the most memorable dance routines in television history, Ms. Segar recalls:
When I recorded Living Single, I was a spry 24-year-old. It was shot by Otis Sallid, who had worked with Spike Lee, and he asked me to shoot this to whet their appetite,” she said. “Neither one of us had the job when we shot it, but they loved it, kept it, and now it is TV history.
Now with Living Single streaming on Hulu, old and new audiences alike can soak in the energy and drama of Ms. Segar’s captivating performance — as well as enjoy a classic, trailblazing Black sitcom whose humor and perspective remain relevant in a 2000s kinda world.