Jennifer Lopez, known worldwide as JLO, first came into the public eye as a dancer on the sketch comedy show In Living Color. This popular TV series launched the careers of many famous performers in the 1990s, including Jim Carrey, Jamie Foxx, and the dance troupe The Fly Girls, of which JLO was a member.
The Early Days
Jennifer Lopez was born on July 24, 1969 in The Bronx, New York to Puerto Rican parents. From a young age, she loved to sing and dance, and took singing and dancing lessons. After high school, she briefly attended Baruch College before dropping out to pursue a career as a dancer. Her first big break came in 1990 when she was selected as a dancer for In Living Color.
In Living Color was a pioneering sketch comedy series created by Keenen Ivory Wayans that ran on Fox from 1990-1994. It was known for its diverse cast and edgy, politically incorrect humor. The show helped launch the careers of several major stars, including Jim Carrey, Jamie Foxx, David Alan Grier, Tommy Davidson, and the dancing troupe The Fly Girls. JLO joined The Fly Girls in their second season and danced on the show from 1991-1993, first as a regular dancer and then as a Fly Girl.
The Fly Girls
The Fly Girls were a hip-hop dance troupe that performed dance interludes between sketches on In Living Color. They became incredibly popular, known for their sexy dance moves, choreographed by Rosie Perez. The original line-up of Fly Girls in Season 1 included Carrie Ann Inaba (who later became a judge on Dancing with the Stars), Cari French, Deidre Lang, Lisa Marie Todd, Barbara Lumpkin and Michelle Whitney-Morrison.
In Season 2, JLO joined the troupe along with Carla Garrido, Laurieann Gibson, Amy Walker, and Nina Minaya. This second iteration of Fly Girls quickly became fan favorites, dance icons of the 90s. JLO’s natural dance abilities and stage presence made her stand out from the beginning. She brought a fiery Latina flair to the group’s urban hip hop style. She danced on In Living Color from 1991 to 1993.
JLO’s Dancing on In Living Color
Even as part of a dance troupe, JLO’s talents were undeniable on In Living Color. She wowed audiences with her booty shaking, hip swaying moves and radiant smile. Some of her most memorable moments on the show include:
- A PSA parody dance routine about the dangers of milk
- A hip hop dance paying tribute to Eddie Murphy and his many characters
- A house party dance sequence set to Rob Base’s “It Takes Two”
- A safety dance spoofing educational films
- A fast food restaurant dance parody commercial
- Dancing as Jim Carrey’s “anterior bump” during a Fire Marshall Bill sketch
JLO’s star quality was evident every time she stepped on stage. She could sing, act, and especially dance with incredible flair and athleticism. She started developing a signature dance style that was sexy, confident, and street smart – which later became her trademark as a pop star.
After In Living Color
Dancing on In Living Color from 1991-1993 provided the perfect launchpad for JLO’s career as an entertainer. It allowed her to hone her dance abilities, develop on-camera presence, and get comfortable performing live in front of millions of viewers every week.
After leaving the show in 1993, JLO got roles as a dancer in music videos and toured as a backup dancer for Janet Jackson. She soon moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting, landing starring roles in movies like Selena, Out of Sight, and The Wedding Planner. She leveraged her dance background into a successful music career starting in 1999, when she released her first album On the 6. To this day, dance remains central to all her live performances.
So while In Living Color was just the starting point for JLO, those early days dancing on the show gave her the chance to develop the confidence, work ethic, and skillset that catapulted her into superstardom. As a Fly Girl, she stood out from the beginning as someone special. Her dancing on In Living Color laid the foundation for her multifaceted career as an award-winning actress, singer, dancer, and business mogul that continues today.
Jennifer Lopez first stepped into the spotlight as a Fly Girl on the hit 90s sketch comedy series In Living Color. Her natural dance talent and stage presence were evident from the start during her stint dancing on the show from 1991 to 1993. Those formative years honing her craft helped launch the incredible career that was to come. Dancing on In Living Color gave Jennifer Lopez her first major opportunity to shine, leading her on a path to become the pop culture icon she is today.