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Ten-year-old Bucs dancer becomes Internet sensation

Ten-year-old Christian Bottger loves being in the spotlight.

It's a good thing, too, because videos of him dancing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers cheerleaders at Sunday's game have made him an Internet sensation.

"He's in awe," said Christian's dad, Ed Bottger, the video production manager for the team.

Videos of Christian's Gangnam Style routine, which he performed alongside the team's mascot, Capt. Fear, have been featured on popular sports blogs such as the Big Lead and have attracted attention from TV shows such as Ellen and Good Morning America.

Christian, dubbed "Little Fear" by the team, is set to appear on the Today show around 8 a.m. today, his dad said. Christian took his first-ever plane ride with his parents Monday night to New York and hopes to meet Bruno Mars — his favorite singer and a fellow guest — after the show.

"He likes the attention, and he just loves performing," Bottger said. "He likes being out in front of everybody."

Christian, who has two older sisters, lives with his family in Largo.

Bottger said he — and some other impressed fans at the game — posted videos of Christian's performance on the Web.

"I'm shocked. I really am," Bottger said about the sensation the videos created. "But I knew it was popular in the stadium. You could hear the roar of the crowd."

Bottger said Christian, who is a fifth-grade student at Fuguitt Elementary School in Largo, has been dancing competitively for five years. He has participated in the Bucs' Junior Cheerleader program for the past three years.

During Christian's first year in the program, he was the only boy who danced to a Michael Jackson medley with about 300 girls, his dad said.

The instructor was so impressed with him, she invited Christian to do a routine with the cheerleaders, Bottger said.

Christian has performed at three games so far and will perform at least at one more, Bottger said.

Christian's dance teacher at StarStruck Dance Studio in Largo, Stefanie Valentine, said she isn't surprised by how popular Christian has become. She said he is never nervous about performing and practices his dancing about six days a week.

"He was born for this," Valentine said. "He's such a star, and he's so special. If you have met him, you don't forget him. I knew this was going to happen. I'm so happy and so proud."

Times TV/media critic Eric Deggans, staff writer Danielle Paquette and news researcher John Martin contributed to this report.

Christian Bottger of Largo dances Sunday with the Bucs cheerleaders at halftime. Today, he will be on NBC’s Today show.

MIKE CARLSON | Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Christian Bottger of Largo dances Sunday with the Bucs cheerleaders at halftime. Today, he will be on NBC’s Today show.

Ten-year-old Bucs dancer becomes Internet sensation

12/10/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, January 22, 2013 5:13pm]
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