Meet Michael Tongko-Burry, a flight attendant who became internet famous for dancing to Virgin America airline’s safety video.
Tongko-Burry, from Oakland, California, just performed one of his last dance for the airlines after working for the company for seven years.
— 👨🏻💻☕️ (@hunterwalk) July 28, 2018
“I started doing the dance back in 2014 when the Virgin America safety video first came out,” he said while speaking to BuzzFeed on Monday. “I used to do it on every flight, and then I got old and the bones started creaking a bit more and more.”
Physical limitation is not the only reason why he performed one of his last dances for the flight safety instruction.
“It’s coming to an end because, with the transition to Alaska Airlines, anything with the Virgin America brand is disappearing,” he continued.
In December 2016, Alaska Air Group officially announced the acquisition of Virgin America according to its press release at the time. Then, the following year, the company announced that Alaska Air was going to end the Virgin America brand sometime next year.
“We’ve made the difficult decision to retire the Virgin America name and logo likely sometime in 2019,” the company said in a statement.
Virgin Airline released an upbeat safety video back in 2013 that stars American singer Todrick Hall. This has been the routine Tongko-Burry has been doing throughout his performance during flights. Here’s a side-by-side comparison of the video and the flight attendant’s dance.
Aside from being an awesome flight attendant, Tongko-Burry is also a professional figure skater and a figure skating coach.
His last dance over the weekend for Virgin America was such an emotional event for Tongko-Burry, which he called it “such a sad time.”
“I really wanted to have the last weekend of having the video played to go out with a bang,” he said.
As for his routine, he admitted that nothing has changed since the time he started doing it until the last day. He remained consistent all throughout his career.
“It mostly stayed the same, only mainly because of the emergency equipment,” he continued in his interview with the publication.
Bringing joy to people around him is the best part of his performance.
“My favorite part is definitely the smiles that it brings to a lot of the guests on board and from my crewmates,” he continued.
His awesome performance also attracts the attention of many celebrities, and one in particular is Aisha Tyler.
I will miss @mikeytburry‘s ‘safety dance.’ Only he could make passengers laugh, clap AND feel safe and taken care of in his very special way. I was lucky to experience one of his onboard performances! 🕺🏾⚡️ https://t.co/GtN1bL6bMk
— Aisha Tyler (@aishatyler) July 29, 2018
“Just wanted to let them know that I love them all!” he said as a shoutout to all his colleagues “for their love and support over the years” and to the ones who supported him from the public.
Images via Instagram / mikeytkoburry