Though fans were caught off guard, this expression is called a Zaghrouta and it pays homage to Shakira’s -- who is half Colombian and half Lebanese -- Middle Eastern roots.
A Zaghrouta, as explained by Arab America, is “best described in English as ‘ululation.’ It is a form of a long, wavering, high-pitched vocal sound representing trills of joy. It is produced by emitting a high-pitched loud voice accompanied by a rapid back and forth movement of the tongue.”
This gesture is often used by women in the Middle East and North Africa to express joy and celebration, and it's commonly used at weddings, engagement parties, and the birth of a new baby. In Shakira’s case, representing her cultures at the Super Bowl Halftime Show was a celebration of its own.
In addition to the Zaghrouta, Shak honored her Colombian heritage by dancing Champeta and Mapalé, two popular Afro-Colombian dances. Further proving her “hips don’t lie,” she also flaunted her killer belly dancing skills.
Relive the entire performance below.