ALEXANDRIA, Va. — They called it "random dancing" but First Lady Michelle Obama broke out some moves that resembled subdued variations of "the Monkey" or "the Jerk" Friday during an appearance at a northern Virginia high school.
A screaming, raucous auditorium filled with elementary and middle school students greeted Obama and the cast of the Nickelodeon TV show "iCarly" at Hayfield Secondary School in Fairfax County.
The appearance promoted an upcoming episode featuring Obama in which she thanks military families for their sacrifices. On the show, star Miranda Cosgrove plays the daughter of an Air Force colonel deployed overseas.
A staple of the show is a segment of random dancing, which Obama performed both in the episode that premieres Monday and on stage Friday.
Obama's dance moves drew plaudits from the "iCarly" cast.
"I think she showed everybody up in the dance department," said Jennette McCurdy, who plays Samantha on the show.
The onstage dance session Friday lasted only a minute or so, far less than the extended dance session Obama did last year when visiting Deal Middle School in the District, when she joined students doing "the Dougie" and "The Running Man" in a clip that has been viewed more than 4 million times on YouTube.
Her acting skills also drew praise. The cast was impressed with Obama's ability to deliver her lines in the compressed time they had to shoot the scenes.
"She has good comic timing in real life, too," Cosgrove said.
Obama said she watches the show with her daughters, and wanted to appear because it dovetails with her campaign to support and recognize military families. Last year, Obama went to northern Virginia to deliver the commencement address at the high school on Quantico Marine Corps Base.
Hayfield, few miles south of the Pentagon, was chosen in part because it is home to large numbers of military children.
During a question-and-answer session with students, Obama drew a handful of playful boos when she was asked about school lunches and talked about legislation she and her husband supported to add more vegetables to the school lunch program.
Taking note of the reaction, she said, "But this is for you all. ... It's hard to do what you do if you're not healthy."
She concluded with a simple admonition: "Eat your vegetables."
She also handled other student questions:
— Asked what super power she wished she could have, she said, "You know what? I've always wanted to fly. When I was young, I used to always have dreams about flying."
—Her favorite room in the White House? The Yellow Oval Room, which opens up to the Truman balcony. "It's one of the few places the president can walk outside and be by himself," she said.
—Her favorite TV shows? Besides "iCarly," Mrs. Obama said, "we watch all kinds of things. We try not to have too much TV time during the week, though."