Everyone Has a Story: A Local Nets’ Dancer
By Scott Cronick
Atlantic City Press
Jen Raftery may have the coolest part-time job ever.
Like most 20-year-old college students, the Ocean City native goes to her classes and does plenty of studying as a communications major at Pace University in New York City.
But when she boards the bus to New Jersey for work, it’s to perform in front of thousands of people as a member of the New Jersey Nets dance team.
Raftery, whose parents, Thomas and Suzanne, reside in Ocean City, did some acting and singing in high school and took dance lessons at The Dance Place of Ocean City. After getting the performance bug, she decided to audition for the New York Knicks two years ago, but she wasn’t chosen.
She did, however, become a member of the dance team for the former New York Titans in the National Lacrosse League. So when NBA dance tryouts came around again, she auditioned for the Nets’ team, competing against 300 other women and securing one of 15 spots on the team.
“There is some intense competition,” said Raftery, the youngest member on the team who wants to work in the broadcast business after graduation, possibly as a casting director. “I absolutely love it. It’s like nothing I’ve ever done before. The dancing is fun, but it’s also extremely challenging. Between school and this, it’s a little overwhelming. But I would do it if I didn’t get paid. The money helps, though, It’s sure better than being a waitress or something like that.”