Topekan on LA Clippers dance team to be featured on new docuseries

(Photo by Juan Ocampo/LA Clippers via Bernstein Associates, Inc.)

Taylor Clark, Washburn Rural High School graduate, moved to LA in 2013
By Katie Moore
The Topeka Capital-Journal
January 17, 2016

A native Topekan will be featured on a new docuseries premiering on E! network this spring.

Taylor Clark, a dancer for the Los Angeles Clippers, will be part of the show titled “L.A. Clippers Dance Squad.”

“I’m excited to see how (the show) will come out and how it will all be put together,” she said.

Clark graduated from Washburn Rural High School in 2012 and attended Kansas State University for a year. Though college was a positive experience, she opted to put school on hold and pursue her dancing dream. Her parents, Bruce and Cindy Clark, were supportive of the decision.

In July 2013, Clark headed to Los Angeles. Moving was “one of the greatest risks I’ve ever taken,” she said. However it’s been rewarding, Clark said, as she has gotten to learn a lot about herself and make new friends.

In California, she began seeking out opportunities, going on auditions and castings and finding some success in getting booked. Additionally, a dance agency picked her up.

In July 2015, she auditioned for the L.A. Clippers’ Spirit Dance Team. Filming for the docuseries began at the audition. The cameras followed the prospective dancers as they progressed through the process — from auditions, interviews, selection, practices and performances at games.

Clark said the show is an inside look of what it is like to be an NBA dancer, from the hard work that goes into the job to some of the members’ personal lives.

At first, Clark said, it was weird to have cameras around so much and to always be hooked up to a microphone. But it is something she has gotten more used to.

Being a dancer on the team has presented some challenges and special opportunities. The coach of the team has changed up the style of dancing — in the past, there were cheerleader-type routines. They now are incorporating “industrial dance,” which has more of an urban and hip-hop approach. Clark said the change hopefully will let fans see that they are “not just pretty cheerleaders,” but athletes.

The dancers practice on Sundays and Mondays and before each game, arriving before the basketball players on game day. It is more commitment than people assume, she said.

At times, extra rehearsals are necessary to ensure the team has the choreography down.

“There’s a great team atmosphere,” she said.

Clark has had the opportunity to travel on the squad, performing in many parts of the U.S. and in China and Taiwan.

“It’s been an incredible experience,” Clark said. “It’s so much fun.”

In February, Clark — who was named a co-captain — will travel to Toronto for the NBA All-Star Game. Only one dancer from each of the NBA’s basketball teams was chosen to participate.

A date for the debut of the eight-episode series hasn’t been set, but Clark said she expects it will be sometime in March.

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