Nuggets Dancers Team Taking Shape


Over 100 Denver Nuggets Dancers hopefuls registered to audition for the 2015-16 squad this past weekend, and the schedule was grueling as usual. After learning three dance routines, and enduring three rounds of cuts, 33 remaining finalists were invited to training camp where the audition process will continue this week.


“This is the largest training camp we have ever conducted,” Nuggets Dancers Manager Amy Jo Wagner said. “The dance judges are overwhelmed by the amount of talent this year.”

Throughout training camp, the finalists will be assessed on strength and flexibility; learn game night choreography; attend uniform fittings; and have individual professional interviews – all which will be taken into consideration during Saturday’s final selection process.

[Nuggets Dancers Finalists Gallery]

Denver Nuggets Dancers in Mexico

From the Nuggets Website:

Hola, Nuggets Nation! The Denver Nuggets Dancers are here to give you an inside look at our trip to Monterrey, Mexico! We were thrilled at the invitation to participate in an event with NBA Mexico and Coors Light. Our adventure started bright and early, meeting at Pepsi Center at 4am to carpool to DIA. After spending most of the night calling and texting my teammates in excitement for the trip and in panic of what to pack, you’d think we’d be exhausted at the airport. However, we made quite a scene jumping for joy when our bags all weighed in under 50lbs. Our journey was slightly delayed in Dallas, which actually worked in our favor because we had some time to enjoy an awesome brunch and a quick nap.


After landing in Mexico, we grabbed our luggage and headed to customs. The first thing we noticed while waiting in line was the combination of intense humidity and heat. After getting through the line, we were warmly welcomed to Mexico by our NBA contacts and headed toward the hotel. On our way, we couldn’t stop talking about how exciting this opportunity was and about the things we most wanted to do. With the sun on our faces and 10 days ahead of us, we were all smiles.

For our first full day in Mexico we chose to tour the city and see some of the local sites. Our day began by visiting the beautiful Monterrey Cathedral in the heart of downtown. The architecture and design were simple, but impeccably detailed. Our guide explained the cathedral is a highly revered place of worship in Monterrey and conducts regular masses and weddings there.

After seeing the cathedral, we went shopping in an artisan section of a local pedestrian mall called Zona Rosa. The handmade goods and crafts were stunningly beautiful and really interesting to learn about. We started to get hungry and asked our security team where the best local restaurant was for some authentic Mexican food. They suggested a place called Los Frijoles. The restaurant was full of personality and fun and the food was delicious! After a busy morning, we decided to relax a bit in the sun by the hotel pool before our kickoff event later than evening. We took a few laps, read some magazines, and then decided to start getting ready.

Our agenda for the night was the La Chamba Bar Activation Event. It was a happy hour designed and themed specifically for the NBA. Complete with a fantastic DJ, a photo session with us, and a virtual basketball game, the La Chamba Bar was fully decked in NBA posters, signs, and banners with teams from all around the league. The guests of the event were so friendly and welcoming. It has definitely been one of the highlights of our trip so far! Stayed tuned for updates on our trip from more Nuggets Dancers and follow us on Twitter @NuggetsDancers! Thanks for reading, Nuggets fans! Have a great day!

Niki :)

Put a Dancer and a Prof Together and You Just Might Come up With a Startup

By Cathy Proctor
Denver Business Journal

Many professional dancers have long needed slim, flexible, strong protective pads to protect their knees from repeated impacts on the dance floor.

Just ask a Denver Nuggets dancer.

That need has led to an innovation that, according to its inventors, could dramatically change all kinds of protective equipment, from steel-toed boots at the construction site to football helmets on the field.

Subscribe to Upstart Today for a daily jolt of startup news and powerful ideas.

“It’s a hybrid material system, HMS, which can absorb four times more energy from impacts than any other competing product in the world,” said Terry Lowe, a research professor at Colorado School of Mines’ George S. Ansell Department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering.

The patented knee pad is made of conventional foam as well as an unusual metal mesh — think steel bridge trusses crossed with a spider’s web — and a fluid that thickens upon impact, Lowe said.


And yet the pad is as soft as your cheek, flexible and thin — less than 2 millimeters in thickness, said Kady Zinke, a former professional dancer for the Nuggets who turned to Golden’s School of Mines for help inventing a pad to protect knees. She’s teamed with Lowe on the new product.

“There’s nothing else that touches it [in the protective padding world],” Lowe said.

The state last summer gave the project a $30,000 grant, via its Advanced Industries Accelerator Program, to test the concept behind the pad. Lowe says the project is close to getting another round of state funding to test whether the pad can be manufactured at one of eight potential sites in Colorado.

The two figure they’ll need a few million dollars to finish test-manufacturing runs and learn whether the pad can be manufactured profitably, but they’re not worried about coming up with that kind of money.

Lowe said he’s received calls from many potential investors, including parents whose children have been badly hurt playing sports asking if they can invest in the new pad immediately — in hopes that other children might avoid similar injuries.

The project started because Zinke and other dancers were tired of bruised, swollen knees — a routine part of a professional dancer’s life — that result from repeatedly landing on their knees on hard dance floors during practices and performances.

And the knee pads sold in sports stores or big-box stores are no help at all, Zinke said: They’re too big, too bulky, aren’t very good at absorbing the impact, and “you could barely dance in them, much less look cute.”

Zinke has her own line of dance and active wear via her company, Kadyluxe LLC, which has caught the attention of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ cheerleading squad. They asked Zinke to design new costumes for the 2014-15 football season. She also outfitted the University of Colorado Buffaloes’ dance team for the 2013-14 season.

But while the clothing line was taking off, Zinke still wanted to pursue her original vision of a protective knee pad.

So Zinke cold-called the School of Mines, and left a message for a member of Lowe’s engineering department. Her message was passed around, ultimately landing on Lowe’s desk. And he passed it off to a colleague in California.

“My first response was this is ridiculous, impossible, because they needed a designer and they wanted to be in production in a month or so,” Lowe said.

But Zinke didn’t give up.

“I was persistent and kept calling, then one day, I got a phone call back,” Zinke said.

Lowe said he’d had that “ah-hah” moment.

“I woke up one morning and said, ‘Wait, I know a way to do this.’ That was the moment of invention, figuring out that this concept would work,” Lowe said.

He’d figured out a basic problem with pads based on foams, that when they’re hit in one area the impact causes them to bulge in another area — like pushing on a balloon with a finger.

Lowe said he realized that adding a network of metal strands to the foam would allow the pad to absorb more energy and stiffen into a protective pad.

“Part of the reason they can be thin is that it doesn’t matter where you hit it, the entire pad works to absorb the energy,” he said.

“And it’s soft, as soft as your cheek if you push on it slowly. But it you push fast it stiffens,” Lowe said.

And this new pad isn’t limited to protecting dancer’s knees.

It can be used in a football helmet, making it smaller and lighter. Something as light and small as the old leather football helmets used decades ago could be as strong as modern-day helmets, Lowe said.

“We think it’s possible to create something close to your head — 2 millimeters thick — that stiffens up like the shell of the helmet, maybe even stiffer,” he said.

Then there’s steel-toed boots, and other protective padding that workers need. And sheets of cloth that can protect priceless artwork from damage during transport.

Even ski jackets could incorporate the new pad, something Lowe — who said he was nursing his sixth cracked rib from a skiing injury — wishes was already on the market.

“The manufacturing is everything,” Lowe said.

“The concept works. The question is can you manufacture it cost-effectively and can you do it cost-effectively in Colorado? We’re not going to take this offshore. We don’t want to lose control of this,” he said.

2014-15 Nuggets Dancers Auditions Begin On Saturday, July 19!

Perform at Denver Nuggets home games in front of 19,000 fans per game.
Travel nationally and internationally for our annual calendar shoot, dance conventions, and NBA appearances.
Choreograph for the best dance team in the NBA.
Participate in community service projects.
Inspire young dancers through the DND Juniors program.
Perform at multiple events throughout the year.
Perform for national television audiences.
Receive benefits from multiple sponsors including hair styling, tanning, waxing services, gym and yoga memberships, and cosmetic dentistry.
Get paid for doing what you love while making lifelong friends!

Audition Requirements:

be at least 18 years of age or 17 years of age with a parent or guardian present to sign a waiver on the participant’s behalf
hold a high school diploma or equivalent education
wear a cropped top, fitted shorts or dance skirt, and shoes with non-marking soles
submit non-returnable 8” x 10” headshot
submit a dance resume including any previous dance teams, classes or workshops, current employment and training, educational background, and 3 professional references
complete and submit the 2014 DND Audition Registration Form and the 2014 Liability Waiver & Release.
live in the Denver area and have reliable transportation to and from all DND practices and at least 80% of the home games in the Denver Nuggets 2014-15 season (schedule TBD).

2014-15 Audition Details

Prep Class Information

Frequently Asked Questions

If you would like to receive email updates with the latest DND audition news, please email DND Manager Amy Jo Wagner at

Nuggets Dancer Kaila Represented Her Squad at the NBA All-Star Game

The three-year veteran strikes a pose in New Orleans. Photo from the Nuggets Dancers Facebook page.

[Nuggets Dancers on Facebook]

[Kalia at the Nuggets Dancers Website]

(I can’t find a comprehensive list of members of the All-Star Team. If you know who made the squad, please let us know.)

Nuggets Dancer Update

The Denver Nuggets website has been updated with lots of new dance team content, including bios, videos, and photo galleries. Click here to check it out!

LOVE the new outfits.
(Ignore the levitation)

My favorite is the fun gallery :-)

2013-14 Denver Nuggets Dancers

Auditions are over and the Nuggets have selected 18 dancers to this year’s squad. Congratulations, ladies!
Click here to see who made the team, and click here for audition pics, and individividual photos of the finalists in this wicked-cute little yellow number. Werk!

Nuggets Dancers Auditions

Over 100 Nuggets Dancers hopefuls were whittled down to 27 remaining finalists over the past three days at Pepsi Center. The grueling weekend included learning two sets of choreography, a day of interviews, a photo shoot and a Choreography Showcase.

[Nugget Dancers Open Call Gallery]

[DND Finalists Gallery]

Extra Time: One on One with Denver Nuggets Dance Director Amy Jo Wagner

By Mike Martinez
303 Magazine

She wanted them prepared. If George Karl’s boys were going to bring the playoffs back to the Pepsi Center, her girls were going to give a damn good show. By now the wound from the Nuggets early postseason exit has scabbed over, but when Denver Nuggets dance manager Amy Jo Wagner welcomed 303 Magazine to her team’s (then unknown) final practice, she had her girls rehearsing as if their performance was imminent.

The wood floor in the studio room at Forza Fitness rumbled with steps completely in-sync. Blonde, brown and black locks of hair whooshed through the air in the same direction, hands slapped thighs simultaneously and all to the perfect synchronization of Amy Jo’s counting. Well, perfect at least to a novice.

“I have a feeling we should do this on more time. So turn your brain on girls,I want to get home and watch the game” Amy Jo said as her team finished a routine that fell short of her approval.

I couldn’t spot a single flaw–perhaps because I was slightly mesmerized by the array of powder blue and yellow– but Amy Jo demands a great deal from her girls and knows exactly what she wants.

From the top- She turns the music on to cue game speed- her team snaps into formation and begins the routine. Crouched down with calculated concentration, her hands folded in front of her and somehow watching every move of every dancer, Amy Jo reminds me of a coach I had who terrified me. He saw everything. Nothing slips past Amy Jo either. After a routine she was finally happy with, Amy stepped away from practice for a moment to sit down with 303.

Dance wasn’t always in the cards. Amy Jo didn’t even start until she was 15 years old, and from her own recollection, had a bad attitude. At first she wouldn’t let coaches tell her anything without some sass. But she kept on dancing and soon fell in love with the performance aspect and dance and discipline became second nature.

She is everything you might come to expect from a dance manager in the NBA- precise, punctual and yes, very pretty. Though one thing that might catch you by surprise is her love for math. Algebra, trigonometry and calculus; nauseating terms for a writer, comforting words for Amy Jo Wagner.

“I have two passions in life. Music and math,” she said. “ I’ve just always liked having one right answer.”

Before moving to Denver to start this dream job with the Nuggets, Amy Jo was living out another fantasy as a high school math teacher in Arizona. I know, I know, I wish she was my math teacher too. She was in a comfy spot in life, albeit hectic. Dancing simultaneously for three different Arizona teams, (Phoenix Suns, Phoenix Mercury and the Arizona Rattlers) teaching high school math and having just bought a new home, Amy Jo thought her fairy-tale would play out in the desert. A job opening with the Denver Nuggets would change all that.

In 2008, on her birthday, Amy Jo quit her job as a math teacher and swapped it for dance life in the NBA. After a heartfelt goodbye from her school, she still gets emotional reminiscing about her time as a teacher. She received nothing but support from her staff and students, yet at times can’t help but feel that she ‘let them down.’ After turningdown the job initially, Amy Jo wasn’t going to let the Nuggets down.

With Denver as her adoptive home, this Kerkhoven, Minn. native has settled in quite nicely. Amy Jo has a 1 year old daughter with a loving boyfriend. Though coming from a small town, she admits there is some pressure from home to get married, which she says is not in the works any time soon. ”All that matters is we have a happy household,” she said with a smile.

Balancing out her busy schedule, Amy Jo spends her leisure practicing yoga and being with her daughter. And though free-time is not something in great abundance, she tries to make as much time as she can for each of her dancers and get to know them on a more personal level.

“I consider them a family, and building a personal relationship with them makes the season that much easier,” she said.

She makes it a point to sit down over coffee and just talk with each of her girls, and from an onlookers perspective her team is a very cohesive unit–her coffee dates must be working. Amy Jo is far from that terrifying coach I knew, her standards are high, but she is only there to help her team reach them. She leaves her ego at the door and explains that her job is not a “look at me” position. She is not there to run a tyrannical campaign either, she just wants to be a part of the team and earn the girls’ respect by being a good role model.

[Denver Nuggets Dancers] NBA

Sports Illustrated has posted a collection of NBA dance team photos from the last week. The gallery includes teams from the Phoenix Suns, Chicago Bulls, Boston Celtics, Memphis Grizzlies, Denver Nuggets, Detroit Pistons, Philadelphia 76ers, Golden State Warriors, Orlando Magic, and Dallas Mavericks. Click here to check it out!

Congratulations 2012-13 Denver Nuggets Dancers

[Meet the 2012-13 Denver Nuggets Dancers]

Get Read for Denver Nuggets Dancers Auditions

Nuggets Dancers Audition Requirements:

Participants must:

be at least 18 years of age or 17 years of age with a parent or guardian present to sign a waiver on the participant’s behalf
hold a high school diploma or equivalent education
wear a cropped top, fitted shorts or dance skirt, and shoes with non-marking soles
submit non-returnable headshot (at least 5×7; does not need to be professional but must be clear and contain only the audition participant)
submit a dance resume including any previous dance teams, classes or workshops, current employment and training, educational background, and 3 references
complete and submit the 2012 DND Audition Registration Form and the 2012 Liability Waiver & Release.
professional looking hair and makeup are encouraged
live in the Denver area and have reliable transportation to and from all Nuggets home games and practices

2012 Audition Schedule*

Friday, August 3: Preliminary Auditions
Registration: 5:30-6:30pm
Semi-Finalists Announced: 10:30pm
Saturday, August 4:Semi-Finalists Interviews & Photo Shoot
Individual Interview/Photo Shoot Times: 10am – 4pm (assigned at the conclusion of the Preliminary Auditions)
Sunday, August 5: Choreography Showcase / Semi-Finals
Registration: 12pm
Finalists Announced: 3:30pm
Training Camp: August 7-16, 2012
Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 7-10:30pm

* Audition schedule subject to change.
Chelsea Denver Nuggets Dancer – Ellwood

Preliminary Auditions:
All participants are required to submit a headshot and resume and wear a half top and fitted shorts or skirt at the preliminary audition. The preliminary round will consist of multiple sets of choreography; including jazz, pom, and hip hop styles. Dancers will audition in small groups in front of a panel of judges before each around of cuts are made. Dancers making it through the preliminary auditions will be asked to return the next day for an individual interview and photo shoot in a DND uniform, and, on Sunday, for the Choreography Showcase / Semi-finals.

Individual Interviews & Photo Shoot:
Semi-finalists will be asked to attend an individual interview with a panel of judges on the second day of the audition process. Dancers are encouraged to wear business attire with professional hair and make-up to their 10-minute interview, which will be held at the Pepsi Center (location subject to change). Dancers are responsible for their own parking and should arrive 10 minutes prior to their interview time for check-in.

Immediately following the interview, each semi-finalist will have the opportunity to pose for photos in a Nuggets Dancers uniform with team photographer Garrett Ellwood. Uniform and boots will be provided at the photo shoot, but dancers are responsible for all personal articles including pantyhose.

Choreography Showcase & Semi-Finals:
On the third day of auditions, each dancer will each present their own 45-60 second piece of choreography in front of each other and a panel of judges. The music and style of choreography is left to the dancer’s discretion. Any costumes or props used in the choreography must have non-marking pads to protect the floor. The semi-final dance audition will consist of each dancer performing the material learned on the first day of auditions. The dancers who will be asked to attend training camp will be announced at the end of the day.

Training Camp:
Training camp will be held August 7-16, 2012 on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 7-10:30pm. Details of the training camp will be made available after the finalists are announced on Day 3 of the auditions. All dates of the training camp are mandatory.

Prep Classes: Attire left to dancer’s discretion (half tops and fitted bottoms are recommended). All dancers must wear non-marking soles.
Prelims: Cropped dance top / sports bra and fitted shorts or skirt. You will not be allowed to audition in jeans or dance pants. Dance sneakers or jazz shoes are recommended, but not required.
Semi-Finalist Interviews: Professional business attire.
Choreography Showcase: Any dance wear or costume appropriate for the choreography presented.
Semi-Finals: Same guidelines as prelims.
Training Camp: Black dance shorts and black sports bra. Dance sneakers or jazz shoes are recommended, but not required.

[Nuggets Dancers Auditions]

Denver Nuggets Dancer Brings Athleticism to the Arena

By Aaron J. Lopez

NBA dancers spend countless hours in the gym and perform difficult physical routines with impeccable timing.

The demands are more pronounced at Pepsi Center, where the Denver Nuggets Dancers must execute their routines at 5,280 feet and then return to the court a few minutes later looking as though they just took a leisurely stroll along the beach.

It raises the question: Are dancers athletes?

In the case of rookie Denver Nuggets Dancer Ashlee, the answer is an unequivocal yes.

Her dad ran track and cross-country at New Mexico State University, her brother played football at the University of New Mexico and her sister ran cross-country for the Lobos.

As for the 22-year-old Ashlee, she has spent about half her life on the basketball court, the softball field, the volleyball court and the ski slopes. In her youth, she also dabbled in golf, gymnastics, swimming and racquetball.

“It’s a long list,” she said. “My parents were both very athletic, so they put us in sports at an early age.”

Despite standing just 5-foot-1, Ashlee has a vertical leap that enabled her to play the front row for her high school volleyball team, and she takes pride in the fact that she once dunked a basketball on an 8-foot rim. The skills transfer to her craft as a dancer.

“Being so athletic has helped with dance a lot,” she said. “My legs are superstrong from playing all those sports. In dance, that really helps me a lot.”

Ashlee grew up in Albuquerque but always wanted to live in Denver after visiting the city when she was about 11 years old. After spending three years dancing for the New Mexico Thunderbirds of the NBA Development League, she joined the Colorado Mammoth dance team – the Wild Bunch – for the 2011 National Lacrosse League season.

When the Nuggets held dance auditions in the summer, Ashlee made a smooth transition from the artificial turf back to the hardwood.

“Ashlee’s extensive dance and performance background were apparent throughout her season with the Wild Bunch and at the Nuggets Dancers auditions this summer,” Denver Nuggets Dancers coordinator and choreographer Amy Jo Wagner said. “She is very comfortable in front of a crowd and handling the rigorous schedule of the DND, which made her an excellent rookie candidate for the team.”

Ashlee’s professional success as a dancer was hardly foreshadowed when she joined the Duke City Stars studio in Albuquerque. As a gangly 10-year-old, she started later than most accomplished dancers and her own instructor was skeptical about her prospects.

“I was horrible,” Ashlee said. “My coach tells everyone, ‘If Ashlee can dance, anyone can,’ because I was so bad.”

Ashlee eventually found her rhythm and juggled a full schedule of school, sports and dance all the way through her high school graduation. She enrolled at the University of New Mexico and is currently taking on-line classes as she works toward a degree in communications.

Ashlee would like to attend nursing school, which is fitting considering the aches and pains she has endured as a result of her active lifestyle.

The injuries include multiple sprained ankles, a hyperextended, dislocated and broken right elbow, a separated left shoulder, sprained AC joints in both shoulders, wrist surgery and a torn calf muscle.

Talented and athletic, Ashlee has persevered through it all to reach her goal of becoming a Denver Nuggets Dancer.

The hardest part might be staying healthy enough to prove to everyone that dancers are indeed athletes.

Accountant by Day, Denver Nuggets Dancer by Night

By Aaron J. Lopez

The misperceptions of an NBA dancer are incalculable.

Few people know this better than Denver Nuggets Dancer Jessica. After all, when it comes to crunching numbers, she can calculate just about anything.

While talk of amortization, balance sheets and zero-based budgeting would make the average person’s head spin, it is a way of life for Jessica in her job as an accountant for Vail Resorts.

“I love accounting, which is so odd,” she said. “Ever since I was little, my dad and I have been doing math problems. All the numbers just always made sense to me.”

Jessica, 24, joined Vail Resorts almost immediately after graduating from the Metro State School of Business last spring. Working out of the company’s Broomfield office, she has found a nice balance with her practice schedule with the Nuggets dancers.

“I know how lucky I am to have two awesome jobs,” she said. “They are both things I love and they balance each other out.”

Jessica first joined the Nuggets dance team in 2008-09 but spent the following season focusing on earning her accounting degree. The year away from the team gave her a better appreciation for the thrill and excitement of being part of an NBA game.

“When the lights go down and we’re standing under the basket, I still get chills,” she said. “My eyes tear up. There are thousands of girls all over the country who want to do this, and I get to do it. That is still so unreal to me. I’m very blessed.”

There can be a fine line between blessed and embarrassed.

During her first season with team, Jessica felt like hiding when she looked into the Pepsi Center crowd and noticed four oversized cardboard signs spelling out J-E-S-S. Her teammates were puzzled, thinking the Nuggets had signed a new player. It turned out to be a proud father paying tribute to his daughter.

“My parents have never missed a game,” Jessica said. “It’s awesome.”

Though born in Colorado, Jessica grew up in the three-stoplight town of Newton, Kan. Her only experience on the basketball court was brief and forgettable. While playing on a YMCA girls basketball team in third grade, she walked off the court when the referee mistook her for a boy because of her short haircut.

“I never played basketball again,” she said. “I literally set the ball down and said, ‘I’m done.’ I was scarred forever.”

Jessica found comfort through dance, and there’s never a case of mistaken identity when she and her teammates make dozens of community appearances every season.

“It’s amazing to see how excited people get – kids and adults,” she said. “If I was to go in regular street clothes, nobody would care. To see the impact that the uniform has, it’s incredible. To have that power, it would be silly not to use it, so we do as many community events as we can. It’s so rewarding.”

The impact, you might say, is incalculable. Even for an accountant.

[Jessica’s Gallery at]

Nuggets dancer takes rural route in journey to NBA

By Aaron J. Lopez

When your dad is a world champion steer wrestler and your knees are scarred from sliding into second base, it’s hard to envision a future on an NBA dance team.

Not only did a Longmont farm girl become a Denver Nuggets Dancer, but she enters her fourth season as the longest-tenured member of the team.

“I didn’t ever think I could be a cheerleader because they look almost untouchable in the public eye,” Krista said before a practice at Forza Fitness and Performance Club. “I was like, ‘I could never be one of those’ It never crossed my mind that was something I could do.”

Krista, who started dancing at a studio at age 3, became a Nuggets dancer in 2008-09 and fell in love with the job as the Nuggets advanced to the Western Conference finals for the first time in 24 years.

“For that to be my first year, it couldn’t have gotten any better,” she said. “I hadn’t really been to many Nuggets game before. Once you get to go to a game and sit on the court, I’m a huge basketball fan now.”

View Krista’s Photo Gallery

With her dad competing on the rodeo circuit in the 1980s, Krista was a self-described tomboy while growing up in rural Colorado. She was interested in competing herself, but her mom wouldn’t allow it because of the inherent dangers associated with roping, riding and interacting with various livestock.

Other sports helped fill the void, but dance was always Krista’s No. 1 passion.

She helped her studio, Dance Dimensions, win a national title in high school, but she wasn’t sure what the next step would be as she studied marketing at Colorado State University. Krista spent two years with the Eagle Chicks, the dance team for minor-league hockey’s Colorado Eagles, before making the move to the Nuggets.

“I planned on quitting dance after high school,” she said. “I didn’t want to go out to Los Angeles. I’m a family girl. I want to be around my family.”

Even staying close to home had its challenges. While going to school in Fort Collins, Krista spent the past three NBA seasons commuting to games and practices in Denver. Depending on the Nuggets’ schedule, she could make five or six trips along I-25 every week.

“People definitely don’t realize how hard we work,” she said. “They also think we do it to get somewhere else. They ask if I’m doing it to meet the players or become a model or get into show business. That’s not the case with the Nuggets. I’ve never done it to be on TV or hang out with the players. I already have my degree in marketing. I would love to go into marketing.”

In a difficult economy, Krista is content to dance for the Nuggets and provide leadership for a squad that features nine rookies among its 17 women.

“I definitely feel the most seasoned on the team,” she said. “I still think it’s fun to do this, but I take it a little more seriously because I’ve invested so much of my time. I’m very proud of it. A lot of the girls think it’s more for fun, but I remind them that it’s serious.”

From the first day of tryouts each summer, Krista goes out of her way to welcome perspective teammates. She gives them her e-mail address and phone number and encourages them to contact her if they need any advice that might help them succeed.

“Krista continues to be a solid team member and an excellent course of positive energy for the group,” said Denver Nuggets Dancers coordinator and choreographer Amy Jo Wagner. “Each season she takes on the responsibility of welcoming rookies onto the team and ensuring that all her teammates feel supported and appreciated throughout the year.”

Knowing that she can work in marketing at any age, Krista plans on dancing for the Nuggets as long as possible. In addition to the games, the 24-year-old enjoys the camaraderie of her teammates and the community work that helps make a difference in people’s lives.

During community appearances, some people are surprised to find out that the women in the Nuggets dance outfits are the same ones who perform entertaining routines during games at the Pepsi Center.

As a farm girl from Longmont, Krista sometimes can’t believe it herself.