The Denver Nuggets recently held their auditions for their 2016-2017 Denver Nugget Dancers and they have posted squad photos on their web site. Let’s meet the new team.
Sabrina joined the team last year for her first season as a 2015-16 Denver Nuggets Dancer.
As the youngest of six children, she has a variety of nicknames; Sab, Sabs, Sabrinas, Sabe, Sabey, Sabre, Sabretooth, Brina, Sabribri, but to her Dad, she’s known as Orange.
The Temecula, California native made her way to the Rocky Mountains to attend Colorado State University in Fort Collins where she graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies and a minor in Sociology.
“I have always been really adventurous and love going out of my comfort zone,” said Sabrina. “I am extremely close to my family and relied on them, but I knew I needed to grow as a person and be independent. After high school, I decided I wanted to go to college out of state, I ended up attending Colorado State University. After I visited the school, it automatically felt like home.”
Sabrina, or Orange, was a member of the CSU Golden Poms team for four years. As an undergraduate, her leadership and positive energy earned her the honorable “Mood Changer Award” her sophomore year and the team captain title her senior year.
“The coach recognizes a team member who brightens the mood of the team when times can get stressful, or discouraging. I love being positive and encouraging my teammates, it’s always been normal for me to do, so when I received the award it was a sweet surprise,” Sabrina said. “Knowing that my coach and teammates saw me as a leader on the team meant a lot to me.”
Her ambitious spirit has been dancing since she was barely able to walk (even dancing down grocery store aisles with her Mom!), but performing in front of a large crowd wasn’t always as seamless as it is now.
“I have been dancing since the age of two. All my older sisters did it so my mom stuck me in it, too! My earliest memory of dance is actually my first dance recital when I was three.” Sabrina jokingly recalled, “I cried for my mom the entire time I was on stage.”
Sabrina is an incredibly well-rounded dancer. She is not only trained in hip-hop and tap, but also in jazz, contemporary, modern, ballet, lyrical and even musical theater. Her diverse set of footwork matched by her adept leadership skills makes this performer an integral member of the DND.
“I love so many things about being a DND!” She exclaims. “I love the opportunity to learn from my teammates and to have the ability to push myself to not only be a better dancer, but to be a better person. I also love that I am able to fulfill my dreams of becoming a professional dancer and the opportunity to dance for the best fans in the NBA! Lastly, I love the friendships and individual relationships I’ve built with each one of my beautiful teammates!”
Although she has been dancing for nearly her entire life, she will never forget performing in front of the Denver Nuggets fans for the first time.
“My favorite memory thus far being a DND is without a doubt the Home Opener, which was my first game representing the Denver Nuggets. I just remember standing there with my hand over my heart during the National Anthem thinking, I can’t believe I’m here, my dream has come true. I felt very emotional, but was in front of thousands of fans so I had to keep it together!”
[Sabrina on Twitter]
[Sabrina’s Photo Gallery]
This Salt Lake City, UT native has made Denver, Colorado her home for the second year in a row as a Denver Nuggets Dancer.
Alisha, or Lecie Bug, has been dancing since a very young age, showcasing her natural talent since she was a mere 8-years old.
“My first day of dance class my teacher asked if I could do the splits, I remember being so excited because I could! I dropped right down into my center splits with a giant smile on my face.”
Her life has revolved around dance, earning her many impressive awards and recognitions over the years. Several of her outstanding achievements include Utah Valley University Dance and Leadership Scholarship, Utah Valley University- 2nd place at NDA Nationals 2011, Urban Talents best dancer award at Miss Utah Pageant 2011, Several Queen titles, Stars Regional and National Champion 2000-2010, AFL Dream Team Finalist 2012, Angela King Designs Model Search top 10 finalist 2015, Duke of Edinburgh Life Style Award 2015, and Miss Colorado 2nd runner up 2015.
Outside of her skills during Nuggets home games, you can find this accomplished performer teaching jazz, jazz funk, a sassy heels class for adults, hip hop to ages 10-12 year olds and even assisting Coloradans to find new homes as a leasing agent.
Although Alisha’s days are jam-packed with activities, she still saves time to spend with her comical kitty, Prince Reginald.
“Prince Reginald (my cat) used to sit on my shoulder like a parrot when he was a kitten. I could walk around with him just sitting up there; he is much, much bigger now.”
Through thick and thin, this dancer stays true to her passions and lives by the quote, “Remember who you are and what you stand for!”
[Alisha on Twitter]
by Alyssa Romeo
January 14, 2016
Becca, who is in her fifth season with the Denver Nuggets Dancers, has been selected as one of the elite members of the 2016 NBA All-Star Dance Team in Toronto.
“I’m just super honored and very excited to be able to represent our team,” Becca said.
The All-Star Dance Team is determined through a peer nomination and voting process. With over 600 girls across the nation currently holding a position on an NBA dance team roster, one dancer is selected from each of the teams, leaving just 30 spots for the best-of-the-best from each city.
“Becca was the Nuggets Dancers’ top choice for the All-Star Dance Team position,” said Amy Jo Wagner, Manager of the Denver Nuggets Dance Team. “The dancers each voted for their top three candidates to recommend to the NBA for the position. Becca was nominated over and over again because she is such a great representation for our team.”
Becca will be the face of the Denver Nuggets Dance team during one of the most highly viewed professional sporting events of the year. Her advanced dance techniques and uncanny ability to master and perform choreography during a short period of time will be some of her biggest assets during all-star training, but they won’t be the only strengths this DND will bring to Toronto.
Amy Jo stresses the importance of both Becca’s skill and attitude when approaching the annual mid-season exhibition game.
“Dancers selected for the All-Star Dance Team will need to learn several routines in a short period of time. They will have limited time to receive feedback from the coach and to rehearse with their teammates. The pressure and stress will no doubt get to the ladies throughout the week. Becca is calm in stressful situations; she doesn’t take things too seriously and will probably be the teammate that keeps the mood light during the All-Star events, just like she does here at home.”
Becca will take her talent and positive attitude to Toronto alongside her interim teammates who will all be representing their NBA affiliates at various functions throughout the week leading up to the All-Star game. Activities will include charity appearances, in-game routines, autograph signings, and the opportunity to be a back-up dancer for several of the nominated recording artists.
The All-Star weekend is Feb. 12-14, with the All-Star Celebrity Game on Friday; the skills challenge, the slam dunk contest and three-point contest on Saturday; and the official NBA All-Star game on Sunday.
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]
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!
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.
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“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.
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!
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 email@example.com.
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.)
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 🙂
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!
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]
By Mike Martinez
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]
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!