Photo of the Day – November 12


A Nets Dancer

Former Timberwolves Dancer Revives Bismarck State Dance Team

britBridget Carlson has been hired by Bismarck State College to coach the Mystiques Dance Team. Carlson, a 2009 Crookston High School graduate and Minnesota State-Mankato graduate with a degree in Dance and Exercise Science, was a member of the 2014 Minnesota Timberwolves Dance Team and is employed with the Sanford Women’s Health Center.

BSC is reviving a past tradition with the dance team, which was started in the 1970s. The team will perform at BSC basketball games as well as local and regional competitions. Anyone interested in auditioning for the team can

Dallas Mavericks Dancers Perform For The First Time This Season

Former Ladies of Ontario Fury Dancer Kaylee U. Selected For The Warrior Girls

Now that the NBA season is upon us, I can officially offer congratulations to former Ladies of Ontario Fury Dancer Kaylee U. for being selected to the 2015 – 2016 Golden State Warrior Girls.

Kaylee was a member of the Anaheim Bolts Dance Team and the Ladies of Ontario Fury Dance Team. Both squads were under the direction of Lynae de Leon, who has a history of developing local dance talent that have gone on to greater challenges with such squads as the Clippers Spirit, Charger Girls, Laker Girls and now the Warrior Girls.

I was fortunate to be able to photograph her for three years before she made the jump to the NBA.












Congratulations Kaylee!

Pacemates at Pacers FanJam 2015


On October 17th, the Indiana Pacers held their traditional FanJam, a free event for the fans to see the newest edition of the team and whet their collective appetites for the upcoming season. Just like the basketball side, fans could also meet and see an on-court performance of the 2015-2016 Pacemates.

I went through the autograph line twice, and I told the Pacemates that I didn’t like how my first photographs turned out. Veteran Pacemate Arbara joked, “Did I break your camera?” No Arbara, you can bust some moves, and melt some hearts, but breaking a camera is not in the realm of possibilities.

The Pacemates are not the only dancers on FanJam day, though. The rookie Pacers have their annual dance off, in which the dance moves are generally, well, underwhelming (causing mass hilarity for the veterans) compared to their low post moves. Though rookie Joe Young’s performance to “Watch Me” exceeded expectations, the Pacemates still rule the court of dance talent.

Here are photos of this year’s FanJam:

Tai and Arbara

Tai and Arbara

Lauren and Erika

Lauren and Erika

Shelby and Brooke R

Shelby and Brooke R

Bridget and Alexis

Bridget and Alexis

Britney and Ciara

Britney and Ciara

Jordan and Kayla

Jordan and Kayla

Nici and Kendra

Nici and Kendra

Grace and Brooke O

Grace and Brooke O

Continue reading Pacemates at Pacers FanJam 2015

Cavalier Girl: Elbridge Woman Makes Cleveland NBA Team’s Dance Team

By David Wilcox

Emily Schwarting was sitting with her parents in their Elbridge home one Sunday morning this summer, waiting for a phone call.

Schwarting had graduated from Mercyhurst University in May. But when that phone call came, her father said, she was a teenage girl all over again.

“She just couldn’t sit still,” said her father, David. “All excited and shaking.”

The call came from the Cleveland Cavaliers, who told Schwarting that she had been selected to join the NBA team’s Cavalier Girls dance squad. Out of 130 women who took part in the weeklong audition, she was one of 20 who made the cut.

“I put my whole heart into wanting to be on this team,” Schwarting said in a Thursday phone interview. “It’s one of the best phone calls I’ve ever received.”

A lifetime of dance led Schwarting to the high-profile spot. She began her craft at the Center of Ballet and Dance Arts in Syracuse when she was 5, under the instruction of Deborah Boughton. Every day after school, Schwarting said, she’d be in the car by 5 p.m. for a few hours of instruction in pointe, ballet, tap and other styles. She saw herself following in the graceful footsteps of her cousin, Broadway performer Bradley Benjamin, of Skaneateles.

Going to school at Jordan-Elbridge, Schwarting would also cheerlead in middle school and play lacrosse. By the time she was in 10th grade, though, dance was all Emily had time for, David said.

“That was her love and her passion,” he said. “If she had a dance class Friday night, she wouldn’t go to the football game or the school dance.”

As Schwarting transitioned from Jordan-Elbridge to Mercyhurst in 2011, that passion withstood a pair of setbacks. The first was her Syracuse dance school’s closure in the spring of her senior year. Instead of staging their grand finale in an auditorium, Schwarting and her fellow dancers gave a hastily scheduled one at the school, David said.

The second setback came at Mercyhurst, where Schwarting landed badly after a jump, spraining her ACL and MCL and tearing her medial meniscus. She wasn’t sure she’d ever dance again, she said.

“I looked at the people around me and saw how many of them have fought through injury,” she said. “So I trained hard to get back to where I was, and it made me a better, stronger, smarter dancer.”

After Schwarting came back, she made a contact through the Mercyhurst dance program that’d set her Cavalier Girls gig in motion: Holly Anderson, coach of the dance team for NBA Development League team the Erie BayHawks. Until 2011, the team was affiliated with the Cavaliers.

Schwarting danced with the team from 2013 to 2015, adding commercial styles like hip-hop and jazz to her repertoire of concert styles. When Schwarting graduated from Mercyhurst, Anderson made her former dancer aware of the opportunity with the 2015 NBA Finalists.

“She was the one who pushed me to go further in that style,” Schwarting said. “And I had kept going west. So I thought, why not try Cleveland, Ohio?”

So far, since making the squad, Schwarting has performed with the Cavaliers for a few preseason games ahead of their Oct. 29 home opener. (The Cavalier Girls don’t travel with the team.)

Ever committed to getting better, Schwarting splits her time between the Cavalier Girls and the Dancing Wheels Company & School, which teaches the art to people with disabilities. She balances that continued practice of concert dance with prioritizing entertainment on the Quicken Loans Arena court.

“The big thing is having a smile on your face,” she said.

Schwarting hasn’t had the opportunity to meet Cavaliers star and the team’s all-time leading scorer, LeBron James, as the NBA has a no-fraternization policy, she said. However, she’s already received a warm welcome from the team’s fans at preseason games and other public appearances, she said.

“It makes you feel like you’re a mini-superstar,” she said.

“I had a father at a game the other day and he came up to me and said, ‘I’m only here because my daughter wants to watch you perform. Thanks for giving her that inspiration,'” she continued. “It takes you a step back to realize that it’s not just about basketball.”

Photo of the Day – October 12


A Phoenix Suns Dancer

Dolphin retrieves a Miami Heat dancer’s iPhone from the bottom of the ocean

By James Dunn
The Daily Mail
October 1, 2015

This is the amazing moment when a dolphin returned an iPhone to its owner after diving to the bottom of the sea to retrieve it.
Miami Heat dancer Teressa Cee had left the phone with a friend on a boat while diving with dolphins off the coast of the Bahamas, but he accidentally dropped it into the ocean.

However, dolphin Cacique saw the phone drop and dived to the bottom of the ocean to retrieve it.

The clever dolphin eventually emerged with the phone in its beak and gave it back to one of the men on the boat.

He then hands it back to bikini-clad Miss Cee, who is delighted that it had been returned from the depths.

She then shared her story with the 40,000 people who like her Facebook page, posting the video for all to see.

Miss Cee wrote: ‘True Story: While in the Bahamas, I had the opportunity to go swimming with dolphins on The Bahamas.

‘We were filming on this floating platform in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. So, against a my better judgment I asked someone to hold my phone for me and he accidentally dropped my phone into water and it sank to the bottom.

‘Cacique, the dolphin, actually retrieved my phone and brought it back up to me. Cutest thing ever!’

Teressa Cee with Dolphin

People were amazed by the video, now liked by more than 46,000 people and shared more than 20,000 times.

One viewer, James Kim, wrote: ‘Dolphins are such awesome creatures.’

Another person, Yeszteyei Masochism, wrote: ‘I watched this more than five time. Adorable.’

There were also plenty of people asking if the iPhone in the video still works after being submerged.

Clinton Ikechi wrote: ‘She said it’s never gonna work again but thanks.’

Cavalier Girls Photo Shoot


Go behind the scenes at the Cleveland Cavailer Girls photo shoot.

Photo of the Day – September 23


Charlotte Lady Cat Jordan

Former Ladies of Ontario Fury Dancer Michelle C. Selected For The Laker Girls

Congratulations to former Ladies of Ontario Fury Dancer Michelle C. for being selected to the 2015 – 2016 Laker Girls.


For the past several years, I have been fortunate to photograph this lovely dancer, first as a Anaheim Bolts Dance Team Member and for the past two years as a member of the Ladies of Ontario Fury Dance Team. I first saw her at tryouts for the Anaheim Bolts Dance Team and I knew she would be special. More recently, Michelle has been delighting fans while cheering on the Ontario Fury at the Citizens Business Bank Arena.









Under the direction of Dance Team Director Lynae de Leon, Michelle and several other members of both dance teams have blossomed and gone on to greater challenges with such squads as the Clippers Spirit, Charger Girls and now the Laker Girls.

Photo of the Day – September 4

A Laker Girl

Photo of the Day – September 3

A member of the LA Clippers Spirit

Photo of the Day – August 31


A pair of Phoenix Suns Dancers

Cavalier Girl: Neshannock resident realizes dance dream in Cleveland

Constance Richards
By Andrew Koob
New Castle News
August 29, 2015

Constance Richards took her time to try out for the Cleveland Cavaliers dance team.

It always was a dream of the Neshannock High graduate to be a Cavalier girl, but her work as a student and cheerleader at Kent State University took top priority.

It wasn’t until after Richards graduated in May from Kent State with a bachelor’s degree in marketing that she finally pushed herself to audition.

“I had thought about it for years to audition,” Richards said. “I kept putting it back, saying ‘maybe I’ll do it.’ After graduation, I didn’t know what I was doing yet and Cleveland was definitely on my top places of where I’d like to move. This was a dream of mine, I just went for it and tried it out.

“I’m really happy that I did.”

That dream was finally realized as Richards officially was named to the 2015-2016 Cavaliers dance team. She joins 19 other dance team members that not only entertain on the court, but serve as ambassadors of the organization off the court.

“When I first found out, I was definitely in shock,” Richards said. “I started screaming, I think I woke up everyone in my house. It was honestly just the greatest feeling. To just know that there were a lot of girls, a lot of obstacles and that they picked me, it was just a dream. To make that dream come true was truly amazing and it’s an big honor that I can call myself a Cleveland Cavalier girl.”

The elation of making the team continues to stay with the 22-year-old, but now the real work begins. The team already has started practicing for the upcoming season, including training camp this weekend, and continues to make public appearances.

A hectic schedule is perfect for someone as active as Richards, especially since a whirlwind summer that started when she received her degree.

“We’ve had a couple of practices already and had the opportunity to do an appearance in Canton, Ohio,” Richards said. “The season hasn’t started, but we have, and every week we have something different, which is cool.

“As a dancer, I don’t really believe in days off. Every day I like to do something, even if it isn’t with the team in Cleveland, I like to try to work out or something like that. We have a little bit of time before it starts, but I’m ready for it.”

After growing up in Neshannock Township and spending four years at Kent State, which has an enrollment was just under 30,000, Richards is looking to make a new life in a city with a population of almost 400,000.

It will be an adjustment, especially as she searches for a full-time job, but the allure of a big city adds a bonus to a dream position.

“Growing up in such a small town, then going to a big university and now to such a big city is really exciting,” Richards said. “I think it’s fun to come down to where you grew up, you get to see everyone and everything, but I love the feeling of a big city. There’s always something different and I love meeting new people. That’s why, to me, it’s a great job. I love to meet different people and socialize. Cleveland will be a good city for me.”

Richards, who started dancing and was a teacher at Ludovici Dance Academy, is a part of the family that has become well-known through Zambelli fireworks. And, while she’s appreciative of a name well-known throughout New Castle, Richards is ready to make her own mark.

“It’s great and I love that my family have such a great name in New Castle. But it’s exciting for me that I just graduated and I’m making a name for myself,” Richards said. “My family worked hard, but now it’s my time to work hard and make a name for myself. I’m really excited about it.”

The newest edition of the Cavs dance team will debut on Oct. 13 when the Cavaliers host the Milwaukee Bucks for the first home preseason game.

Until then, all Richards can do is dream about performing in front of thousands of Cleveland fans.

“When we had the preliminary auditions, they were in the arena. I kept thinking to myself that this could be where I’m performing. It was the most unreal feeling, that’s all you hope for as a dancer, to have that chance to perform in front of all of those people,” Richards said. “I feel like I’ll definitely have some nerves, but you have to be a little bit nervous. It’s a normal thing, but I think I’ll just be too excited. I picture it every day, performing in front of all of those people.”