Game Day with The Brooklynettes (And Nets Kids)

Some technical difficulties with these photos explains why they are so delayed.


Brooklynettes Coach Adar Wllington and Nets Director of  Entertainment Marketing Kimberlee Garris

Brooklynettes fun photo

Captains Siobahn and Jessica

The Nets Kids – These kids are the real deal. They can move. And most, if not all, already have agents. You’ll probably be seeing them in movies, tv  and Broadway in the years to come.

[Brooklynettes Gallery]

[Brooklynettes Website]

Our Favorite Photos – A Hollywood Legend

This month is our Tenth Anniversary and to celebrate we’re posting some of our all-time favorite photos.

April 11th
Actor Ernest Borgnine at the 2011 Philadelphia Sixers Dancers Finals

Okay, a change of pace today. Yes it’s Commander McHale himself at the Chickie’s & Pete’s in South Philadelphia at Sixers Dancers Auditions. Mr Borgnine had a lady friend who lived in the Philadelphia-region and so was a constant fixture in the area in the years before his death. A great actor and a good man.

Our Favorite Photos – Wizard Girls Calendar Shoot

This month is our Tenth Anniversary and to celebrate we’re posting some of our all-time favorite photos.

April 10th
Angela in Ocean City

In 2008 the Washington Wizard Girls Director Jessica was late in her pregnancy and advised by her physician not to fly. So she chose Ocean City, Maryland for the location for the squad’s calendar shoot. She was kind enough to invite me down for a day, and I got to rare opportunity to go behind the scenes and see how the calendar gets put together. Plus I got some great photos! Above is Wizard Girl Angela in a cabana at the Party Block Pool Bar.

Brick Native Among Brooklyn Nets Dance Team That’s Dazzling Crowds

Dance team talks performances, Nets basketball and Jay-Z
Daniel Nee (Editor)
Brick Patch
April 3, 2014

My9 New Jersey

Brooklyn, New York (My9NJ) – While many fans are focused on the Brooklyn Nets hard efforts during their playoff season, another team is gearing up to perform their hearts out for future home games. At the Barclay’s Center, home of the Brooklyn Nets, the Nets Dance team is putting everything on the table and perfecting their dance routines to put on an unforgettable performance throughout the teams basketball season. Two team members, who are native to New Jersey, sat down and talked about their efforts to engage the crowd every time the Nets play at the Barclays.

Amanda Robinson and Alexa Kobylarz, born in Piscataway and Brick, New Jersey respectfully, both come from ballet backgrounds and do everything they can in order to bring-it on the dance floor.

“This season, I have to say it’s been amazing. We’ve really come out the gate strong and it’s been so exciting,” Kobylarz said.

The girls perform at almost every home game and they have an unlikely fan in hip-hop mogul Jay-Z. The New Jersey natives talked about their celebrity supporter and how they even got to perform for him and wife Beyonce!

“We’ve seen him sitting courtside him with Beyoncé, she’s fabulous sitting there, and you know, they’re here to see the entertainment, so it’s a really an awesome experience to perform in front of them,” Robinson said.

With this dance team being only a part time endeavor, it’s wonderful to acknowledge the dedication these women have to perform for others while also doing the thing that they love. If you want to catch the Brooklyn Nets Dance team perform their awesome routines, you can see them at the next Barclay Center home game against Detroit.

The Nets Advantage

The Brooklynettes dance team has pioneered a diversity of techniques and outreach efforts that blends Brooklyn Nets and NBA brand ambassador and performance artist

By Matt Scanlon
Industry Magazine

In what is generally considered to be cheerleading’s founding days, Princeton University recruited students and players in 1877 to shout synchronized cheers at both baseball and football games, and adolescent males (of all ages) will be at once fascinated (and possibly depressed) to note that cheerleading was generally an all-male activity, from then until the early years of the 20th century. During World War II, however, men were simply not available to act as sideline boosters (or players, in most instances), so cheering quickly became almost universally female dominated—both at the high school and college levels—and today, approximately 97% of all cheerleading participants are female.

The true marketing genius behind evolving this tradition beyond occasional if enthusiastic athleticism into true choreographed performance came at the hand of Dallas Cowboys manager Tex Schramm, who realized in 1969 that he should form a squad dressed in provocative fashion, a plan that both wildly multiplied Cowboys ticket sales and generated an institution of fascination and sex appeal that continues unbroken to this day.

One thing that’s critical to note when assessing the Brooklynettes, the Brooklyn Nets dance team as an organization, however, is that they ain’t cheerleaders.

“This is a team,” explained Kimberlee Garris, Director of Entertainment Marketing for the Nets. “Actually, more than that… it’s a sisterhood.”

A creative and novel rebranding of the New Jersey Nets dance team, the Brookylnettes are now in the pre-playoff mode of their second season. Part Nets ambassadors, entertainers, seasoned dance professionals, and NBA ambassadors, the team of 20 represents a complex of fitness, flexibility, and capability that would put the amiably bouncing Dallas boosters of the ’70s into a state of stupefied awe. With just over a single minute to essentially perform a choreographed theater in the round—and just a few times each game—ample responsibility rests on the team to do remarkable things in a tiny economy of time. To that end, prop changes are flurrying and de rigueur, and costume changes a blur of diversity (including everything from an alluring variation on black tie to tear-away pants), requiring pre-team knowledge that, Garris pointed out, regularly shocks the uninitiated in its complexity.

“It’s generally recommended that those interested in joining have at least eight years of dance instruction or experience,” said Garris, who joined the front office of the New Jersey Nets in 2005, not long after taking home a cognitive neuroscience degree from Harvard. “Other than that, as long as you’re 18 and keen to be a performer in a very challenging environment, you’re welcome to audition.”

“It’s very clear within the first 30 seconds of that audition if there is technical training going on,” Garris added. “We will be examining whether they can do a double pirouette, for example…some kind of leg kick, turning jump, or Calypso, plus other leaps and turns. Are they pointing their toe? Is their leg in the right place? Are they staying on top of their pirouette leg? Then there’s the question of whether they are giving you something that you think will read in an arena of nearly 18,000 fans.”

Not surprisingly then, the 400 applicants who turned out for last June’s audition were, within the four rounds of cuts, carefully winnowed to a precious 30 or 40. That intimidating competitor-to-final-member ratio applies to the existing team as well, all of whom are required to re-audition at the end of each season.

Dancers are directed principally by choreographer Adar Wellington (who has danced in videos for Kanye West’s “Lost In The World” and Usher’s “Scream,” among many others), though the team often brings in guest choreographers to supply fresh moves. Garris pointed out that this performance diversity has its corollary in the overall mission of the team, which she described as needing to achieve nothing less than being, “ambassadors of Brooklyn, the Nets, and the NBA simultaneously.”

In addition to the 41 regular-season home games here at Barclays Center, select members of the team are recruited to travel around the world for NBA grassroots events. Typically, six dancers at a minimum are required to achieve a performance quorum in such venues, and within the Brooklyn team’s short year-and-a-half of action, members have traveled to such ports of call as São Paulo, Singapore, Naples, Madrid, and Milan. A regularly occurring performance at these events is the team’s signature “Dunking Divas,” in which non-acrophobic members leap far above the 10-foot-high basketball rim—using a trampoline as propulsion—then slam varying styles of dunks.

“And that’s just one performance that sets us apart from most of the other teams out there,” added Garris.

Megan Roup, a wide-smiling two-season Brookynettes vet and native of Santa Barbara California (middle, right), who has been a New Yorker for eight years, explained that the fitness required for such a job is unrelenting, but all part of a day’s work for dance professionals.

“I do this, of course, but I’m also a fitness model at Wilhelmina in the city, as well as work at the Tracy Anderson Method in Tribeca,” Roup said, adding that the novel dance-based fitness method school (of which Gwyneth Paltrow is a co-owner) has captivated city residents growing bored of the same old grind.

“Dance cardio and muscular structure work is how I would describe the method most accurately,” she said. “It’s choreographed and rigorous, but great fun.”

Expecting some breakthrough dietary techniques from the Tisch School of the Arts graduate, we were instead supplied with a useful and intimidating excuse to screw up…ever so slightly.

“I try to keep an 80%/20% ratio in mind when maintaining an exercise routine and diet. Four-fifths of the time, I really try to eat right, and what revolutionized that process for me was eliminating gluten, sugar, and dairy,” she explained. “But it’s critical to give yourself time off—at least one day a week that even professional athletes need to rest and recover, and that one day off program just works well for me.”

Liz Chestang (facing page, middle, left), a newcomer to the team and BFA graduate in dance performance and choreography from Ohio University in Athens, had in mind a career in the company of a classical dance organization, but quickly found herself fascinated by modern dance, including hip-hop, and made a beeline for New York just two weeks after graduation. She, like most members of the team, maintains another career.

“I’m also a fitness instructor,” Chestang explained from under a wild expanse of auburn curls, “…at a studio called Body by Simone [in Chelsea], which emphasizes a fusion of dance-cardio, and a variety of toning methods, with some elements of Pilates thrown in there as well.” She, too, emphasized eating what performers often term a “clean” diet, in her case an almost unstoppable supply of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, yogurt, proteins such as egg whites and chicken, “…and tons and tons of water.”

“But then, you also live in New York…in Brooklyn. It would be simply ridiculous not to enjoy a slice of pizza once in a while,” she added with a grin.

Garris pointed out that such articulate and outgoing representatives of the team are part of what is searched for in the interview process, and those particularly adept at being motivating spokeswomen are recruited into the Brooklynettes All-Star contingent.

“People who have this intelligence and caliber do us a world of good, of course,” she explained. “And there are instances in which—as a result—they are recruited to do other jobs, or might matriculate into other full-time gigs. We just had a dancer who was asked to join the company of The Lion King, for example. This is a remarkable opportunity, both for us and them, and that mutually beneficial dynamic is just part of what makes the organization work.”

[Brooklynettes]

Game Day With The Washington Wizard Girls

Early this month, I was lucky enough to be able to watch and shoot the Washington Wizard Girls.

To get the full effect of Coach Derric Whitfield’s high energy choreography, watch the Wizard Girls performance from the game here.

 

Set

Captains Brittney, Amber, Julia and Tara

You can find the Wizards Girl on the concourse behind section 109/110 before every game.

Wizards In Game Arena Host GeNeinne. You should remember GeNienne from her time as a Redskins Cheerleader  (She went to Pro Bowl) and as a Wizard Girl.

 

[Wizard Girls Gallery]

[Wizard Girls at SportsIllustrated.com]

[Washington Wizard Girls]

Game Day with the Golden State Warrior Girls

Warrior Girls Dance Team Director Sabrina Ellison grew up in Los Angeles and went to school at USF, where she danced for the Dons. She danced professionally in the NFL for eight years: six seasons with the San Francisco 49ers Gold Rush and two seasons with the Seattle Sea Gals.

Sabrina is in her seventh season as a dance team coach in the NBA. She started in Seattle with the SuperSonics, then moved to Oklahoma City and started the Thunder Girls dance team from scratch. This is her third season coaching the Warrior Girls.

“The Warriors were always my ideal team to coach. It is great how my career went full circle and I’m back in the Bay Area.”

Sabrina on Going From Dancing to Directing:

“It’s a night and day difference. When you’re ready to put your dance boots away, throw your poms away and take that leap to become a director, it’s 100% different. As a dancer, you’re a part of the team and it’s more about you. When you’re a director, it’s not only about getting the performers to look amazing on-court and dance as a team, but you’re influencing them in so many different ways. A director is the glue to the team that makes sure each girl feels like a part of a sisterhood and grows as a woman.
“I think as a dancer, you’re always going to miss performing. But I love coaching because it is a different skill set. You have to be selfless. You have to be there for your girls and help them grow as dancers and as women. You have to be supportive and be a teacher. You have to take all of these different personalities and make them into a team. And I love it. I love seeing them become good friends. I love seeing them dance out there and go from not being the strongest dancer to suddenly blossoming into an amazing performer.”

Sabrina on the Warrior Girls as Ambassadors to the Organization:

When Sabrina first started with the Warriors, a new ownership group purchased the team and set out to create a first class organization from the players to the front office to the Warrior Girls dance team.

“The Warrior Girls are really ambassadors for our team. Our team participates in over 100 appearances a year, interacting with fans and participating in various events and fundraisers. Last summer the team went to China as part of the NBA’s Global Games initiative. I am really focused on preparing the girls to represent the team the best way possible. Learning how to interview well and engage fans of all ages and backgrounds. It’s important for each girl to become well-rounded, both as a dancer and as a person.”

Warrior Girls with Director Sabrina Ellison

Sabrina on the Warrior Girls Dancing Style:

“As a basketball team in an urban area in California, you have to be cutting edge. To entertain our fan base, we dance to hip-hop, but also do a lot of novelty routines to perform for older fans who are die-hard and have been going to Warrior games for years.”

During the Golden State Warriors-Brooklyn Nets game on Saturday, February 22, the Warrior Girls performed a hip-hop routine to “Can’t Hold Us,” and later performed to Janet Jackson’s 1989 single “Rhythm Nation,” connecting with older fans and allowing them to enjoy the team’s performances.

“My dancers love the art of dance and performing all styles of dance. Sometimes the girls dance to Bollywood, sometimes it’s jazz or country music, and sometimes it’s hip hop. But no matter what genre they perform, they want to be the best.”

 

Shonna

Shonna

Warrior Girl Shonna

Shonna is a first-year Warrior Girl, and she admits it has been demanding to learn a new style of choreography that is unfamiliar to her. But she recognizes that the challenge has allowed her to grow as a dancer.

“I’m working hard, bonding with the other girls and really pushing myself to become a better dancer.”

Shonna also says the responsibilities of being a Warrior Girl is more than she was expecting.

“Having been a professional dancer previously, I knew it was going to be a big commitment to be a Warrior Girl. But I didn’t realize it was going to be such a physical and mental challenge for me.

“The veterans are helpful, making sure all the rookies know what they need to know and just pushing us along as we embark on this journey and really making sure we can be the best Warrior Girl possible.”

Shonna’s advice to those auditioning for the Warrior Girls?

“Go into the audition as who you really are and let the judges see that. It’s so much more than dancing. It’s who you are as a person and what you embody. It’s about being a classy woman and being a woman who can carry herself with poise and grace. You’re auditioning to be an ambassador for the Golden State Warriors. If you show up on audition day in tip-top shape, confident and dance to the best of your abilities, the judges will see that.”

Warrior Girl Casey

Casey is in her sixth season with the Warrior Girls, making her the longest-tenured member of the team. Just turning eighteen year old during her first season with the team, she felt intimidated when the other dancers were in their twenties with years of dancing experience.

She was the leader of her high school’s pom team and dance team, and now she was joining a team where every dancer had to be in unison. It was a difficult learning experience, but over the years Casey came to learn and embody the Warrior Girls style.

“I basically grew up on this team. It also helped me to develop into the woman I wanted to become by building confidence, skills when interacting with fans and learning how to be a brand ambassador for a professional organization. There’s a lot more to being a Warrior Girl than looking pretty and being able to dance. You have to have a good head on your shoulders, be humble and definitely be able to work hard.”

One of her biggest motivations for coming back every season and re-auditioning are the fans and the Bay Area community.

“I love that our team is committed to community outreach by working with schools and children to give back to the Bay Area. If our community didn’t love the team and come to our games, we would have no one to perform for. So every time I step on the court, I look at it as another opportunity to make somebody smile or to make somebody happy for that one minute and ten seconds. As a performer, that is your only job.”

Casey was honored to be voted by the team as a Warrior Girls captain for the second consecutive season.

“As a captain a lot of responsibilities are placed on you, but that also means that my teammates felt confident in me to lead them and help them achieve success. Going from a rookie on the team to a 6th year captain wasn’t easy. I’ve had to learn a lot.”

Casey went through some tough times when she didn’t think she could perform any longer with the team because of the time commitment and the energy need on a daily basis. But she stayed with it and tried to carry herself as a role model for the other girls.

“I really encourage the girls to keep pushing yourself in every practice and to stay with a positive mentality, because the more you stay with it the schedule and the time commitments, the training and everything else becomes easier. Everything gets easier with time and effort.”

“We all go through difficult times and hardships as women. This is a hard industry to be in, and a lot is expected of you.”

In her six seasons with the team, Casey has traveled to Italy, Japan and India as a member of the Warrior Girls. Her favorite experiences are her trips to China, where she has represented the team on three separate visits.

“The fans are so enthusiastic, they really love basketball. They have a basketball league over there too, NBA China. But they all watch Warriors games and Lakers games. Those are the most popular teams in China, so the fans really appreciate us and recognize us as a huge part of the organization. They travel hours to come watch us perform, so it’s heartfelt and meaningful when we get to dance for them.”

This year Casey was voted to the NBA All-Star Dance Team at the 2014 NBA All Star Weekend. She describes the experience as the most amazing week of her life. “I was able to dance on a team with 29 other women who each dance for an NBA team. We shared our dancing styles and blended them together. We went out and performed for a huge crowd of locals and celebrities. It was exhilarating, but it was definitely frightening, and we worked long hours practicing for the performances, but as soon as we stepped out on the court, it was all worth it.”

[All New Golden State Warrior Girls Wesbite Updated for 2014]

[Warriors-Nets  Gallery]

SI.com: Boston Celtics

Click here to check out Sports Illustrated’s gallery of prhots of the Boston Celtics dance team, and a few of the Green Team, the Celtics stunt team.

Go Monique!

Miami HEAT Dancers Digital Magazine Unveiled

MIAMI, MARCH 17 –The Miami HEAT announced today the release of the Miami HEAT Dancers Digital Magazine, a 59-page online feature comprised of exclusive, stunning photos, which were taken during their sizzling poster shoot in Dominican Republic earlier this season. In addition to the exquisite pictures, the e-zine also contains individual interviews with each HEAT Dancer, as well as a behind-the-scenes look at the entire process.

Shot on location at Bahia Principe Resorts, the Miami HEAT Dancers Digital Magazine was shot in 23 different locales–one for each dancer—amid the backdrop of exquisite beaches and luscious landscapes of the Dominican Republic. It’s a 10 Haircare products were used exclusively for the Miami HEAT Dancers photoshoot to achieve incredibly sexy, beachy hair styling in the tropical location. It’s a 10 Haircare is the presenting partner of the 2013-14 Miami HEAT Dancers.

Fans can easily access the HEAT Dancers Digital Magazine from their computers or tablets by clicking here or on a mobile phone by visiting the official Miami HEAT Twitter account, twitter.com/MiamiHEAT.

Washington Wizard Girls

Center court after Saturday Night’s game.