Go behind the scenes at the Cleveland Cavailer Girls photo shoot.
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.
A Laker Girl
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.”
Victoria Leigh Miller
“Get right, or get all the way left.” That’s the mantra of Traci Young-Byron, former Miami Heat dancer/team captain, and current dance studio owner and star of the new eight-part Lifetime docu-series Step It Up. Based on the preview, it looks like Traci’s students better step it up – or step outta there. This outrageous dance studio owner makes Dance Moms’ Abby Lee Miller look like a wuss. For realz.
Lifetime’s latest fierce, fabulous (and feared) dance diva has a rival: Bring It’s Miss D and those Dancing Dolls, so she resorts to some unconventional methods to train her co-ed troupe at the Young Contemporary Dance Theatre in Miami. This dancing drill sergeant wields a purple baseball bat and pits her students against one another to earn a spot in weekly performances, which means students can get can get cut at any time. If you can’t take the heat…
Step It Up premieres Friday, Sept. 25 at 10 p.m. on Lifetime.
In the all-new Lifetime docu-series “Step It Up,” Traci Young-Byron, a former Miami Heat Dancer and longtime team captain, is the owner of the elite dance company, the Young Contemporary Dance Theatre (YCDT). Traci’s competitiveness, especially her fierce rivalry with “Bring It!’s” Miss D and her Dancing Dolls, leads her to use unconventional methods to motivate her co-ed dance team. For this company, the biggest competition isn’t other teams; it’s each other, as they must dance their hearts out to earn a coveted spot in a high-stakes performance each week. “Step It Up” (#StepItUp), premieres Friday, September 25, at 10pm ET/PT following the “Bring It!” season finale.
The following week, the series moves to its regular time period airing on Friday, October 2 at 9pm ET/PT. Over the course of eight hour-long episodes, the YCDT dancers push themselves to the limit to perform at high-profile events. Traci’s tough, no-nonsense attitude prepares her meticulously trained and always-on-point dancers, who vary in age, for the myriad dance genres they face, including ballet, modern, contemporary, jazz, West African and hip-hop.
“Step It Up” is produced by Pilgrim Studios. Executive producers for Pilgrim are Craig Piligian and Derek W. Wan. Eli Lehrer, Mary Donahue and Colleen Conway Grogan executive produce the series for Lifetime.
I have met a lot of great people through this blog. One of my favorites is Audrea Harris. I met Audrea through the Los Angeles Clippers years ago. She immediately struck me as such a class act and she became a wonderful friend. I was so incredibly jazzed a year or so after we met, when she took over direction of the Clippers entertainment teams and really put her stamp on the organization.
Last month Audrea decided it was time to move on to new challenges and part ways with the Clippers.
I will admit to being totally gutted by the news at first. It was bittersweet. You know how it is when you know your friend is making an important and right decision for herself, but your inner 7 year old is all “But whyyyyyyyy?????”
It is the end of an era, that’s for sure. Audrea had been with the Clippers organization for 16 years, including four as a member of the Spirit Dance Team. (Cue the vintage awesomeness.) It is difficult to imagine the Clippers in general, and the Spirit in particular, without her.
Well, c’est la vie! Off with the old and on with the new! I am pleased and proud to announce that the Clippers’ loss is the Phoenix Suns’ gain. Audrea is packing her bags and next month, will start her new job as Game Entertainment Coordinator for the Suns! It’s a big promotion, a big step up, and a very exciting new opportunity. I cannot wait to see the creativity, professionalism, and fun she will bring that that new role.
Game on, Suns fans! Please join me in saying congratulations!
BTW, I already checked Google Flights and I can get from Burbank to Phoenix in 90 minutes. Don’t think I won’t do it. Mwahahahahahaha….
By Nora Olabi
By Stephanie Weldy
Novato resident Tara-Caprice Broadwater, 36, has a passion for dancing. And that love and her skills for all styles of dance propelled the Marin County native to NBA courts and around the globe as a dance teammate for the Golden State Warrior Girls from 2001 to 2004.
During that time, Broadwater opened up her first dance studio, Love2Dance, in Novato. She eventually left the basketball dance team to fully focus on her growing studio, which now has two Novato locations, where Broadwater and other instructors teach a variety of dance styles to all ages — from two to 65. The studio’s dance team, the All-Stars, has twice performed at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and each year performs during a Golden State Warriors halftime show.
Q: How was it being a Golden State Warrior Girl?
A: I had so many amazing experiences. We got to travel and meet exciting people and athletes and entertainers and that’s when I decided I wanted to be involved with teaching dance. That’s when I decided to open the studio. So I was trying to juggle that my last season and it became difficult and I decided I was going to focus on opening the dance studio.
Q: Why did you choose to focus on your dance studio over being a Warrior Girl?
A: I always felt this was my calling to help kids and help people just to find their way and their passion. I know for me, dance really saved me when I was young. It helped me in all areas of life. If you have something you’re passionate about, it helps you build confidence and find success. I love performing so much, but here I get to teach and we do two recitals as well, so I still get to perform. So I get the best of both worlds.
Q: What is one of your more interesting experiences from when you were a Warrior Girl?
A: My husband hates this story. We had a mascot named Thunder and he picked me up and brought me on the court to meet Jamie Foxx. It was right when he’d done all those movies, and the song, and he was doing this comedy show, and anyhow, I’m in the middle of the court talking to Jamie Foxx and he invites me to whatever show he was doing. And then he hugs me and kisses me on the shoulder. And my boyfriend, whose now my husband, he’s in the stands, and his friend said, ‘Isn’t that your girl Jamie Foxx is kissing?’ And he was so mad. I always told him I could’ve been with Jamie Foxx and I chose you. Which of course, he was probably just saying hi. Maybe that’s how he says hi to everybody.
Q: Any other interesting places dancing has taken you?
A: Last year I choreographed a dance for the Kalin and Myles video “Do My Step.” I also went to the Power 106 celebrity basketball game in (Los Angeles) and choreographed backup dancers for the Kalin and Myles half-time performance with Ariana Grande and Tinashe.
Q: What is dancing to you?
A: It’s my life. It’s my passion. It’s everything. It’s my world. If I don’t think of this as my job and career, it’s who I am. And I work really hard. I work 60 hours a weeks. And I’m bookkeeping, phone calls, and emails, and ordering costumes, and being a therapist to children and their parents, and cleaning, And then I teach dance. Not every single class. This semester I think I’m teaching 21 classes.
Brittany, Candice, Charlotte
Ellie, Erika, Jackie
Jasmine, JennaLea, Jennifer
Jenny, Kate, Lindsay D.
Lindsey J., Royesha, Sharnelle
Auditions for the 2015-16 Warriors dance team began on Saturday, August 15, with many aspiring dancers trying out at Las Positas College in Livermore.
More photos here.
By David Bitton
She has been shaking her hips and dancing to choreographed moves most of her life, and come this fall Addie Corley will be performing at Oklahoma City Thunder games as one of 19 Thunder Girls.
“I’m super excited to be cheering on the Thunder,” the 22-year-old lifelong Stillwater resident and Oklahoma State University Strategic Communications senior said.
The weeklong finals included interviews and dance rehearsals before the final audition.
“I was a nervous wreck,” Corley said. “I don’t think I slept for two weeks straight.”
Corley admits that the on-stage question-and-answer portion of the audition was the most challenging aspect. She remembers the question was something like, “If I made the team, what would I bring as a Thunder Girl,” but she doesn’t remember how she answered it.
“I got nervous,” she said.
Which makes it that much sweeter where her name was called on July 30.
She was one of seven rookies to make the 2015-16 Thunder Girls dance team.
“I had self confidence in my dancing,” said Corley, who has been twirling since she was 4-years-old. “I knew that if I danced how I’ve always danced, I’d feel okay.”
She attributes much of her success to Encore Dance Studios in Stillwater, where Corley has been both learning and teaching dance for many years.
“Addie is probably in the top three dancers I have ever taught,” said owner Holly Belford-Davis, who has been teaching dance for more than 30 years. “Her dedication, drive and hard work set her apart.”
Corley graduated from Stillwater High School in 2011, and cheered on the Pom Squad at Oklahoma State University for four years before auditioning for the Thunder Girls.
Paige Carter, dance team manager and choreographer for the Thunder Girls, is looking forward to having Corley on the team.
“I am excited to enter a new season with this outstanding group,” Carter said in a press release. “Thunder Girls engage with our fans on and off the court, and sometimes even across the globe. These ladies will add excitement and energy to the Thunder experience at Chesapeake Energy Arena, as well as being excellent community ambassadors.”
Right now, Corley is busy learning dance routines while practicing twice a week so she is ready when the Thunder take on the San Antonio Spurs on Oct. 28.
“Oklahoma City Thunder fans are like no other fans,” Corley said. “They are amazing and I’m ready to meet them, talk with them and cheer on the Thunder with them.”
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