NBA Dancers Are More Than A Pretty Face – 1:1 with BlazerDancer Lisa

By Miriam Ludlow

lisaI am a major NBA follower. I appreciate the players on the court, coaches on the sidelines, the fans, and the cheerleaders!

Even though most of the cheerleading performances last a couple of minutes or so, there is a lot behind each one of those. To give OSN’s readers an inside look, I sat down with BlazerDancer Lisa.

Lisa has been with the Portland Trail Blazers for four years. A dancer and gymnast since the age of four, Lisa has an extensive resume as a cheerleader, dancer and instructor. Born and raised in Portland, Lisa has been a Blazers fan all of her life. Having been exposed to the team’s dynamics through her older sister being a former BlazerDancer is no accident.

After hard work and preparation, not only did Lisa join the team when the time was right, she also got to experience dancing side by side with her sister for two years. To tell us about this journey, Lisa in her own words describes it all from day one in an audition to game night.

OSN: Where does one start to become a BlazerDancer?

Lisa: You have to audition.

OSN: What is an audition like?

Lisa: It’s intense. It’s usually in July. It’s a three-day event. The first day usually falls on a Saturday. You go and dance all day. From there the judges make their cuts. The second day the veterans join you and you get to learn three dances. On the final day the Blazers rent out the Newark Performing arts where friends and family join in to support you. Hundreds try out. They have you dance in groups of three and you also do a free style solo that you choreograph. After those they narrow it down to 35 for the finals and the final reveal takes place two days later.

OSN: How do you find out if you made the cut?

Lisa: We all meet at the Moda Center as a big event. You know you made it if your picture comes up on the screen. It’s a very emotional moment for all of us. We all cheer in support to those that made it.

OSN: Ok, your picture is up on the screen, you’ve made it. What happens next?

Lisa: It’s a major commitment for anyone selected. It’s a busy and fast pace job. We practice twice a week for three to four hours. In addition to practices if there is a game we attend and perform that night as well.

OSN: That does sound like a major commitment. Who are these women taking such a commitment on?

Lisa: We come from all backgrounds. We have dental school students, dance teachers anyone that loves to cheer and dance. Most work full time but some are still attending school. They have families, friends, etc.

OSN: What drives someone to become a BlazerDancer?

Lisa: Most of us have a busy and fast pace lifestyle and we enjoy being a BlazerDancer because is a way for us to break away from everyday stuff and get to do something that we enjoy that happens to be completely different than what we do in our every day life.

OSN: What do you do in your daily life?

Lisa: I am in the health insurance industry. It’s a stressful field! For me it’s nice to leave work and be part of the game when we arrive.

OSN: Do you guys dance at all games?

Lisa: Only the home games. But we do a lot of promotional activities on game night. They are very fun. Specially the ones that are for a good cause. Is nice to do something that is community oriented. We work with a lot of charities and support them in their efforts. We have raffles, take pictures, pass out posters, etc.

OSN: What is the time expectancy of a BlazerDancer? Is there an age limit?

Lisa: There isn’t an age limit, however as with any sport and athletic activity there is the risk of injuries that can make a dancer retire early. It’s a very demanding job on the body.

OSN: I imagine so. Do dancers get monetary compensation?

Lisa: Yes we do. It’s a commitment and the team takes care of us. But this really isn’t about the money. We all truly enjoy what we do. The compensation of course is good and a bonus. Getting it is important especially because you are getting paid to do something you love.

OSN: You’ve been a BlazerDancer for four years. What does the future hold for you?

Lisa: My family is local and I will probably be in Portland for a while. I do want to see other places but for now I will continue being a BlazerDancer for as long as I can, but I have to admit it is starting to catch up.

OSN: What do you mean? How so?

Lisa: I used to dance every day of the week for hours and hours. I now dance 2-3 hours and it’s not the same as it was years ago. My technique has improved with time, but is no longer the same.

OSN: Sounds like a major physical and time commitment.

Lisa: Yes it is. It’s a bigger commitment than what people think. Is tough because you have to train really hard as with any other sport. It takes a lot of practice to get better. Time management is key. You need to be organized and prepared. One thing I wasn’t used to was interviews. But I’ve gained the experience and enjoy being part of it all. It’s fun!

OSN: What are the rewards of being a BlazerDancer?

Lisa: That you get to be part of the game. We all have different backgrounds but at game night we all share the same passion, to be able to see our team win.

OSN: What is a game night like for a BlazerDancer?

Lisa: We perform twice during the game. It’s an amazing experience to be able to connect with people who are fans and with those who work with the organization as well. We get to greet those attending and also interact with the Blazers’ operations guest services and security team.

OSN: What drives a BlazerDancer?

Lisa: I think a big part is that you can be a different person. For example: I’m an introvert. Not a super outgoing person. But when I’m on the court dancing I’m someone else. I put it all out there and become a different person. But it really is part of my identity.

OSN: Do you fear not dancing anymore?

Lisa: I don’t fear it. But it would be weird to stop.

OSN: Having been a Blazer’s dancer is a major accomplishment. With that said. What is next for you and other dancers like yourself?

Lisa: To continue dancing. Get better. Now that I am older I am more comfortable with myself. It’s important to know your body. You know how it moves and as you get older you improve in technique. There are many things we learn not only to perform but that can be applied to other areas of your life as well.

OSN: Where do you see yourself in the future?

Lisa: Coaching or teaching. One day I would like to make the transition from athlete to business owner. One of the great things of being a BlazerDancer is that you learn a lot of choreography and you learn it fast. Is not always easy because everyone’s brain is different but I am so used to dancing and learning in a fast pace that I am thankful I have acquired that skill.

OSN: What would you tell all those young athletes/dancers who would like to become a NBA Dancer?

Lisa: To work hard, have discipline and to prepare yourself. There are great ways to learn and get better. And if you can’t make it to look at other options. There are great teams to be part of like the Portland Thunder. The Winterhawks etc.

Personally I found Lisa’s insight to be one of the most amazing learning experiences when it comes to sports.

There is no doubt that NBA cheerleaders/dancers (and in other sports as well) are often seen as just a pretty face. It is my hope that after having read this, our readers will be able to see that these are amazing athletes who have been working for this from a very early age.

The commitment and dedication from each one of them is an example for all of us who have a dream and want to follow it. Persistence, hard work, discipline and commitment are all keys to becoming part of the grand NBA dancing teams.

Lisa recommends that anyone interested on becoming one should check out their local public announcement sources for information.

Auditions are open to anyone over 18 and as per their website their requirements are as follow:

BlazerDancers must attend all practices, games, training camps and mandatory Portland Trail Blazers events. BlazerDancer duties include community service events, appearances and photo shoots.

Must be able to attend practices every Thursday and Sunday evening (beginning in mid-August; times TBD). Additional practices may be added throughout the season.

Must have reliable transportation to practices, games, appearances, etc.

Must meet and maintain personal appearance, fitness level, and dancing skill requirements throughout the season.

Must abide by the other Terms and Conditions included with application materials.

If you are a NBA follower, especially a Blazers one, don’t forget to cheer along with Lisa on the next game night!

[Lisa at the Blazers website]

Congratulations 2014-15 BlazerDancers

(Somewhat belated) Click here to learn more about the ladies chosen for the team!

The Blazer Dancers’ Special Cheer for ‘Portlandia’ Emmy Nomination

By Kristi Turnquist
The Oregonian

Just in time for Wednesday night’s NBA playoff game between the Portland Trail Blazers and the San Antonio Spurs, comes a special video message from the Blazer Dancers. Except this one isn’t a rah-rah shout-out to the Blazers.

Nope, the Blazer Dancers are sending out a cheer asking for Emmy votes for “Portlandia.” In the video, the Blazer Dancers make a “polite request,” as the clip says, for Emmy voters to consider “Portlandia.”

The synergy of it all!

This isn’t the first time the Blazer Dancers have shown up on the satirical sketch show. In a sketch from earlier this season, Toni (Carrie Brownstein) and Candace (Fred Armisen), the ever-judgmental feminist bookstore duo, tried to raise the feminist consciousness of the Blazer Dancers.

Attending a Blazers game, Toni and Candace are horrified to see the Blazer Dancers jumping around in revealing outfits.

“Why are they barely wearing anything?” Toni and Candace wonder. “Let them speak!”

Toni and Candace managed to get a meeting with Blazers General Manager Neil Olshey, who agrees to let the feminists come up with a new routine for the dancers.

It doesn’t go so well. Later, Toni and Candace are in the team locker room, where Blazers LaMarcus Aldridge, Thomas Robinson, Robin Lopez and Damiam Lillard are too bummed at losing a game to work up any enthusiasm for the new Blazer Dancers routine.

Former BlazerDancers Enlist In Vets 4 Vets

By Kerry Eggers

Wisa Opton is one of several former Blazer Dancers who will visit the Portland VA Medical Center as part of the Vets 4 Vets program.

Wisa Opton is one of several former Blazer Dancers who will visit the Portland VA Medical Center as part of the Vets 4 Vets program.

‘Tis the season where giving is foremost in the minds of a lot of caring people.

It’s with that spirit that Sunday’s “Vets 4 Vets” holiday visit to the Portland VA Medical Center is born.

The first part of the group’s handle is a bit of a misnomer. The former members of the Trail Blazers’ dance team range from their late 20’s to late 30’s, hardly old enough to qualify as veterans — except in the parlance of professional sports, and perhaps, professional dancing.

This band of retired ol’ gals — I say this affectionately, of course — has turned our country’s military veterans into their special project.

“Vets 4 Vets” debuted in 2011 and since then has made about 15 visits to veterans hospitals, care centers and military bases in the Northwest, speaking with men and women whose service to the country sometimes gets forgotten.

“I feel privileged to be able to talk to them and hear what they’ve done,” says Wisa Opton, 39, a West Linn High and Portland State grad who lives in Salem. “For them, it’s nice to talk about the things they experienced — some of those experiences, that is. It’s good for them to be able to talk about the cool things they did, the happy memories.”
by: TRIBUNE PHOTO – Wisa Opton is one of several former Blazer Dancers who will visit the Portland VA Medical Center as part of the Vets 4 Vets program.

by: TRIBUNE PHOTO – Wisa Opton is one of several former Blazer Dancers who will visit the Portland VA Medical Center as part of the Vets 4 Vets program.

The group was organized by John Curry, 56, a cameraman at Blazer games for 30 years and a man who served in some capacity with the U.S. Navy from 1976 to 2008. Over the years, one of the extra responsibilities of the Blazer Dancers has been volunteer work. Curry had shot footage of a show the Blazer dancers performed for U.S. troops in Fort Hood, Texas, in 2003.

“When we got back, (then-Blazer dance coach) Dee Dee Anderson called and asked if there were anything they could do locally,” Curry says.

Curry put together a visit to the VA Medical Center, which became a regular endeavor of the Blazer dance team.

In 2011, Curry called Opton — a member of the Blazer Dancers from 1993-96 — with the notion of creating a group of former Blazer dancers to visit with local veterans.

“I loved the idea,” Opton says. “One thing I missed about being on the (Blazer dance) team was doing volunteer work, specifically visiting hospitals. And it was a chance to get everyone together and do something as a team again.”

Curry and Opton put together a group of about 15 former Blazer dancers who wanted to help.

“We all have a soft spot in our hearts for service men and women,” Opton says. “It’s a really good way to give back to the community and to visit and meet some really neat people. ”

Over the past two years, with Curry’s organizational work, “Vets 4 Vets” has made its presence felt at hospitals, care centers and veterans-related events. Curry, Opton, Desiree Goode and Amy Friendy form the group’s board of directors.

Opton, who has also been a member of the dance squads for the Arena Football Forest Dragons, the WNBA Fire, the National Lacrosse League LumberJax and the Blazers’ Hip-Hop Squad, calls herself the “Crash Davis of sports dance teams in Portland.”

When she first pondered the idea of visiting veterans, “I was like, ‘Nobody cares about a bunch of over-the-hill moms who are coming in to say hi,’ ” she says. “I was a little doubtful they would care, but I was wrong. We’ve gotten a great response. They are very appreciative that we would take the time to thank them for their service to our country. They say, ‘This means a lot to us.’ ”

The women wear camouflage-style “Vets 4 Vets” T-shirts on their visits to meet with the veterans, speaking with people who have served from World War II, Korea, Vietnam and more recent wars and conflicts.

“I have a soft spot for the older guys, the World War II vets or the men who served in Korea,” Opton says. “We’re losing a lot of them every day. I have loved meeting them and hearing their stories. It absolutely blows me away that these guys were such young kids, and the things they did in the war. We can’t even fathom what they dealt with. I’ve heard some of the most amazing stories.

“The other thing that stands out is when we talk to Vietnam War vets, who are just getting recognition now. It’s heartbreaking to talk to some of these guys. On our first visit to the Portland VA Medical Center (in 2011), I told this gentleman who was a Vietnam War vet, ‘We’re just here to say thank you for what you did for our country.’ He started crying and said, ‘You are one of the first people to tell me that.’ ”

The “Vets 4 Vets” made an appearance at the military mall at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Fort Lewis, Wash., meeting with family members and children of service men and women. They did a grand opening at Fort Withycombe in Clackamas. Several of them participated in a five-kilometer run, with proceeds going to the “Wounded Warrior Project.”

“I’ve gotten to sit in the cockpit of a Chinook helicopter,” Opton says. “I’ve put on a helmet with night-vision goggles. I’ve put on a backpack that weighs 60 pounds. I spoke with a World War II vet who, when he was 19, flew reconnaissance over China for mapping purposes. It’s been a really interesting experience for me, and for all of us.”

The veterans look forward to the visits, says Anne Marie Murphy, outreach coordinator for the Portland VA Medical Center.

“The women are so wonderful,” Murphy says. “It’s one thing just to visit our veterans. But they are just sweet and nice people, with great personalities. They talk to the veterans, take pictures, sign posters. We appreciate that they think of the veterans, and the guys just love them. It really makes their day.”

So far, “Vets 4 Vets” have been there just to speak with the veterans and family members. They would like to do more.

“We haven’t put together a dance production,” Opton says. “That’s one of our goals. We’d like to perform.”

Everything the “Vets 4 Vets” group has done as been out of pocket. They are in the process of fund-raising and finding sponsors so they can do more.

“We’d like to give care packages to families of service men and women who are overseas,” Opton says.

All “Vets 4 Vets” needs to do more is donations and sponsorship. Those interested can visit their Facebook page (Vets 4 Vets) or their website (

I think it’s a great cause. So does Opton, who says she has gotten back as much as she has given.

“Some of the most gracious people I’ve ever met are veterans and their families,” she says. “It’s been just a pleasure — a really rewarding experience.

[Vets 4 Vets]

Did These Two Mascots “Kidnap” This NBA Dancer?

From the Twitter Feed of The Spurs Coyote:


Apparently, the Coyote was shooting a video with the Blaze The Trail Cat. Looking forward to seeing the results.

Photo of the Day – September 19

A Boston Blazers Dancer

Danity Kane is back!

Ok, I cannot be the only one who is SUPER excited about this. If ever a group deserved a second chance, it’s this one. It is my hope that after five years apart, the ladies have gained the maturity and perspective they need to make it work this time around. For those who don’t remember, two members of the original group were former NBA dancers: Shannon Bex (Trailblazers) and Dawn Richard (Hornets). Rounding out the group are Aubrey O’Day, and Aundrea Fimbress, who never danced for pro sports teams, but if you ask me, Aundrea bears a striking resemblance to New England Patriots Cheerleader Jodi Ricci.

From left: Dawn, Aubrey, Shannon, and Aundrea

Congratulations ladies! Now get (back) to work.

TDW Grad Wins Place On Blazer Dancer Cheer Squad

By Jade McDowell
The Dalles Chronicle

When basketball season returns and residents of The Dalles turn their televisions to the first Portland Trail Blazers game of the season, they might see a face they recognize.

That’s because the Blazer Dancers have some new faces on their roster, and one of them is from The Dalles.

“It hasn’t really kicked in yet. It’s kind of overwhelming,” said Andrea (her coach granted permission for the interview on the condition that we only use Andrea’s first name for privacy reasons).

The night of the big reveal she found out at the same time as a cheering crowd of fans. She watched nervously as the countdown on the screen went from announcing that there were 16 spots left to announcing there was only one spot left.

“They got down to the last one and it was me,” she said. “It was surreal. There were some returners waiting in the seats with me who were really talented, and some new talent that was really good too.”

She immediately ran down the hallway the other dancers had disappeared through and was met with open arms by her new coach. She said she’ll always remember the cheers of the other dancers as her coach threw open the door to reveal their final teammate.

“The other girls are awesome. It seems like it’s going to be a really fun year,” she said, noting that she is especially excited at being reunited with one of her former Duck teammates.

Andrea said she tried out to be one of the Blazers’ professional performers because she loved being a cheerleader for the University of Oregon Ducks when she was in college and wanted to see if she could take her dancing to the next level.

She could.

She proved her mettle through an audition process that stretched out over more than a month, including a clinic and then three rounds of initial cuts as the dancers demonstrated their technical skills, a hip-hop routine and a jazz routine. The remaining 37 hopefuls were then given more time to learn new routines before beginning the final round of tryouts, which included an interview process.

“We’re not just out there dancing; we have to be a role model and have good character and good speaking skills,” Andrea said.

She said she will be getting to know her teammates better once she moves to Portland and begins working with them — eight hours a week of practice plus games, which she will juggle in addition to a day job.

Right now, Andrea said what she is looking forward to most is performing. She said it’s hard to explain the adrenaline that came the first time she ran into a stadium of screaming Ducks fans, but she knows stepping into the Rose Garden Arena will probably feel just as exciting.

“I think the arena is going to be so loud,” she said. “Blazer fans are awesome. I’ve been to a few games and the fans are so fun.”

She said she’s a little bit nervous about going back to dancing after spending a year at a desk job, but she has kept her skills fresh while mentoring girls on local cheer and dance teams.

Andrea said she will always love dancing.

“I love how you can make it your own. There are so many styles of it you can’t really do it wrong. I love that you can express yourself. But I also love dancing in a team setting. It’s impressive that you can have so many different styles and everyone can come together cohesively,” she said.

BlazerDancers In China: A Day In Xiangyang

Members of the Portland Trailblazers BlazerDancers are traveling in China.

This simply cannot be real! All the way in Xiangyang China, we find this OREGON T-shirt. Amazing!!

More photos here.

BlazerDancers “Bust a Bucket”

BlazerDancers’ performance of “Bust a Bucket” from 90s night at the Rose Garden.

Sisterhood of the Center Court

by Kerry Eggers
Portland Tribune

They converged on the Rose Garden hardcourt last Wednesday night, 65 strong, all legs and full of gusto.

For 90-second dance sets at breaks between the first and second and third and fourth quarters, they turned the clock back as many as 25 years.

A quarter-century of entertainment by the BlazerDancers was celebrated with a reunion that brought hugs, smiles and a few tears from the participants.

“It was an absolute blast,” says Caitlin Tinney, 28, a member of Portland’s dance squad from 2007-11. “It was so much fun to see everybody and be back on the floor again. Walking in the doors (to the arena), it felt like no time had passed at all. Makes you want to be back here.”

Michelle Burch, a former BlazerDancer and the club’s performance teams manager since 2008, says about half of her email list of 116 showed up for the first reunion of the group in four years.

“I’m biased,” says Burch, who danced with the troupe from 1992-98, “but I thought it was fabulous. It was an amazing turnout, and I loved the results.”

They rehearsed for 3 1/2 hours Tuesday night, spent game night together and celebrated afterward at a reception in the Sphere room at the Rose Garden.

The former BlazerDancers made it look easy, though it wasn’t.

“The routines were hard,” says Dee Dee Anderson, one of seven original BlazerDancers who performed. “I teach a fitness class, which involves plyometrics and circuit training. I have a lot of athletes in my class.

“I was telling the dancers, (the routines) were tougher than any class I teach. It’s like you’re sprinting, but you use your whole body for a minute and a half straight. Very difficult to do.”

Also, Anderson says, “Everybody was nervous. I heard a lot of ladies saying, ‘Now, why are we doing this again?’ Because it was fun.

“We hadn’t seen everybody in a long time,” says Sara Post Anderson, no relation to Dee Dee but a BlazerDancer from 1996-2000. “We told funny stories, and then we danced, and that was even better.”

‘They’re like sisters’

Women flew in from as far as Atlanta, Denver and San Francisco to be a part of the reunion.

“The best part was seeing everyone again,” says Post Anderson, 36. “Coming back together to relive the dream.”

The experience, says Ione Chaco, “was both exhausting and exciting. It was amazing to be on the court with all those wonderful ladies.

“They’re like sisters, seriously,” says Chaco, 28, a mainstay on the dance corps from 2002-09. “Feeling that energy and excitement, feeling like a BlazerDancer again … I completely forgot what that felt like. I can hardly describe it. It’s that numbness in your body — it’s just overwhelming.”

Tinney felt it, too.

“There’s nothing like being out there,” she says. “It’s like the best minute and a half you could ever describe.

“It’s so funny. We were talking after we danced and people were like, ‘How did it go for you?’ I’m like, ‘I don’t really remember what happened out there.’ You just go out. It’s a surge of energy and excitement like I have never experienced anywhere else.”

Post Anderson says the entire squad “from my rookie year” participated.

“It’s such a good group of girls,” she says. “We just laughed the whole time.

“There was a lot of hooting and hollering while we were dancing. We were so impressed with how everyone looked again. Everyone was excited for each other. We left feeling good.”

90-second routines

Anderson, who served as coach of the BlazerDancers from 1989-2008, says her initial inclination was to be there just to watch.

“It brings me a lot of joy to watch the dancers perform,” she says. “That was one of the biggest rushes for me as a coach. So it was hard for me to make a decision.

“But Melissa York told me Tara Dynes was dancing. The three of us auditioned together back in 1988. We would practice in my backyard, living room and garage, and we made the team together. They convinced me I should dance, and I’m glad I did. It was really special.”

As a result of her late decision, Anderson said she was playing catch-up when given the material with which to dance.

“I had to spend the weekend cramming,” she says. “To be honest, the dancing was not really enjoyable. A 50-year-old should not be rolling on the ground.

“But it was great to be out there with everyone. To put together a show together so fast with that many dancers is not easy, but it came off really well.”

The best part, the women agreed, was the re-lived camaraderie.

“The highlight of the night for me was to hang out with all those ladies who are so talented on the inside and out,” Burch says. “It was so nice to bring everybody together. The 90-second routines they performed were incredible to watch, with the number of people and how professional everybody was. They’re great dancers.”

“The best part,” Tinney offers, “was reuniting with old friends and being able to renew those relationships. It’s a lifelong friendship, and you can tell. When people come together after not seeing each other for even a couple of years … it’s like no time passed.”

The women have dispersed into various walks of life, though many are still involved with dance.

Anderson is a personal trainer and dance coach who performs with the rock group Flexor T. Chaco is a singer/dancer with the Patrick Lamb band who teaches dance at Hockinson (Wash.) High. Post Anderson owns a Portland dance studio and coaches the Junior BlazerDancers, of whom her daughter is a member.

Tinney? The dark-haired lass runs a dog-walking business in Northwest Portland.

Canines deserve to enjoy a little rhythm, too, just like the former BlazerDancers in marking an important anniversary at the Rose Garden.

[BlazerDancers on Facebook]

BlazerDancers Celebrating 25 Years, Sneak Peak

The BlazerDancers will be celebrating 25 years of dancing and entertaining the Blazers faithful this Wednesday night at the Rose Garden. From the original Rip City Review dancers to recent alum and current dancers, over 70 women have flown in to prepare for a celebration sure to not disappoint. Get a sneak peak at their performance, and find out what some of your favorites are up to.

[BlazerDancers on Facebook]

Portland Trail Blazers Stunt Team

Whether they’re flying 30ft above the court, or pumping up the crowd, The Bowflex Stunt Team is an integral part of every Trail Blazers home game. The team is one the best in the business, and they’ve got the awards to prove it.

At the 2003 United Spirit Association Nationals, members of the Trail Blazers Bowflex Stunt Team swept the top three spots in the Open Team Partner Stunts category.

In addition, a squad comprised mostly of Blazers Bowflex Stunt Team members took National Championship honors at the 2003 USA National Cheer Championships in Las Vegas.

During the summer of 2004, the Stunt Team was invited to perform on live TV in Hong Kong for the opening ceremony of the Greece Olympics.

[Trail Blazers Stunt Team on Facebook]

Former Dancers Help Former Troops


The group Vets 4 Vets started last year, after the Blazer Dancers were getting dozens of requests to visit troops and military vets. They were in such demand that a group of former Blazer dancers decided to start their own group. The 14 women represent several professional sports teams in addition to the Blazers, including the Seattle Sonics and Seahawks, even the old Portland Lumberjacks. The group has visited several V.A. centers in Oregon and has been to Joint Base Lewis McChord a few times. At Christmas they send cards to the troops serving overseas. Vets 4 Vets Secretary Desiree Goode, Blazer Dancer from 2001-2006, says the goal is just to show vets and troops some appreciation. Vets 4 Vets has applied for non-profit status, which means until then, they can’t accept donations. The members currently pay for all expenses out of pocket. If non-profit status is granted, the group plans to do more outings and put together a calender they can send to troops every year.

[Vets 4 Vets on Facebook]

Finalists Selected For 2012-13 BlazerDancers

Sarah Hecht
Portland Trailblazers
July 18, 2012

Last Saturday and Sunday eager dancers converged on the Trail Blazers’ Tualatin practice facility to put their skills to work for a chance to earn one of 16 coveted spots as a 2012-13 BlazerDancer.

Day one saw the field of new hopefuls learn multiple routines and perform them for the judges of the day—the panel was composed of Trail Blazers broadcasters, local media members and former dancers. The group was narrowed through two rounds of cuts and the remaining dancers learned yet another routine to practice and perform the next day.

[Check out this video of all the day one action.]

The Sunday returners danced before another panel of judges for one more round of cuts. After the morning of auditions the finalists were announced and veterans, who are automatically included in the finals, joined the narrowed field to learn the routines for the finals.

Now, the talented finalists have a week to practice their finals routines and prepare solos before the final audition takes place this Saturday. With every spot up for grabs each year even the veteran dancers are hard at work.

You can watch the entire Finals via a live stream on starting at 12pm this Saturday, July 21st.

[Enjoy a full photo gallery of the first weekend of auditions.]