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

From KXL.com

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 Trailblazers.tv starting at 12pm this Saturday, July 21st.

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

Former BlazerDancer Raising Funds for Solo Album

Shannon Bex grew up in Bend and graduated from Mt View High School. She returned 5 years ago with her husband Ron Basada. Shannon was a Blazer Dancer for 5 years. She then went on the show Fame in which she got runner up. Later Shannon was featured on MTV’s show Making The Band in which P.Diddy selected her as one of the 5 members to make up the music group Danity Kane. The group went Double Platinum. After it’s final episode on MTV, Shannon started pursuing her solo career in country soul.

Shannon is currently working with Pledge EP to launch her solo album. The EP album will only go through if Shannon reaches 100% of the money needed. So far with the pledges made by fans she is at 67%. She has only 4 more days with approximately $6,000 left to raise. If she does not reach the goal, EP will not complete the album and those who donated will be refunded their money. If she does reach her goal, 8% will go to OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital and her Solo Album will be produced.

This is a life long dream for Shannon and she has worked hard to achieve it. Shannon really needs the support of her home town at this late hour to help reach this goal. She is loved by all of her fans as she is a sweet, humble, and amazing women. Shannon is also known in Oregon from the years she spent as a BlazerDancer and singing the national anthem at Blazer games. Please help Shannon raise sufficient funds in time by going to her website today and pledging money for any of the packages offered.

[Shannon’s Project at PledgeMusic.com]

[Shannon Bex Official Website]

Aloha Stories

Aloha High School teacher and former Blazers dancer says Aloha High crowd was better than any Blazers game

By Casey Parks
The Oregonian

For about 10 years, Aloha High School health teacher Marlene Kanehailua pulled double-duty as a dancer for the Portland Trailblazers. In 2000, her worlds collided when the Blazer Dancers performed at the first Aloha High School Jam the Gym. In her “Aloha Story,” she talks about how much better the Aloha crowd was than a typical basketball fan crowd.

“The crowd went crazy,” she said. “For me, it was like wow.”

Listen to Marlene’s story or download the mp3 here.

2011-12 BlazerDancers

The Portland Trailblazers dance team is ready for action! Click here to check out their new photos.

2011-12 BlazerDancers

The Portland Trailblazers website has been updated with new photos of this year’s squad. Click here to go there now.

Rachel, Veronica, and Kelly

Video: NBA Madness in the Philippines

BlazerDancers In Manila: NBA Madness Ensues

By Sarah Hecht
Portland Trailblazers
9/30/2011

[Photo Gallery]

The BlazerDancers are in the midst of a whirlwind NBA Madness tour of the Philippines with NBA Legend Clyde Drexler . As one of two NBA dance teams—the other being the Magic Dancers—representing the league, they’re sharing hoops with the people of Manila on a non-stop adventure.

Sunday afternoon six BlazerDancers—Eri, Rea, Michelle, Stephanie, Kimberly and CaMicha—accompanied by Performance Teams Manager Michelle Woodard began their journey and hopped a 16-hour flight bound for the Philippines.

Day one saw the tour grind to a halt before even starting. What was supposed to be a well-oiled itinerary was thrown asunder by a visit from Typhoon Nesat. Racing winds coupled with drenching rains resulted in the cancellation of NBA Madness plans for the day.

A day later, after the storm cleared, activities resumed at a break-neck pace. St. Dominic College of Asia played host to the opening events of day two. Drexler instructed eager students at a hoops clinic and the BlazerDancers taught a routine during their time on stage.

Woodard called the enthusiasm at St. Dominic’s the highlight of the day. “It was the most incredible, overwhelmingly fun experience I think for any of us,” Woodard said. “We were shocked at how enthusiastic the kids were. It was insanity. They were excited before people got there and then they sustained that energy for two hours.”

With NBA mania in full swing in Manila the BlazerDancers moved into a third day jam-packed with events. BlazerDancer Eri engaged in a very special experience. Of Japanese descent, and fluent in the language, she held an interview with TV WOWOW of Tokyo and graciously posed for a small photo shoot—sure to result with her being marketed in Japan. The media session was followed by another school assembly and the NBA Madness crew rounded out the day at a pop-a-shot challenge hosted by Coors Light.

Reception for the NBA ambassadors has been through the roof. “They’re just excited about the NBA period. There have been some really good emcees so they get the crowd going and really amped up and we’ve been told everywhere that the Philippines, surprisingly, are huge basketball fans overall,” said Woodard.

As the NBA Madness marquee event draws nearer Drexler, the BlazerDancers and the Magic Dance team continue to promote the sport to an enthusiastic fan base halfway around the world.

Stay tuned for more from Clyde Drexler and the BlazerDancers at NBA Madness!