By Anthresia McWashington
Alyssa Munson’s dream of dancing has been evident throughout her childhood and even into her collegiate years.
The University of Texas at Austin senior said she’s been heavily involved in different activities — including swim, gymnastics, soccer and tee ball — since she was a little girl.
Her most recent accomplishment, nabbing a spot on the San Antonio Spurs Silver Dancers team in July, is a testament to the hard work and dedication that she’s developed and invested over time.
“I rekindled a passion for dance in middle school, where I was an inaugural member of Brabham Middle School’s Sophistikats,” Munson said.
While there and later as a Willis High School Sweetheart Munson learned the dancing and leadership fundamentals that have established her as a professional today.
The biology major and business minor also spent time as a dancer and later co-director for the Austin Vipers semi-pro football team, but a life-threatening incident in the spring of 2012 had the potential of putting her dancing career to a halt.
“I was in a car wreck and broke my cervical vertebrae,” Munson said. “It was pretty bad, and all I was thinking about was ‘I’m a dancer, how can my neck be broken.”
Pam Munson Jones, Munson’s mother, said that she was afraid her daughter may never walk again.
“She was at risk of being paralyzed,” Jones said. “It was a really scary time. She couldn’t walk, she couldn’t take care of herself — it truly is a miracle that she is alive and how far she’s come in three years. If you look at her now you’d never know, but we know.”
Munson spent the next few months regaining her strength, determined to get back on the Vipers field when she returned to school that fall.
Almost three years later, Munson said a group of her friends encouraged her to audition for the San Antonio Spurs Silver Dancers team in July.
“Being a professional dancer for the NFL or NBA has always been a dream of mine, but I never had a timeline,” Munson said. “It was kind of a spontaneous decision.”
Munson attended the first day of tryouts in Austin competing against about 200 other dancers for a spot in the second round.
After a series of cuts, rigorous boot camps with tough choreography and one-on-one interviews with Spurs executives and the director of the Silver Dancers, Munson made it to the final round, a public performance at the Arneson River Theater, vying for one of 16 spots with 29 other women.
Munson was selected along with a handful of other rookies for a spot on the squad.
“I was really grateful because I got to have my friends, my boyfriend and my family,” Munson said. “It was definitely one of the greatest days that I’ve had so far.”
“She’s really living her dream,” Jones said. “The Spurs is a great organization and we’re extremely proud of her.”
Munson said her plans after graduating next spring aren’t yet set in stone, but she is considering medical school with no desires to put her dancing shoes down in the foreseeable future.
To young women and girls from small towns who also have big aspirations for large platforms, Munson said to use every opportunity as a stepping stone.
“Growing up in my small town, I loved it,” she said. “I definitely got all the preparation I needed to be successful with dancing and drill team. I was really involved with the community.
“The Silver Dancers are major ambassadors for the Spurs brand, and the face that people see out there giving back and being active. That sets a good example for girls to look up to even if they don’t want to be an NBA dancer, I hope they see that you can come from any background and make a dream come true.”
by Lauren Dodd
August 11, 2015
A Killeen-area resident recently was selected to join the Spurs Silver Dancers for the team’s 24th season as the official on-court dance team for the San Antonio Spurs.
Indey Whigham, a 2013 graduate of Harker Heights High School and a student at Texas State University, underwent a grueling audition process this summer to become one of the newest members of the Spurs Silver Dancers.
“It was very, very stressful,” Whigham said. “We started the first day with 133 girls. By the end of the second day, there were only 30 girls left.”
On July 26, 30 women auditioned at the Arneson River Theater in San Antonio in front of judges, retired Spurs basketball player George “The Iceman” Gervin, former Silver Dancer Alanna Sarabia and radio personality Geoff Sheen.
“We did our dance, and then performed a solo; (the judges) deliberated for 15 minutes and then they finally called out the girls who made the team. Only 16 were chosen,” Whigham said.
Whigham has danced all her life, but this latest accomplishment is the peak of her young career.
“I started dancing when I was 3. I’ve always been involved in dance,” Whigham said. “I did studio dance. In middle school, I was part of the Union Grove Golden Bells. Then at Harker Heights (High School), I was part of the Crimson Belles.”
Whigham will be back at Texas State University in the fall as a junior and said she has a busy year ahead.
“So far (my coach) told us we will be dancing up to 30 hours a week,” Whigham said.
“I think it’ll be stressful once basketball season starts, but I think it’s going to be really exciting. I’m going to be very busy, but I think I’ll like it and it’ll be worth it.”
Her mother, Melissa Adams, said her daughter was born ready to dance.
”She’s always been a little dancer — that’s why I put her in dance. She just loves dance,” Adams said.
The oldest of four children, Whigham said her three younger brothers have mixed feelings about her dancing career.
“I think they’re happy for me, but they just don’t care for dance,” Whigham said.
Her dad, Josh Adams, said this latest development in Whigham’s career will take some getting used to.
“It’s pretty exciting, I’m proud of her … to know that there’s going to be millions of people watching her dance at halftime, it’s pretty cool,” Adams said.
Whigham hopes her story will inspire young girls in the area to shoot for the stars.
“Keep going. I know when I was younger, I didn’t always want to go to practice. But it’s worth it … in the end you really do love it and appreciate it,” Whigham said. “Just keep on practicing.”
On July 26th, the top 30 Spurs Silver Dancers finalists will audition in front of a live audience. Don’t miss your chance to meet the finalists, watch them perform, and watch the announcement of the 2015-16 Silver Dancers!
Where: Arneson River Theater on the Riverwalk
When: Sunday, July 26th, 7:00-9:00pm. Doors open at 6:30pm.
Admission: $5 donation to local flood relief fund through Silver & Black Give Back.
But in the meantime you can cast your vote for who you think should make the squad.
Cast your vote here.
The Spurs Silver Dancers will host five prep classes, beginning Sunday, May 31 and leading up to the July 18 Silver Dancer Auditions. Sessions are available in San Antonio and San Marcos.
The classes will be taught by Silver Dancers Choreographer Katie Gibbons, and will cover a wide range of styles including jazz, jazz funk, hip hop, heel and pom. Each of the five sessions lasts two-and-a-half hours and will feature two short, unique routines to help prepare dancers for team auditions.
Attendees are encouraged to dress in comfortable clothing, and to bring several changes of shoes to accommodate different routine styles. There is no limit to the number of prep classes a dancer can attend, and the classes are not required for Silver Dancer Auditions. Prep classes and auditions are open to those 18 years of age and older as of August 1, 2015. Pre-registration is not necessary for prep classes, but is encouraged for Silver Dancer Auditions. For more information on the 2015 Silver Dancer audition prep classes, go to Spurs.com/SilverDancers.
George Gervin Youth Center
6944 S. Sunbelt Dr.
San Antonio, TX 78218
Sunday, May 31 from 2 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Wednesday, June 17 from 6:30 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Thursday, July 9 from 6:30 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Wednesday, July 15 from 6:30 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Registration fee: $25
San Marcos Student Recreation Center
1001 Academy St.
San Marcos, TX 78666
Saturday, June 13 from 2 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Registration fee: $25
The Spurs Silver Dancers are entering their 24th season of entertaining fans as the official on-court dance team for the San Antonio Spurs. In addition to their game night performances, they are active members of the community, making appearances and attending events throughout the year, as well as leading Jr. Silver Dancer clinics throughout South Texas.
The San Antonio Spurs. Perhaps nothing in the Alamo City unifies the locals together like our beloved NBA team, who won their fifth championship last summer as they throttled the Miami Heat with a 4-1 NBA Finals series win.
But beyond the glitz and glamour of the Spurs championship pedigree over the years, are people who work just as hard behind the scenes. And front and center of that hard work are the Spurs Silver Dancers, who are sponsored by World Car.
Their ability get the crowd to cheer and yell as loud as they possibly can has given the Spurs one of the best home court advantages in league. Their knack to galvanize people doesn’t stop on game day, as these young ladies are prominent pillars of hope for the youth of our society.
Dance, Dance, Dance
Dancer Taylor, from San Antonio, was one of six dancers who recently participated in a photo shoot featuring a 2015 KIA Soul and 2015 KIA Optima.
Taylor said she has been dancing since she was in high school and was proud to be member of the Spurs dance team.
“I like it,” she said. “It’s always fun to do charity events, visit group homes, and of course watch the Spurs play and get the crowd going.
“This season, the game that really stands out for me was the first game,” she added. “It was against the Mavericks and of course we had the ring ceremony. It was just such a festive atmosphere and a joy to be a part of.”
photo 9 300×219 Spurs Silver Dancers Driven by World Car Paige, from Austin, added that she has been dancing for 12 years and felt a strong sense of fulfillment when she became a member of the Silver Dancers.
“It’s a really good feeling,” she explained. “It’s a passion that you’ve fallowed your whole life and it has paid off into becoming a professional dancer. You’re out there doing what you love to do, which is dancing and performing.”
Jaclyn, from Kyle, said she was attending UTSA when she found out about an open audition and jumped at the chance to try out.
“It was a long time coming,” she said. “Dancing is a sport onto itself, a definite cardio workout. We’re really a big deal. When we visit kids they think we’re like superheroes and they want to take pictures with us and it’s a great feeling to be a positive role model in the community.”
Jaclyn said that she enjoys meeting new people at different events and being a Silver Dancer allowed her to visit Berlin, Germany and Istanbul, Turkey this preseason when the Spurs participated in the NBA’s global game series.
“It was great,” she added. “We were on a plane with Coach Pop and all the players and collectively (as dancers) we got to do some sight-seeing. There is never a dull moment being a part of the Spurs.”
Doug Hester, Partnership Activation Coordinator for Spurs Sports and Entertainment, said working with the Spurs organization was a dream come true and that he thoroughly enjoys his job, which includes working with organizations like World Car.
“I activate and full fill partnerships with sponsors,” he said. “I enjoy working with the Spurs as it lets me see the games from a different perspective. Sometimes, I do have encounters with the players. Matt Bonner is a really personable guy and so is Patty Mills.”
Hester recently purchased a Mazda3 from World Car and couldn’t be happier with his investment.
“It’s a good car,” he said. “I wanted a stick shift, a 4.0 cylinder car, and this one is sporty and fun. Best of all its economical.”
Katie Gibbons, coordinator for the Silver Dancers, said it was imperative for the group to not only give back to the community, but to support the sponsor that allows them to bring the Spurs’ crowd to life during time-outs on game day.
“When it comes to a partnership, where we’re presenting ourselves at events then (photo) shoots like this are fun to do,” she said. “World Car has been great and it’s fun to be a part of the partnership and give back to them.”
See more photos from the shoot here.
By Lorne Chan
Stefani Montiel may be a Grammy-nominated Tejano star, but for 16 years, she’s been upstaged over and over again by the same person:
Zavala is Montiel’s daughter, and even as a toddler she would wander on stage during her mother’s shows, striking poses and hugging fans in the front row. Zavala may be the youngest of the Silver Dancers at 18 years old, but she’s played to crowds for almost her entire life.
“She would pretty much take over the show starting all the way back to when she was 2,” Stefani Montiel said. “She grew up around performing, and it was like she was destined to do what she’s doing now.”
Mother and daughter will be on the AT&T Center court together on Sunday for Los Spurs day, when the Silver and Black face Chicago. Montiel will be singing, while her daughter provides backup.
Montiel has performed the national anthem at Spurs games before, and her cover band Lush also has played at the AT&T Center’s Overtime after games. Montiel will be back to perform at Overtime on April 3. Her daughter, meanwhile, is in her first season as a Silver Dancer.
“I’ve gotten a little better at dancing since I was 2,” Zavala said. “Once, I did a pose during a game that someone noticed looked exactly like my mom’s pose on a CD cover. I didn’t plan it or anything, it was just natural.”
Montiel has won numerous Tejano Music Awards and has been nominated for three Grammy Awards and three Latin Grammy Awards. But she said performing in front of 10,000 fans doesn’t compare to watching her daughter dance in front of a packed crowd at the AT&T Center.
“I’m so proud,” Montiel said. “It’s surreal, because even when she’s on the court, she’s still my little girl.”
When Montiel goes to Spurs games, she ends up watching the dancers more than any of the action on the floor.
“She has a dance background too, so she’ll record our routines,” Ileah said. “I think my mom notices more with my dancing than any coach ever has.”
Ileah grew up on the road, following her parents as they were on tour for about 200 days a year when she was young. Ileah’s father and Stefani’s husband Gabriel Zavala also is Stefani’ producer.
Stefani said she never wanted to push her daughter into performing, but Ileah always ended up dancing anyway. Ileah said she may follow her mother into singing some day, but for now, she’s “living a dream” as a Silver Dancer.
By the time Ileah was 16, she officially became one of Stefani’s backup dancers. She still performs with her mother sometimes, although life as a Silver Dancer has become the priority. In January, Zavala missed a game to perform with her mother on a “Tejano Legends” cruise trip to Jamaica.
When Ileah was 17, she was captain of dance team for the San Antonio Talons, an Arena Football League team.
But Ileah, who graduated from Brennan High School last year, said she still didn’t think she would make the cut for the Silver Dancers when she auditioned over summer.
Her mother had no doubt.
“I’ve been performing for years, but I’ve never seen anyone as naturally comfortable as Ileah when she’s up there,” Stefani said. “She has these big dreams, and you could always tell she was a budding superstar.”
[Ileah and Stefani Gallery]
The newest members of the five time NBA Champions’ dance squad have been announced and we have your first look! Lori Gorry is a returning Silver Dancer and is here to tell us about the audition process and a little about what all of the members experienced!
Auditions for the San Antonio Spurs Silver Dancers started off this weekend. Check out the photo galleries on the Spurs website. Day One | Day Two
1982-83 NBA San Antonio Spurs Quicksilver Jazz Dance Troupe
The San Antonio Spurs have unveiled a brand new design for their dance team pages. Click here to check it out and learn more about the ladies on the team!
A San Antonio Spurs Silver Dancer
The San Antonio Silver Dancers were transformed into Zombies for the Spurs home opener last week. Plenty of photos and video and the link.
[San Antonio Silver Zombies]
Members of the San Antonio Spurs Silver Dancers traveled to Mexico City last month to promote the Spurs regular season game against the Timberwolves coming up this December.
[Silver Dancers in Mexico Blog]
[Silver Dancers in Mexico Gallery]
[Silver Dancers in Mexico Video]
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.
By Clara Sandoval
Laredo Morning Times
August 26, 2013
SAN ANTONIO — The Spurs have a large following in Laredo as Spurs Nation stands strong and tall when they hit the floor every season.
Laredoan Clarissa Pena is vying to become part of the San Antonio Silver Dancers that entertain the crowds at all the Spurs home games with their choreographed dance moves.
Pena, a 2008 graduate of Nixon, is putting her best foot forward as she is one of six finalists for the last three spots with the Silver Dancers.
She is vying for the dance gig, but she needs Laredo’s help to make the team as online voting will determine who earns the last three spots.
The online voting starts today and finishes on Thursday as people can log on to Spurs.com and click on Clarissa Pena to vote for her.
Pena battled 93 other dancers in the two-day audition and 16 have already been named to the team.
“I feel a whole mixture of emotions,” shes said.
“Imagine being nervous, excited, happy, and anxious all in one moment, every hour of the day. I had so much energy that I didn’t want to sleep.
Most of all, I feel really blessed and honored to have had the opportunity to make it this far.
“No matter what happens, I know that God has a plan, and I will be happy with whatever he deems is best.
It’s not over, so I’m keeping my faith strong and am going to need Laredo’s help to make this dream a reality.
I’m also extremely happy to be able to go out there and represent Laredo.
I’ve lived in San Antonio for the last five years, so it does have a big piece of my heart, but Laredo will always be right there next to it.
Laredo made me who I am today, and I will never forget that.”
Pena recently graduated with Cum Laude honors from St. Mary’s University with a double major in psychology and marketing and currently works for Teach for America in San Antonio.
She is also a dance instructor for the St. Mary’s dance team.
Pena has an extensive dancing background that started at Diana Rendon’s Dance Academy for 16 years before she moved on to the Nixon cheerleading team and ended with the St. Mary’s dance team for the past four years.
This is not the first time that Pena has flirted with the Silver Dancers.
For the past five years, she toyed with the notion of auditioning before trying out last year.
Pena’s hopes of becoming part of the Silver Dancers stopped in the auditions but that only fueled her fire as she vowed to come back stronger this year.
“I’ve known about tryouts for the last five years but finally got the courage to tryout last year,” Pena said.
“Although my journey in the audition process last summer was short lived, I knew I couldn’t give up.
I spent the rest of the year coaching a dance team as well as practicing my technique whenever I had free time. I wanted to be ready and come back stronger for this year’s tryout process.”
Pena went to work since the day she was cut from the auditions and in a year went from not making the team to to being in the running for the last three spots.
“I feel like I’ve really been preparing all year long,” she said.
“Whenever I had some free time, I would work on different technique elements and focused on building on my strengths and improving my weaknesses.
Then in late March, I auditioned for the San Antonio Silver Stars Star Squad and made the team.
“I was so excited to be dancing for a crowd again.
This was the best preparation because the choreographer was always helping push the dancers, myself included, to be the best dancers we could be.
I also met some great friends, one of which who just made it to the Silver Dancers team, who really helped me improve on my dancing ability.”