by Ben Couch
You might know her as the “Jac of All Nets,” or the coach of the NETSational Senior Dancers, or a model in the Capezio catalog, or “that girl” in several commercials or … well, you get the point. However you’re familiar with Nets Dancer Jaclyn, it’s safe to say she’s exploring the opportunities afforded her.
The Pomona, N.Y. native, now in her fourth year with the team, is a Rutgers graduate with a degree in broadcast journalism. Jaclyn recently took time out of her crowded schedule – 16-hour workdays! – for an exclusive interview with NJNets.com.
NJNets.com: You’re entering your fourth year with the Nets Dancers. How’d you get started with the team?
Jaclyn: I was on a Broadway tour, right after I graduated from Rutgers, and I broke my foot on the tour. They sent me home, and after many months of rehab, I heard that Petra Pope was coming over from the Knicks, and she was starting a new team with the Nets. I thought it something I would be interested in, and when I looked it up online, I saw the audition was the next day. So I just showed up, and I’ve been here ever since.
NJNets.com: That’ll do it, ha. Two follow-up questions. First: How’d you break your foot?
Jaclyn: I was on the national tour of the Broadway show Contact, which is all swing dancing, and I was dancing with my partner, who – I don’t want to say he dropped me, but he kind of did. I was in 3-inch heels and when my foot hit the ground, I heard it pop. I finished the show on a broken foot. But once I saw the X-Ray and I saw the purple, I knew it was time to go home.
NJNets.com: And what about Petra coming to the Nets made you want to audition?
Jaclyn: Going to Rutgers, I lived with a couple of the Knicks City Dancers, so I knew about her, I knew her background starting the Laker Girls and coming here to New York. I knew that she would run a great team and a program I’d be proud to be a part of, so I figured I’d give it a try.
NJNets.com: What made you come back after that first year?
Jaclyn: There’s nothing like it. as a dancer, to be able have a steady gig dancing is very rare. I loved all the ladies I danced with, they became best friends of mine and it just doesn’t feel like a job. No matter how many hours we put in, or how many injuries we have, it’s just always fun. There’s no reason to give it up until the time is right.
NJNets.com: In four years, have you made any memorable mistakes?
Jaclyn: Mistakes … let me think. I think everybody’s probably had a mistake now and then. I don’t think I’ve ever done anything absolutely awful. Thank God – knock on wood – I’ve never tripped on my face and fell. Watch – I’ll do that at the next game. Hopefully not.
I would say costume malfunctions are always an issue, that kind of thing. I know I had an issue in my second season with a pair of shorts being too short, and I got in trouble for that, but ironically that picture ended up on the Web site for the dancer contest the NBA has every year. It got us to the second round, so I can’t complain now.
NJNets.com: What’s been your hardest routine?
Jaclyn: We do so many different styles of dance, that’s probably the hardest part, is transitioning. We’ll do something very Broadway-ish; we did a Lion King number last year where we were barefoot. It was very modern and we had a choreographer from the Broadway show come in and teach it. Then we do Fosse-style numbers and we do really serious hip-hop dances. We’re all over the place: salsa, swing – you name it, we do it. That’s what makes it fun. It’s why we like to do what we do; it never makes it boring.
NJNets.com: Do you have a stylistic preference?
Jaclyn: You know, I don’t. I enjoy partner dancing, I think it’s fun and appreciate that we get to do it here as well. But I love hip-hop and jazz; I was trained in jazz my whole life. Whatever we do, I’m loving it. I guarantee you that.
NJNets.com: How’d you get involved with Contact?
Jaclyn: I auditioned when I graduated from college. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, a lifelong dream of mine was always to be on Broadway, and I figured, “Let’s give it a shot, see what happens.” And they hired me.