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Time Magazine: NBA Teams Are Slowly Eliminating All-Female Dance Squads. Dancers Say That’s Sexist.

From Time Magazine

NBA Teams Are Slowly Eliminating All-Female Dance Squads. Dancers Say That’s Sexist.

By Paige Skinner

July 29, 2019

On May 15, an executive with the Sacramento Kings told 48 female contract employees on a conference call that the team would be “evolving” their dance squad, and the women’s contracts would end June 30.

The 48 women made up the official Kings Dancers, the elderly dance team The Classics, and the dance team for the G-League affiliate, the Stockton Kings. The Breakers, a break-dancing team made up of seven male dancers, were not on the call, nor were the co-ed entertainment teams: The Dunking Ushers, Drumline, 91Sticks, and the Sacramento Kings Street Team.

According to two women who were on the call, the executive told them that the Kings were moving in a “more inclusive” direction and would eliminate the three all-female teams, replacing the Kings Dancer and The Classics with a co-ed hip-hop team called the 916 Crew, and replacing the Stockton Kings dancers with a co-ed multi-discipline street team called 209 Hype. The women were encouraged to try out, but were not guaranteed a spot on the new teams—the same process required of them each season. One member of The Classics joked during the call, “I think I can hip, but I don’t think I can hop.”

Kellie Jackson and Mariah Palmiter, both Kings Dancers since 2016, were on the 30-minute call. Palmiter asked if the April hiring of the new Kings head coach, Luke Walton, had anything to do with eliminating the all-female dance teams. Just a few weeks earlier, former Spectrum SportsNet reporter Kelli Tennant had filed a civil lawsuit against Walton accusing him of sexually assaulting her in a hotel room in 2014. Walton has categorically denied the allegations.

Palmiter found the timing suspicious, wondering if the organization was worried about showcasing young female dancers while dealing with the accusations against Walton. But she says when she asked this question, she was told, “We’d like to keep this a productive call.”

A Kings spokesperson told TIME: “[The decision to evolve the dance teams] was discussed internally for months and was finalized before the end of season.”

In the past 14 months, eight of the 30 NBA teams have replaced their all-female dance teams with co-ed groups. It’s a trend that some dancers say reflects a fraught societal response to the #MeToo movement: If there’s any chance you could be accused of sexism, just distance yourself from women. Others wonder if franchises are eliminating all-female squads because of prior pushes for better pay and working conditions. NBA teams insist they are merely diversifying their entertainment squads, but dancers, many of whom have trained and aspired to be on these teams for years, say the decision to replace all-female teams is itself sexist, reducing the number of good career opportunities for women.

NBA dancers have been part of the league for more than 30 years, and while their positions are typically part-time, many dancers say they spend more than 20 hours per week learning, practicing, and performing the dances at games. They also represent the team publicly, volunteering in the community and appearing at events to dance or sign autographs.

Palmiter says the decision feels like “a slap in the face.”

“We were always fighting our own organization to get the credit, attention, and respect that we deserved,” she says, “and in hindsight they were already pushing us out of the door.”

Read the rest of the article at Time.com.

2019 P-R-O Convention All Star: Carolina Panthers TopCats Cheerleader Kayla

One of the most pleasant surprises of this year’s P-R-O Convention was appearance of the Carolina Panthers TopCats.  They sent five representatives to this year’s event and they were a breath of fresh air.  Resplendent in their game day uniforms, the TopCats left a lasting impression and I made it priority to photograph as many of them as I could for this series. 

So without further ado, introducing our newest 2019 P-R-O Convention All Star, Carolina Panthers TopCats cheerleader Kayla.

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We are down to our final 2019 P-R-O Convention All Star, so check tomorrow to see is our special lady.

Random NBA Dance Team Pic of the Day

2019 P-R-O Convention All Star: Cincinnati Ben-Gals Cheerleader Abby

We have another amazing dancer to showcase for you and she was one of a number of dancers who left a lasting impression.  That shouldn’t be surprising since most professional cheerleaders and dancers that are selected for their teams do so because they shine in their own special way.  At least that is what I have seen at auditions.  Anyways, I digress.

Introducing Cincinnati BenGal Abby, our next 2019 P-R-O Convention All Star.

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Only a couple more cheerleaders to feature, so check back tomorrow to see who is our next 2019 P-R-O Convention All Star.

Random NFL Cheerleader Pic of the Day

2019 P-R-O Convention All Star: Charlotte CheckMate Holly

It seems to me that the Charlotte CheckMates are, in some sense, a feeder program to the Charlotte Honey Bees.  I have noticed over the years that several CheckMates ultimately end up on the Charlote Honey Bees and that shouldn’t be surprising since they are both coached by Brandii McCoy.  And let me say that I am a big fan of what she has done with both squads.  The CheckMates and Honey Bees are among my favorite squads to photograph at P-R-O…for obvious reason.

Our next 2019 P-R-O Convention All Star is a member of the Charlotte CheckMates and another one of those “Carolina girls” that stood out at the convention…introducing Charlotte CheckMate Holly, our newest 2019 P-R-O Convention All Star.

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Our parade of P-R-O Convention All Stars is nearing and end, but we still have a few more dancers to feature, so check tomorrow to see who is next.

Random NBA Dance Team Pic of the Day

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers Training Camp

The Buccaneers fans are glowing with optimism over possibly turning the corner this NFL season due to the hiring Bruce Arians. The conventional belief is that offensive minded Arians with his Kangol Cap is the man to elevate quarterback Jameis Winston into the upper tier of NFL’s quarterbacks. The thinking is that the success that the Cardinals enjoyed under Arians will surfaced here in Tampa.
 
In the meantime, Buccaneer Senior Cheerleader Manager, Tara Battiato, has fielded another experienced, talented and beautiful squad for 2019. Enjoy the photos and album.

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Album is HERE

2019 P-R-O Convention All Star: Charlotte Honey Bee Amber

As we approach the conclusion of our coverage from the 2019 P-R-O Convention, we still have a few more amazing cheerleaders and dancers to feature.  I think I photographed near 30 women for this series and we continue our parade of All Stars with a dancer we featured last year.  Introducing Charlotte Honey Bee Amber, our newest 2019 P-R-O Convention All Star.

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Tomorrow is another day and we will have another wonderful dancer to introduce to you, so check back then to see who will be our next 2019 P-R-O Convention All Star.

Random NFL Cheerleader Pic of the Day

2019 P-R-O Convention Memories – Charlotte Honey Bee Amber and Washington Redskins Cheerleader Jaclyn

The P-R-O Convention is a place where you can meet new friends or renew old acquaintances.  It is an event that bonds young women from all over the country into this sorority of professional dancers and cheerleaders.  And I stumbled upon one of these friendships or wass it an acquaintance. Either way it was a spontaneous moment.

As I was finishing up my session with Honey Bee Amber, whom you will see soon, she met up with Washington Redskin Cheerleader Jaclyn, my next model in line, and they posed together for some Instagram memories.  It was a great moment and I decided to take a few snaps for UltimateCheerleaders.com and this is my favorite.

P-R-O Convention sisters and All Stars!

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We continue our parade of All Stars tomorrow with another honoree.  Whom will it be? I think you can guess.

Random NBA Dance Team Pic of the Day

2019 P-R-O Convention All Star: Hunnies Cheerleader Katrina

Another day, another all star!  Our next 2019 P-R-O Convention All Star is a captain of the Hunnies Cheerleaders, an independent cheerleading organization that cheers for the Fayeytteville Marksmen hockey team.  Introducing Hunnies Cheerleader Katrina.

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There’s still more to come, so check back tomorrow to see who is our next 2019 P-R-O Convention All Star cheerleader.

Random NFL Cheerleader Pic of the Day

2019 P-R-O Convention All Star: Charlotte Honey Bee Kendall

Our coverage of the 2019 P-R-O Convention in Atlanta is winding down, but we still have a handful of cheerleaders and dancers to feature.  Our next honoree is a very talented dancer who often helps teach the dances at P-R-O that are choreographed by her coach and director, Brandii McCoy of the Charlotte Hornets.  I recognize that this takes a lot of skill and talent to be so honored with that responsibility and I wanted to feature her in our All Star posts.

So without further ado, introducing Charlotte Honey Bee Kendall, our next 2019 P-R-O Convention All Star.

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So many beautiful and talented dancers were here at P-R-O and we still have a few more left to recognize. Check back tomorrow to see who is next.