Nets Dancer a ‘Jac’ of All Trades

by Ben Couch
NJNETS.COM

Jaclyn, NJ Nets 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.

Jaclyn, NJ Nets 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.

Check out parts two and three of Jaclyn’s interview.

[New Jersey Nets Dancers]

Eagles Cheerleader Around Town

Reader Mike sends some photos of the Eagles Cheerleaders from last Saturday, quite possibly the last photos of the 2008-09 squad we will have.

Eagles CheerleadersEagles Cheerleaders
Alexandra and Kristin at the Travel Expo Event at the Linc.

Eagles Cheerleaders
Dana and Marisa at the Vorhees Town Center

Eagles CheerleadersEagles Cheerleaders
Marisa and Dana

Open Call Auditions for the 2009-10 Eagles Cheerleaders are Saturday, March 28th. Full details here.

Dancer Bowl-Off and Watch Party

Dance Team beauties from the Sixers Dancers and Wings Angels will go head-to-head in the first ever “Dancer Beauty Bowl-Off” during a double viewing party at Pinsetter Bar and Bowl in Pennsauken, NJ on Friday, February 27 beginning at 7 p.m. The winner of the bowl-off will donate tickets for a future Philadelphia 76ers or Wings game to local women’s charities in the Philadelphia region.

Sixers Dancers Bowl OffSixers Dancers Bowl Off

Fans will be able to meet all the dancers while watching the 76ers at the New York Knicks (7:30 p.m. on CN8) and the Philadelphia Wings at the Edmonton Rush (9:30 p.m. on NLL Network) – all on the big screens at Pinsetter Bar and Bowl. One lucky group of fans will also be selected to play the winning dance team in a bowling match on Friday night.

The Sixers Dancers and Wings Angels have received renowned local and national attention for their respective Dance Team Calendars for 2009. Calendars will be on sale for fans to purchase and get autographed by their favorite dancer. Admission to the event is free.

Wings Angels Promote Heart Healthy Month

Friday the 13th was unlucky for the Wings as they lost a defensive struggle to the visiting Boston Blazers 8-4.

Wings Angels
Meanwhile the Angels donned t-shirts to promote Heart Healthy Month

Wings Angels
In the tunnel before the game

Wings Angels
The Angels signature move

Wings Angels
Captain Stephanie takes the field at the end of the 1st quarter.

Wings Angels
At halftime fans lined up for Angels autogrpahs

Wings Angels
Stopping by to visit was former Angel Amy, who last danced for the team in 2007.

Wings Angels
Marie and Mad Dog

The rest of the photos here.

[Philadelphia Wings Angels]

Axe Maidens Double-Decker Bus Pub Crawl

On February 22bd fans and members of the Axe Maidens boarded a big red double-decker bus for their first Pub Crawl around Jacksonville. Riding on the bus was a lot of fun even though it was windy in the upper deck, and made for some funny pictures. Axe Maidens, Erinn, Amy and Keana took advantage of the scenery along the St Johns River to take some beautiful photos.

Axe Maidens

Axe Maidens

Axe Maidens

Along the way there was raffles with prizes that included a hat owned by Russell Crowe, Jacksonville Axemen season tickets and the opportunity to be a guest judge at the Axe Maidens auditions. In addition, everyone on the bus was given a special Axe Maidens Pub Crawl t-shirt thanks to our sponsors Vivid Images USA Inc. (Screen printing, embroidered apparel & hats)

Axe Maidens

Axe Maidens

Axe Maidens

[Axe Maidens on MySpace]

Wedding Bells in the Future for Emily Kuchar

Former Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader Emily Kuchar and Kansas City Royals pitcher Zack Greinke are engaged.

Emily

From MLB.com

For 7 1/2 years, since high school at Apopka (Fla.) High, Greinke has been in a relationship with Emily Kuchar. She’s a bright, energetic former Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader, a dancer and a model, and Miss Daytona Beach USA 2008. Emily even has her own
Web site.

And now, at last, Zack and Emily are going to be married.

When?

“Sometime this offseason,” he said. “She tried to make it Oct. 10. I told her, ‘That’s probably not going to work out, Emily. You know how much trouble I could get in if you do that? Please push it back.'”

Clearly, in the world of Zack, that part of the calendar is marked “Playoffs.”

Fly Khicks

Short look at Fly Khicks (former Miami Heat Dancers) from our good friend Aubrey Aquino. They’ve made it to the final three on this season’s America’s Best Dance Crew.

Aubrey has also been busy at the Super Bowl and the NBA All-Star Game. See what else she’s been up to at AubreyAquino.com.

Local Woman Enjoying Time with New Orleans Hornets Honeybees

By Thad Angelloz
The Daily Comet

You wouldn’t think cheerleading would bring an already close family closer.

But according to Krista Neal, that’s exactly what happened after she was chosen to become a New Orleans Hornets Honeybee in July of 2007.

Neal, who has four sisters and one brother, said her family loves to watch her perform at games.

“My mom has always supported me, but because of work my dad missed a lot of my recitals and dances when I was younger,” Neal said. “Since I’ve become a Honeybee he’s had more opportunities to see me dance. My brother and sisters also like to see me dance. It’s a blast for me to have my own fan club.”

KristaStrangely enough, the 20-year-old Honeybee never thought of herself as an NBA cheerleader when she graduated from Hahnville High School.

Despite dancing since the age of 5 and attending American All-Stars dance camp in high school, Neal didn’t give cheerleading much thought as she prepared to enter her freshman year at Nicholls State University.

“Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d be doing this right now,” she said.

But after hearing about a Honeybee audition through the Internet, Neal decided to give it a shot.

Surprisingly, Neal soon became a finalist after making her way through two cuts and a thorough interview.

She estimates more than 100 women attended the tryouts.

The dance team ended up keeping 21 women.

“My first plan was to try and be a Saintsation,” Neal said. “After I found out I had missed the tryouts I decided to go to the Honeybee tryouts. I’m a big basketball fan so I thought it would be a good fit for me.”

Former Honeybee and current manager and dance team choreographer, Ashley Deaton, said she knew Neal was right for the job the moment she met her.

“Krista may look like the girl next door off the court, but she really turns it on when she performs,” Deaton said. “You can tell she loves it and that she’s having the time of her life. Because of that you can’t take your eyes off her. She’s the kind of girl we need on the court. This was obvious to us at auditions, so we had to select her for our team.”

Neal doesn’t believe there’s any down side to being a Honeybee.

Her favorite things about being a representative of an NBA franchise are getting to meet different people and having the chance to be a role model for younger girls.

“I know they (young girls) look up to me,” Neal said. “I always think about that in everything that I do.”

After holding down an outside job, dancing and attending Nicholls last year, Neal decided to take a semester off this spring to manage her schedule better.

“It got to be where it was too much,” the elementary education major said. “I’m going to go back to school this summer, but with the way things were for me I thought I needed to drop something for now.”

Although she calls Luling home, Neal’s originally from Houma and still has family members who live in Terrebonne Parish.

Her love of dancing and her so-called “Honeybee family” has made her strongly consider a future beyond the Honeybees.

“I could see myself starting up a dance studio or something,” Neal said. “I really enjoy dancing, and getting the chance to share that with others would be nice.”

Neal credits the New Orleans Hornets organization for making her feel at ease whenever she steps on the court to perform.

“They (team’s administration) genuinely care about us,” Neal said. “They don’t ever put us in an uncomfortable situation and this opportunity has allowed me to do a lot of things out in the community.”

[New Orleans Honeybees]

Christian Naven, Head Coach Sixers Dancers

It’s been a exciting half year for Christian Naven.

Sixers Dancers

At end of last June, she to came from Illinois to Philadelphia to be the new Sixers Dancers Head Coach. She barely had time to catch her breath before auditions started. Two rounds of cuts and a final audition at Chickie’s Pete’s produced a squad of 10 veterans and 6 rookies, a team of great dancers that will connect with the fans.

But Christian was busy with a lot more than selecting her new squad. Lining up sponsorships, new uniforms, preparations for the new Sixers Dancers Calendar (which has been a huge success) were all tasks that she normally would have been working on when the basketball season ended in the spring. Add on twice-weekly three-hour rehearsals on top her already compressed schedule and you can see why Christian might need to catch up on her sleep.

But she’s no stranger to multitasking. Back when she was a student at Illinois State University, she was the coach of the dance team, The Redline Express. While she was running the squad she had to come up with new composition and routines for her classes (she was a dance major) and at the same time she needed to create new choreography for for classes she taught at a local dance studio.br /br /Christian stayed at ISU has been coaching The Redline Express for the past 7 years. In that time she’s had dancers go to the NBA and NFL as well as perform in music videos and at local concerts.

And she has lots of big plans. For game night she says, “The Dancer’s routines will be sharp and innovative. My goal is to continue to see that they perform with charisma in front of the most loyal fans in the league.” While she describes her style as “Hot Jazz” a fusion of Hip Hop and Technical Jazz, the Dancers will be performing all styles of dance this season. Christian says she wants the fans at the Wachovia Center to be constantly thinking, “What will the Sixers Dancers be doing next?”

And so once Christian gets some free time, what does she plan to do? Actually she’s going to dance some more. She has always wanted to learn Salsa and Ballroom Dance and she’s looking forward to taking advantage of some of the great dance studios that Philadelphia has to offer. Aside from dance Christian love watching movies and reading. A self-described bookwork she lists Push Comes to Shove, the autobiography of Twyla Tharp, as her favorite book.

[Philadelphia Sixers Dancers]