Heat dancer gets first look at Sports Illustrated swimsuit spread

By Madeleine Marr
The Miami Herald
02.16.09

Ashley Allen caused a scene at her local Barnes & Noble in Boca Raton on Thursday. That’s when the rookie Miami Heat dancer, 20, got her first look at her spread in the 2009 Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition.

”I was jumping up and down with my mother,” Allen said Friday on her way to Disney World. “She is so proud — she knows how hard I’ve worked to get here. And to be chosen as a rookie, wow!”

Last fall, after SI selected Allen — who sent the magazine a picture of herself in a skimpy training outfit — she and nine other NBA dancers were flown to New York for the one-day shoot. They posed at a downtown pier from 8 in the morning till 8 at night.

Though Allen, a double-major in communications and business at Florida Atlantic University, is thrilled, she realizes now the pressure is on to look good.

”I’ve got to continue watching my eating habits and training really hard,” Allen says, adding, “Our outfits are a little bit revealing.”

Also, such international exposure can be career-altering: the issue’s cover gal, Leonardo DiCaprio’s girlfriend Bar Refaeli, is really on the map now.

”I’m still trying to process it all,” Allen says. “I haven’t gotten used to the idea.”

Are the other Heat dancers just a little bit jealous?

“Not at all. They know everyone has their moment in time to shine.”

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]

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.

Gilbert woman finds fame in swimsuit issue

by Katherine Greene
The Arizona Republic
Feb. 24, 2009

Fame hit Gilbert’s Kayla Oberg when she least expected it.

The “Sports Illustrated” swimsuit model was at the grocery store with no make-up on, wet hair and glasses. She was putting the contents of her cart on the conveyor belt to check out when the older man in front of her asked when the new “Sports Illustrated” was coming out.

Oberg panicked.

“I was like, ‘Please, don’t look this way!'” she said.

She turned her face away and forgot to take all of the items out of her cart.

“I’ve never stolen anything in my entire life and here I was about to jack a Valentine’s Day card,” she said, giggling. “I was so nervous.”

Oberg, a Phoenix Suns dancer, is one of ten NBA dancers featured in this year’s Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. It hit newsstands Feb. 11.

Oberg said she got a wave of text messages the day before that, when the photos went online.

“It’s kind of overwhelming,” she said.

The Time Inc.-owned magazine chose Oberg after seeing photos of her published on the NBA Web site, she said. Last year, the magazine featured 10 NFL cheerleaders.

The shyness Oberg experienced in the grocery store isn’t normal for her, she said. Four years of work as a NBA dancer helped her get comfortable in front of the Sports Illustrated cameras during the 13-hour shoot, even in her skivvies.

“When you dance for the Suns you have to have 100 percent confidence. Otherwise, you couldn’t get out there,” she said.

The toughest part of the photo shoot wasn’t getting in front of the cameras, she said; it was waiting to see the photos afterward.

The magazine’s representative showed Oberg only one photo two days before the photos went online.

“I’m actually more nervous that it’s out, knowing everyone can see it,” she said.

Oberg was born in Mesa and grew up in Gilbert, attending Gilbert High School and enrolling in Arizona State University for a short time. Her husband of 10 months owns the Stax Burger Bistro in Scottsdale.

Her husband and father were a little wary of Oberg having the photos taken, but they’ve both been supportive, she said.

“They’re just so proud of me,” she said.

Oberg has wanted to be a performer almost all her life. The passion started when she was 4, in a dance class taught by Amy Mickelson, golfer Phil’s wife.

Amy Mickelson was a dancer for the Suns at the time, Oberg said, and it inspired her to perform. As soon as Oberg was old enough to audition, she did – and made it. The first year she was part of the team, the Mickelsons attended a game.

“I was so excited,” she said. “I don’t even think she recognized me.”

Oberg has made the team every year since.

She doesn’t see much of a future for herself in modeling, Oberg said. Her 5’2″ frame limits where she can apply. Most modeling agencies ask that you not send in photos unless you’re 5’9″, she said.

And her addiction to the food at her husband’s restaurant has her a little worried about the future of her figure, she said. To stay in shape, she walks her two puppies every other day. But she also has dance practice twice a week and performances during games that help her stay slim.

If any modeling jobs come her way, she’d jump at the chance, she said.

And she hopes to have kids in the next few years, she said.

Meanwhile, she’ll stick with dancing.

Click here to see her Sports Illustrated video.

This Laker Girl is a reel artist

By Phil Friedman, Correspondent
The Daily Breeze
02/19/2009

As you look out on the court at Staples Center Friday night, you will see Laker Girl Stefanie. She embodies what Laker Girls director Lisa Estrada and the Laker Girls are all about. Beautiful young ladies, who put in endless hours on their routines to entertain throngs of Laker fans.

The Laker Girls are dedicated to making a difference in their communities, participating in everything from events encouraging youngsters to read to Christmas fishing trips for homeless children. The Laker Girls are smart, beautiful, hard-working and civic-minded ladies.

It’s hard to believe when you watch Stefanie perform her routines or help a child to read that deep down she is also a hard-core angler.

Stefanie grew up in Alaska, where fishing is second nature.

“Everyone, men and women, fish and hunt in Alaska,” Stefanie said.

Her father, Lewis, loved fishing more than anything and the fact he could do it with his daughter made these angling excursions even more special. Lewis had a plane that transported them to some of the most remote and beautiful parts of our 49th state.

Stefanie was 6 months old when her father took her on her first fishing trip. With that first trip with her father, she was hooked. Fishing became the activity the two could do together. Sometimes they would make a day of it and other times the adventure would last several days camping out in the breathtaking Alaskan wilderness.

“My dad would fish all night long,” she said. “It’s as if he just couldn’t get enough.”

Stefanie even had a favorite spot.

“I don’t even remember exactly where it was but it was like an enchanted garden with clear water with beautiful boulders,” she said. “I just loved being there, and my dad knew it.

“If I didn’t feel like going fishing, all my dad would have to say is, `I’ll take you to your favorite spot.’ The next thing I knew, we were in the plane.”

She has compiled a great list catches that include numerous king salmon to 30 pounds, halibut to 70 pounds, a 30-pound lingcod, trout, even a shark.

“I just love to be on the water,” she said. “There is nothing more beautiful and peaceful than a day on the water,” the Laker Girl said.

But for the 23-year-old beauty , the best thing about fishing is the time she spent with her father.

“It (fishing) gave us something to do together,” she said. “Fishing made us and has kept us close through today and beyond.”

Although Stefanie says her heart is still in Alaska, it’s only there for the summer.

“It’s just too cold for me now,” she said. “My dad said I was made for Southern California.”

Fish talk: “Sportfishing Saturday” with Philip Friedman airs at 9 a.m. on KLAC (570 AM) and will have Bart Hall and Mike Lum as guests from the Fred Hall Fishing, Tackle and Boat Show this week. They will be discussing all the great sights and sounds of what many call the greatest fishing show on earth, set to open March 4 at the Long Beach Convention Center.

Matt Simmons also will be part of the show to talk about a memorial fishing trip for his father, SWAT officer Randall Simmons. The trip is scheduled for Feb.28 out of Pierpoint Landing in Long Beach.

SI coverage suits Pistons dancer just fine

Ursula Watson
The Detroit News
February 24, 2009

What’s it like to be in the glamorous Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition? Ask Rochester’s own Chelsey Buhler.

Buhler is a member of the Pistons’ dance team Automotion and is featured along with nine other NBA dancers inside the pages of the popular publication, currently on newsstands. This is the first time SI has featured NBA dancers in its swimsuit edition. In the past, the magazine has featured NFL cheerleaders.

“I am really happy and honored,” says 21-year-old Buhler.

Rebecca Girard, Automotion’s dance team director, chose Buhler because of her commitment to the organization. And while being genetically gifted helped, Girard says Buhler is more than a pretty face. “She is just an amazing ambassador for us. She is well-spoken, a business woman who has gone on countless appearances for us, and helps to give us the voice that we need.”

When not helping the 19-member dance team hype-up Pistons fans in the stands, Buhler attends Oakland University, where she is a junior majoring in communications. She also works as a dance teacher and works as an administrative assistant at her father’s company.

“Right now, I just focus on each moment, going to school and getting good grades,” says Buhler.

She says family and friends are proud of her but it was a little odd for at least one person. “My dad wasn’t too happy at first, but he got over it and he was the first one to go out and find the issue,” says Buhler.

Since news has spread that she is not only in Sports Illustrated and on the publication’s Web site, sportsillustrated.cnn .com, people are giving her more than the second and third looks that she is probably used to.

“People are coming up to me at Pistons games,” she says. “I have had 800 friend requests on Facebook.”

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.

Harmony Hunt in Muscle and Fitness Magazine

Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Harmony Hunt, veteran member of the Los Angeles Clippers Spirit Dance Team (and all around cool chick) is featured in the newest edition of Muscle and Fitness Magazine. Woo! Go Harmony!

You need to go out right now and buy a copy of the magazine. It’s the April 2009 mag with Bruce Lee on the cover. April, not March. I emphasize this because the store I went to only had March and there is a decided lack ‘o Harmony in that edition. (I know this because I spent a good 15 minutes flipping through the magazine trying to find the article, all the time thinking “If Harmony is messing with me, I will not hesitate to let the air out of all four of her tires.”)

Harmony, I apologize. Your tires are perfectly safe.
(From me, anyway.)

Right, so anyway, go get the mag, and read up on our girl. In the meantime, check out a few bonus photos on the M&F website.

(You won’t believe me, but that is what the girl actually looks like in real life. Crazy, ain’t it?)