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Nets Audition Blog

Final Decisions, Finally
By Nets Dancer Bonnie
New Jersey Nets
June 24, 2009

Hi Nets Fans! It’s official — the newest Nets Dancers have been chosen, and I think it’s going to be a fantastic team! Hundreds of girls faced a grueling audition process, and the judges chose the elite to represent the Nets Basketball this upcoming season.

The audition routine for the finals, choreographed by Jon Rua, pushed all of the dancers past their comfort zones and allowed the judges to see who could dance in a new and innovative style. Jon’s choreography has been seen on the court of the IZOD Center before: this past season, he choreographed the fan favorite “Strings,” as well as my favorite piece to perform, “Past-Present,” an upbeat hip-hop routine that incorporated “Juicy” and “Move If You Wanna.”

The young ladies who were chosen for the team all exuded confidence, performed to their best ability, and showed the maturity and technique that are expected of Nets Dancers. After the judges made their final decision, I was elated and honored to be the first number called to join the 2009-10 Nets Dancers!! I’m happy to say that all 13 returning members who re-auditioned made it back. We’re also excited to have a returning member back from two seasons ago, Marla! We also have two brand new girls, Terrie and Jen, who both killed the audition and impressed the judges enough to earn a spot on the team. Meeting them for the first time and seeing how overjoyed they were, I remembered how incredible it felt to be called last year.

The night of final auditions was exciting and stressful, but more than one day’s work went into this process. I had been preparing by following a rigorous gym routine as well as eating healthy. Being a dancer, music has a big impact on me, and an energizing mix on my iPod helped me to stay focused. Here’s a small sample:

1. “Shooting Star (Remix)” – LMFAO
2. “The Fame” – Lady Gaga
3. “Showdown” – Black Eyed Peas
4. “What a Feeling” – Peter Luts ft. Dominico
5. “Champion” – Kanye West

I’ve also looked for inspiration from the world of dance. When I’m not dancing for the Nets, I’m teaching at Dance Arts Academy. The students are preparing for the finale to their year, Nationals in Wildwood. Rehearsing with them and seeing how much hard work and love they put into each of their routines, I am reminded of how passionate I am about this art and how fortunate I am to have it as such a large part of my life.

My favorite summer show has also started up, So You Think You Can Dance. The contestants this season are all phenomenal. Seeing all the creative routines they’ve performed the past couple weeks has gotten me pumped up for another season working with my talented teammates and our ground-breaking choreographers.

I am so proud of our new team, and cannot wait to start a new and thrilling season. I know that I will continue to grow and mature as a dancer and a young woman during my next year with the Nets Dancers, and I look forward to watching my teammates do the same. Congratulations, ladies!!

NJ Nets Dancers & More

Nets DancersSasha likes to bestow the title of “Cool Chick” on deserving individuals. I’m not sure if I am comfortable calling anyone a “chick”, but one of the coolest people I’ve met while blogging is New Jersey Nets Entertainment Director Kimberlee Garris.

Kim is a Harvard Grad (BS in Cognitive Neuroscience), a dancer (Captain of the Harvard Dance Team and a two-time Knicks City Dancer) and in charge of the 80 or so entertainers at the Nets Games. The Dazzling Nets Dancers, the stunting Team Hype, the energetic Nets Kids, the Nets Mascot Sly, and more are all her responsibility.

So it was very cool of Kimberlee to arrange for me to get a pass to the March 1st Nets game. It was also Sly’s birthday, so Mascots from around the NBA came to help celebrate (and dunk). But even with that bit of madness going on, Kim made sure I was in the right place to get the best photos.

I had an Entertainment Pass, so I could shoot the performers, but not the game action, which was fine by me. But it meant I had to stay in the tunnel until it was time for performers hit the court. As the lined up I would kneel in front of the dancers (so as not to block the view of any fans). And as soon as the whistle blew, I’d race on to the court, trying to avoid the video camera guys their cables and the players (they are huge). I also didn’t want to trip and go face first on the floor in front of 15,00 fans. Fortunately, there were no incidents.

The next time I do a Wings Angels post, I’ll tell the story of how I almost was stuck out on the lacrosse field (court?) during play.

Let’s see some photos!

Nets Dancers
There are 16 Nets dancers, but there is a rotation system in place and only 12 perform at each game. But we will see a 13th dancer a little later.

Nets Dancers
Nets Entertainers all in a circle before the game. That’s Kimberlee on the far right with the headset.

Nets Dancers
Nets Dancers rehearsing before the game

Nets Dancers
Team Hype

Nets Dancers
Deb is the new coach of the Nets Dancers and is a former Nets Dancer herself. Prior to this season Kimberlee coached the team in addition to all her other responsibilities.

Nets Dancers
Jaclyn is four-year veteran of the Nets Dancers and has a BA in Journalism from rutgers. While she’s not dancing, she doesn’t have the night off. Tonight she’s wokring as ‘Jac of All Nets’ a web show, that she’s co-producing. Check out her show here.

Nets Dancers
This was quite a production/performance with dancers dancing and tumblers tumbling.

Nets Dancers
Getting ready to perform to a re-mix of Beat It. Notice the dancers are wearing just one glove.

Nets Dancers
At halftime the mascots were dunking. Here’s Grizz, the Memphis Mascot flying high.

Nets Dancers
Performances are scheduled to take place at certain time outs. One was scheduled for the first time out with 3 or less minutes to go in the first half. The problem was there were no stoppages of play! The clock counted all the way down to 54 seconds before a whistle. So what happens if there’s is no stoppage? Kim says it has never happened, but if it did, they’d just go on at the next timeout in the following quarter.

Nets Dancers
What keeps the Dancers and the rest powered through game day? Gatorade

Nets Dancers
If the game goes into the overtime, the Dancers have on additional performance at the end of regulation. Here they are rehearsing the routine in the tunnel.

More photos here.

[New Jersey Nets Dancers]

Nets Dancer a ‘Jac’ of All Trades

by Ben Couch

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.

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.

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]

SI Gallery Update – NBA

This week’s Sports Illustrated NBA Dance Team gallery features the New Jersey Nets Dancers. Go there now to check out the game day action!