Just Dance! Knights Unveil First-Ever Dance Team

From milb.com

On Saturday, March 30 the Charlotte Knights held Knights Fest at Knights Stadium. The annual event was filled with fan-friendly activities including behind-the-scenes tours, inflatable games for kids, National Anthem auditions, and a media celebrity softball game on the field. One of the key moments of the day took place after the first inning of the softball game as the Knights revealed their first-ever “Dance Team”. Now, the Knights need your help in naming the team.

Fans interested in naming the team can email their suggestions to Media Relations Director Tommy Viola at tommyv@charlotteknights.com. Entries must be received by Tuesday, April 9 at 5:00 p.m. The winning name will be revealed on Opening Day during the Dance Team’s pre-game performance.

Beginning on Opening Day, April 11, the Knights Dance Team will perform at Knights Stadium and become a mainstay throughout the season. Below is the Dance Team’s schedule, which features 11 games this season.

2013 Knights Dance Team Schedule:

Thursday, April 11
Saturday, April 20
Saturday, April 27
Saturday, May 11
Saturday, June 1
Saturday, June 15
Saturday, June 29
Saturday, July 6
Saturday, July 27
Saturday, August 17
Saturday, August 31

“The Dance Team will play an integral part of our on-field entertainment during our final season at Knights Stadium,” said Knights General Manager of Baseball Operations Scott Brown. “We expect them to bring an exciting new element to our games. Having them perform will be a great way for us to boost the energy at the stadium!”

The Charlotte Knights Dance Team’s official dance studio is Anne Marie’s Academy of Dance. During each game that the team performs, fans in attendance will have a chance to meet and greet the girls on the Knights Stadium concourse. Photos with the girls and autographs are encouraged!

Inland Empire 66ers audition dancers in San Bernardino

Andrew Edwards, Staff Writer
San Bernardino Sun
January 26, 2013

SAN BERNARDINO – The sounds of pop music blared from a boombox inside the Inland Empire 66ers clubhouse on Saturday morning.

Aspiring dancers lined up and took turns demonstrating their twirling and high-kicking abilities before getting that chance to show that one signature move that may be enough to earn one’s spot on the dance crew.

Their hopes were set on a spot on the 66ers’ minor league baseball team’s dance squad.

“I love the dance, it’s really energetic, and I feel like the Dance Team at the games to really pump up the crowd and get into it,” said nursing student Meredith Oliver, 22, of Moreno Valley during a break from the auditioning process.

Oliver said she is a nursing student at UC Riverside and danced with the team previously in 2010. She was among roughly 20 women competing for seven to 10 open spots on the Inland Empire 66ers’ dance squad.

Dancers earning a place on the team must make a year-long commitment to represent the 66ers at 70 home games and as many as 50 community events, said Byron Marquez, director of community relations for the 66ers.

The dance team also performs for the Ontario Reign minor league hockey team.

As the day’s auditions were about to start, Marquez’s tone was businesslike when he advised the dancers that “if you can’t make this commitment, I don’t want you on this team.”

“They presented themselves really well as to how serious they are,” said dancer Amanda Gojuangco, a 21-year-old UC Riverside student planning a career in public relations.

“I’m just trying my best. I’m so nervous right now,” she added.

Team dancer Maria B. led the aspiring dancers through the kinds of routines they would perform if they win a job, offering advice and encouragement along the way:

“I want to see big sexy walks.”

“Use that booty.”

“Whip that hair.”

The winning dancers can expect to put in a lot of time, but also have a lot of fun, said current team dancer Melanie Zecca, another UC Riverside student.

“I tell them, `Be ready for a life-changing experience,” Zecca said. “That’s why some of them stay on the team for years.”

A Day In The Life of an Inland Empire 66ers Dance Team Member

The Inland Empire 66ers, a minor league affiliate of the Anaheim Angels of Los Angeles, have a dance team.  But they do more than just dance.  Minor league baseball is a family friendly environment and there are a lot of promotions and special events to get the crowd out to the ball park.  And the Inland Empire 66ers Dance Team is front and center in creating a fun filled night of entertainment.

Continue reading “A Day In The Life of an Inland Empire 66ers Dance Team Member”

R-Phils Graduate 4th Dance Team Member to NFL

Minor League Baseballa

(Reading, PA) — The Reading Phillies, the Double-A affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies since 1967 — the longest affiliation in all of baseball, are pleased to announce that Lauren Timek, a three-year member of the R-Phils Dance Team, has been selected as a New York Jets Flight Crew member. Timek becomes the fourth R-Phils Dance Team member to be promoted to an NFL team since the dance team’s inception in 2008.

“The R-Phils Dance Team has become a staple at the ballpark on Saturdays,” said R-Phils GM Scott Hunsicker. “We are proud to have another member move on to the NFL. We wish her much luck.”

Timek, who made her Broadway debut in 2000, joins Danielle Guldin, Dani Pretti, and Jamie Panghulan, who have all been selected by the National Football League over the past three years. In 2009, Guldin was selected to be a Philadelphia Eagles cheerleader, while in 2010, Pretti was also selected by the Eagles. Earlier this year – 2011 R-Phils Dance Team member Jamie Panghulan was selected to be an Eagles Cheerleader as well.

Before joining the R-Phils Dance Team, Timek made her Broadway debut in Broadway’s Nutcracker in 2000, and again in 2001 for Broadway’s Cinderella. She was also selected as a dancer in Magic Kingdom from 2006-2008 until securing a spot on the R-Phils Dance Team.

The R-Phils Dance Team performs at all Saturday home games at America’s Classic ballpark. The team is directed and choreographed by Jennifer Caputo-Pietrobone, the owner of Berks County’s, Academy of Movement Dance Studio – which is located in Sinking Spring, PA. Caputo-Pietrobone has an extensive resume including dancing professionally for both the MISL and NBA, as well as co-creating, implementing and directing the Professional Smokin’ Hot Steam Team (2005-2007), the Wilson High School Dance Team, and the already existing R-Phils Diamond Divas Dance Team.

In conjunction with this announcement, there will also be an open call held at the Academy of Movement Dance Studio on Sunday, June 5 for MINI pro dancers (ages 5-8) and MIGHTY pro dancers (ages 9-12). Sunday’s open call begins at 8:30 a.m. for the MINI pro dancers and 9:30 a.m. for the MIGHTY pro dancers. The R-Phils Diamond Divas will perform at FirstEnergy Stadium on four occasions this season. For more information, please visit www.rphilsdanceteam.com.

The Reading Phillies return home to beautiful FirstEnergy Stadium on Friday, May 20, for an exciting seven-day, six-game series. Single-game tickets for all games this season are available now and fans can purchase tickets by visiting readingphillies.com, by calling 610-370-BALL, or by stopping by the brand-new ticket office located at FirstEnergy Stadium. Fans can also add the all-you-can eat Deck Buffett wristband to any order for only $12. R-Phils Tickets — Same Great Price. America’s Classic Ballpark…Just Got Even Better.

Pacemate Shea Wastes Little Time Adding a Little Memphis “Flava” to Indy’s Sports Scene

Shea prior to the March 8th Pacers-Sixers game
Shea prior to the March 8th Pacers-Sixers game

It takes a quite a bit of drive to become an NBA dancer. How much? About 41,000 miles. Last season, that is how many miles Shea of the Indiana Pacemates put on her new car, driving to and fro, cheering for the Indianapolis-based Pacers while still living in Ohio. See, Indianapolis is not exactly a couple miles from Ohio, so being a Pacemate from the Buckeye State not only meant extreme dedication, but miles and miles of, well, not exactly the most scenically scintillating drives one will ever encounter.

But her drive and dedication definitely paid off for both Shea and Indiana’s sports fans. As a rookie Pacemate, the broadcast journalism grad and PR grad student was also prominently visible as a Pacer game emcee, and this lead Shea to fill the same role for baseball’s Indianapolis Indians, the Triple-A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Now in her second season as both a Pacemate and Indians emcee, Shea is like the Bo Jackson of game entertainment (could have said “the Michael Jordan,” but, sorry MJ, Shea is better in her baseball role than you were). How does a dancer from Ohio decide to try-out for the Pacemates, then become an NBA game host during her rookie season, which then turns into a baseball gig?  Shea shared with UltimateCheerleaders.com the steps in her journey, so far.

Shea and Pacemate captain Melanie greeted fans before the game at "Legends" within Conseco Fieldhouse

Shea is originally from Memphis, where she lived until she was 15. Memphis provided a foundation for Shea’s love of both dance and basketball. Shea recalls, “My parents started me in dance class at the age of three. Every Saturday morning I would take tap, jazz, and ballet, followed with a Happy Meal from McDonald’s and some time in the play area. I remember my mom and dad asking me after practice every week where I wanted to go, and it never failed, the answer was always McDonald’s. I was never a fan of ballet, too serious and boring for me, but I loved tap and the noise I could make with my feet. I love dance. Everywhere we went, and I do mean EVERYWHERE, I would practice the steps I learned that week. My mom’s favorite phrase to say to me in the grocery store, while getting me dressed, or in the mall, was always, ‘Shea, there is a time and a place.’ She eventually gave up and just let me practice.”

Of her first dance performances in Memphis, Shea remembers, “The one thing that stands out to me the most about any performance I have ever had, is my mom yelling, “SHAKE IT SHEA!” at the top of her lungs. I have to come to expect it and I giggle a little when I hear it.”

Dance has become such a love for Shea that she has a dream of opening a free dance studio for underprivileged children who maintain good grades. What does Shea think dance adds uniquely to young lives that can lead to future success? “Dance to me gave me something that no one could ever take away,” Shea responds, “There is this rush that happens every time I step out on that stage, field, or court. It’s the desire to learn the next routine or next step, and perfect it, and then throw a little of my ‘flava’ onto it. I think the number one thing kids are told when they are younger is that they can be and do anything they want, and around age 12, it’s like we stop telling them that and to think more ‘realistically’ and that everyone can’t be the next Oprah, Kobe Bryant or Tom Cruise. Dance is the only sport that one can be anything they want. It’s a world of make-believe through performance that can transform a child to be the next James Brown, Usher, Debbie Allen or Michael Jackson. To give that to a child, and watch them grow through dance and love every minute of it is something immeasurable.”

Memphis also provided Shea a fanaticism for hoops. Shea says, “I love basketball. Memphis is such a basketball city (Shea interjects a ‘GO TIGERS!’). I played as a young child, but always seemed to stare over at the cheerleaders. Let’s just say dance and cheer is my better sport.”

Mascot Boomer skates over to Shea before tip-off

So there is no taking the Memphis out of Shea and her family. Even her little brother’s beagle is named “Memphis” (after all, he ain’t nothin’ but a hound dog). When asked to fill in the blank, “What Indianapolis needs is ____ just like Memphis,” Shea immediately responds, “BARBEQUE! The North’s version of barbeque is everything that it is not. Neely’s and Interstate are the best places to get a taste of what real barbeque should taste like. I also hate when people refer to a ‘cookout’ as chicken and hamburgers. Chicken and hamburgers are a small piece of a cookout. A cookout in Memphis includes hamburgers, ribs, cole slaw, potato salad, smoked sausages, good music, and maybe some pig’s feet.” (insert Homer Simpson-ish drooling here)

But Shea’s Memphis life was uprooted when she learned her family was moving to Ohio when she was 15. Shea recounts, “I remember hearing the news like it was yesterday. A few months earlier I had just lost my granddad to cancer, and at the time was in a relationship that I thought would last ‘forever.’ I hated my dad, and couldn’t believe he would consider moving me from my family and friends. I left behind aunts, uncles, cousins and friends that I knew since I was little. The hardest times were the holidays. I was so used to getting dressed to go eat at my aunt’s house, or being able to visit them when I wanted to. It was hard to transition to another state knowing no one but the people I lived with.”

In addition to missing her Memphis extended family, the change was also compounded by a very different cultural atmosphere for Shea to adjust to. “To top it all off, I moved to a new state and was completely out of my comfort zone,” Shea explains, “Memphis is a diverse city. I had always attended schools that were 50/50 race-wise, and my new school was 95% white and 5% minority. I cried every day. I just didn’t feel comfortable. I remember my second day of school seeing the rebel flag on the outside of a boy’s planner. In Memphis, this was grounds for a fight, but I remember telling one of my black friends about the flag, and he had no clue why it was such a big deal. It wasn’t until after making the cheerleading squad my junior year that I started to open up and accept my new environment. If I could give advice to anyone who is new in a school it would be to be yourself and be open to change.”

Continue reading “Pacemate Shea Wastes Little Time Adding a Little Memphis “Flava” to Indy’s Sports Scene”