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Silver Dancer Lisa: Dancing to Inspire

The San Antonio Spurs recently profiled veteran Silver Dancers Lisa Colwell, an inspiration to her students, and no doubt to her teammates as well. Click here for a peek into what makes Lisa tick, and how much she has accomplished at Gervin in less than a year. I don’t know about you, but it kinda makes me feel I should be doing a lot more for my community.

My son’s preschool teacher is a Warrior girl

I thought this was really cute, especially considering how many dancers are also teachers~ sasha

theo-hartlaub1Peter Hartlaub
Jan 25, 2011

Let me start by warning you that the post is kind of long. To summarize: my son’s former preschool teacher is a Warrior girl and was really nice to him at Friday night’s game. If you’re one of those people who just reads the headline and goes straight to the comments, please be kind.

I took my almost 6-year-old to his first Warriors game on Friday night. We had attended a few practices. But much like his first trip to AT&T Park to watch the Giants, I waited until he asked before taking him to his first real game. That’s him on the right in the sweet Chris Mullin rookie year replica jersey.

My awesome wife, who bought me a four-pack of Warriors tickets for Christmas, called me when we were on the road toward Oracle Arena.

“Remember Theo’s teacher Michelle from preschool? She’s a Warrior girl! She might stop by and see him.”

Honestly, I found the conversation impossible to process. Other than the 50-something supervisor, all of my son’s preschool teachers were teenagers dressed in hoodies and the occasional “My Chemical Romance” T-shirt. I would have definitely remembered someone in knee-high boots and a sports bra.

I questioned the logic of her coming up into the stands as well. We were sitting in the upper reaches of the arena, and the Warrior girls presumably had to work. It would be like a concert cellist from the San Francisco Symphony leaving in the middle of Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 2 to hang out with someone who bought a $20 seat in the second tier balcony.

I was also considering the demographic differences between the lower level seats and the 200 section at Warriors games. I’ve sat in both, and while everyone is sharing the same oxygen and watching the same game, it’s a completely different scene. Put bluntly, the floor seats are mostly the Garibaldi’s/Bay Wolf/Miss Pearl’s Jam House crowd, while the balcony has much more of a Hooters vibe. For the Warriors’ purposes this is fine — both demographics are knowledgable fans who cheer loud — but I couldn’t imagine a Warriors girl thrown into the mix. The 200 section can barely contain itself when a T-shirt is shot into the stands. A lone Warrior girl walking into this scene wouldn’t stand a chance.

My son spent much of the first half standing up and looking for Michelle. I was still very skeptical, told him to temper his expectations, and made sure he cheered extra loud when the Warrior girls did a high-energy “Proud Mary” themed dance.

I was 99.8 percent sure no one would be coming into the stands … until my wife called at the beginning of halftime and told me not to move, because Michelle was headed to our seats.

There are men who aren’t going to believe this next part, but I don’t perv out on young attractive half-naked women. While I’m completely guilty of ogling a hot mom at the park (yes, that was me), I consider most dancers/cheerleaders/hot young bartenders to be someone’s daughter, not a sex object. I think middle aged guys who drop double entendres on 20-year-old waitresses are pretty much the saddest thing in the world, and it’s my nightmare to be mistaken for one of them. So when I found out a Warrior girl was headed to my seat, my overwhelming emotion was worry in anticipation of the awkwardness of the moment. She was probably a minor last time I saw her, and I didn’t want to accidentally check her out. “Maintain eye contact and don’t be a pervert” became my mantra for the next 10 minutes.

My son, the little badass, was still looking for Michelle but otherwise acting completely cool. It occurred to me that as a first timer, he probably thought this is what happens at every Warriors game. Stay in your seats during halftime! The dancers will come to you and give you big hugs!

theo-hartlaub-with-michelle2Michelle showed up — with a friend — and I immediately recognized her as one of his more engaged student teachers, albeit dressed in white knee-high boots and construction sign yellow short shorts. I didn’t see her much because I did the preschool drop-off, and I’m pretty sure Michelle was there in the afternoon. But she was one of the student teachers who organized his graduation and my wife said she was amazing with the children. I brought him down the stairs and Michelle gave him a huge hug, telling him she missed him and asking about kindergarten. As cute as he was with her, she absolutely lit up when she saw my son. And due in part to a strategically worn Adidas tracksuit jacket, my expected moment of awkwardness (“eyecontacteyeconacteyecontact”) was brief.

The crowd was stirring almost immediately after the pair arrived, with guys from the stands gravitating toward them like horny zombies. Michelle and her friend posed for photos with my son, and politely deflected most of the grown men who were trying to move in on his action.

“Take a picture with me and my friend,” one of the sadder cases kept pleading. “It’s his biiiirthday!”

By the time we walked back up into the upper reaches of Oracle Arena, more than half the section was staring at my son. He was happy, but in a just-had-a-fun-time-at-recess kind of way.

“You don’t even know what a rock star you are, do you?” I asked him.

I’ll show him the pictures when he’s older.

(More photos below. Thanks Michelle and Samantha! And thanks to the Warriors — my son’s first game was an overtime victory against the Kings.)

Former New Jersey Nets Dancer Taylor Walker Starts Teaching Career at Sachem This Fall

taylor-walkerBy Chris R. Vaccaro
< "http://sachem.patch.com/articles/former-new-jersey-nets-dancer-taylor-walker-starts-teaching-career-at-sachem-this-fall">Sachem Patch
August 21, 2010

With the approval of Taylor Walker as a physical education teacher at Sachem High School North this week, not since, well, ever has the Sachem Central School District landed such a high profile faculty member.

A professional dancer, dance educator, free-lance broadcaster and physical fitness fanatic, Walker, 25, comes to Sachem this fall for her first high school teaching gig.

She grew up in Dix Hills, attended Half Hollow Hills West High School and recalls the days when her Colts dance team matched up against Sachem’s girls at competitions.

“We were a much smaller school and to see a team of that caliber every year be so strong with so many girls was neat,” she said. “They’re very into their community and their program and it’s a lot like a family.”

With the hire, Sachem gains an individual with a multi-faceted core, one with the development of growing up the child of a professional athlete. Her father, Wesley Walker, is a former two-time Pro Bowl receiver for the New York Jets, who ranks sixth all-time in franchise history in receptions.

Then there’s her brothers: Austin is a professional lacrosse player for the Toronto Nationals, who won a national title at Johns Hopkins, and John, a three-time All-American at Army, is an assistant lacrosse coach at the University of Virginia.

“We’ve all given 100 percent and followed through on what we love,” said Walker, who is trained in ballet, jazz, modern and hip-hop dance. “I don’t think we ever compared ourselves as much as we supported each other.”

It’s only natural that Taylor followed the athletic footprint of the Walker family and embarked on her own career in the fitness world. For two seasons she was a member of the New Jersey Nets dance team and was a co-captain for half a season before giving up the role to concentrate on earning her Master’s Degree in physical education from Hofstra University, where she is an assistant coach on the school’s dance team.

“It was a wonderful experience and the girls on the team were so talented,” she said. “I had such a great time.”

She was one of 10 dancers from the NBA selected to pose for Sports Illustrated’s coveted Swimsuit Edition in 2009. Her good fortune struck again when she was able to dance for Taylor Swift at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, as well as appear as the lead dancer in the movie Step Up and in commercials for Under Armour.

To think, she once worked as an intern for the Maryland State Senate after college and was hired in the first dance audition she ever attended. She did her undergraduate work in sports management at Towson University and earned a full-ride as a member of its dance team.

A go-getter at heart, Walker has spent time instructing at Royalenova in East Moriches, teaching with Dance Educators for America and pitching in at a local high school sports publication, doing broadcast pieces on the younger generation.

While more than qualified to coach and teach dance to high school girls, she has no intentions of messing with team chemistry at Sachem. Instead, she’ll be there for support if it’s needed.

“If I can ever give input or anything like that I’ll be there,” she said. “The program has been so successful for so many years. I look forward to seeing them at games and having them in class.

“It took me a while to get to this point, but everything I’ve done throughout my career has always come back to the kids.”