Energee blogs from China

Six members of the Bucks dance team visit China as part of the NBA’s Jam Van China program

Jennifer Kate Lindsey Sarah Sherika Stephanie

Photos
Six members of the Milwaukee Bucks Energee! Dance Team are making the most of their brief visit to China. The group has already been to the Great Wall of China and learned how to say, "We Are Energee!" in Chinese.

The group’s visit is part of the NBA’s Jam Van China program. The China NBA Jam Van is a tailor-made, 52-foot truck that transforms into a 10,000 square foot interactive playground of free basketball activities, allowing fans of all ages the opportunity to play like the NBA pros. Energee! will spend most of their time in Beijing and will perform and assist with Jam Van activities from August 3 – 5.

Energee! members Jennifer, Kate, Lindsey, Sara, Sherika and Stephanie have agreed to provide Bucks fans with photos and an occasional blog (which you can find below).

Earlier this summer, from June 6-10, Bucks mascot Bango was in Zhengzhou, China appearing as part of the Jr. NBA China Skills Challenge. Two summers ago, then-Bucks guard T.J. Ford visited the country with Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard as part of the adidas Superstar Camp. In July of 2005, the Milwaukee Bucks joined with the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce's China Council (MMAC) in facilitating the MMAC China Council – Ducks Business and Basketball Exchange. The Beijing Ducks of the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) spent 12 days in Milwaukee, Wisconsin receiving basketball instruction from Bucks legends Bob Lanier, Sidney Moncrief and now Head Coach Larry Krystkowiak working out at the Bucks Training Center. Ducks coaches learned new drills and techniques. The Ducks played a local team of college all-stars in the Bradley Center and visited various Milwaukee and Madison, WI businesses, while also meeting with local businesses and Chinese community leaders.

The NBA Jam Van is in China for the third consecutive year. The tour tipped off in Guangzhou on March 30 and will run through October 4 in Xi’an. During that time, the Jam Van will travel to 24 Chinese cities – seven more than last year's tour – and the journey will cover more than 25,000 miles, traversing four municipalities and 16 provinces in its continuous quest to bring the NBA experience to fans all over China.

This off-season, the NBA is hosting a record 170 grassroots events in 110 cities in China. In addition to Jam Van and the Jr. NBA Skill Challenge, the NBA will also host Basketball without Borders, preseason games, Motorola 2v2 Basketball Challenge, DHL Trophy Tour and Haier Academy basketball camps. Last year, the NBA hosted 43 events in 22 cities in China.

For more information on the NBA’s Jam Van, please visit www.NBA.com/jamvan.


Entry #1 - Wednesday, August 1

The Energee! Dance team has been selected to represent the NBA and The Milwaukee Bucks during the NBA Jam Van Tour in China. We are leaving for Beijing this morning. All of us are so honored and excited to be a part of the first Energee! team to be invited to perform abroad. We will work hard to make Milwaukee proud. Director Lois Wagner Koepke is staying home to run auditions and start preparations for the 2007-2008 Energee! Dance Team, so Assistant Director Lynne Molthen will be going with Lindsey, Kate, Jennifer, Sherika, Sara and Stephanie.

We are not looking forward to the long flight, but are still very excited. We will be checking in throughout our trip, so check back for details regarding our adventure!

Gooooo Energee!


Entry #2 - Thursday, August 2

Ni Hao! (Hello)

Just in case you're wondering what we've been up to, we’ll give you a quick update. First of all, the 13-hour plane ride wasn’t so bad. We were all a little nervous about the flight, but after we took off the time flew by.

Once we arrived we were warmly welcomed by our tour guide, Kevin, and taken to our amazing hotel. Along the way Kevin tried to teach us Chinese. Needless to say, we need a lot of work. Later that same night, Kevin arranged for us to get massages in our rooms!

That was quite a treat.

Thursday morning we boarded our private shuttle to the Great Wall, practicing our Chinese along the way. We climbed to one if the highest points for an awesome view and some great pictures… and just to make things interesting; we walked the entire way in high heels!

Throughout the tour many people wanted to get their pictures taken with us… we think they thought Jennifer was Paris Hilton! After the Great Wall we went to the Beijing Dragon Land Superior Jade Gallery for lunch and a little shopping. Lunch was an array of authentic Chinese cuisine. We all tried everything including the oysters and lily flowers!

We just got back from a Mediterranean dinner with Lily and Jay from the NBA Jam Van Crew. We’re getting ready to practice for our first performance tomorrow! We’ll check back with you later with more updates! Go Energee! Go Bucks!

Zaijian! (Good Bye)

- Lindsey and Stephanie


Entry #3 - Friday, August 3

Hey everyone,

Kate and Jennifer here. We just finished our second full day here in China.

Today was our first day of performances for the Jam Van tour and it went really well! The fans were really welcoming and it was exciting to dance in such a different venue. It was nice to see all the support for the NBA and the Milwaukee Bucks; the Emcee was even wearing a Micheal Redd jersey! We have been very well taken care of, from the door-to-door private transportation to the high level of security.

On the way to the performance we saw Tiananmen Square. Once again Kevin, our tour guide, provided us with its historical background. During the performance we had a chance to practice the small amount of Chinese we have learned. We still need to work out the kinks as shown by Stephanie today when she meant to say, "I love Beijing," and really said, "I am Beijing."

The crowd reacted in laughter but appreciated the effort.

Throughout the day we were interviewed by Chinese and NBA media. The popular question of the day was, "What do you think of Yi?" It seems the people of China want to see him in a Bucks jersey just as much as we do!

All in all our first day at the Jam Van tour was a success! We ended the day on a high note with a little bargain shopping. We can't wait to see what tomorrow has in store!

Go Energee!

- Kate and Jennifer


Entry #4 - Saturday, August 4

We woke up early to practice today. All of us are still on U.S. time, so we have all recently become "happy morning people". After practice we put on our game faces and met our guide, Kevin, to head out to the Jam Van site.

Driving to the venue is always an adventure. There are so many bikes, people and cars on the streets, it is a wonder we haven't seen more accidents. There is also a lot of construction. It seems that everywhere we look there is a new building going up. We have also seen a lot signs promoting the 2008 Summer Olympics. We even got a chance to see the Olympic Stadium. It is call "the birds nest" since it looks like a giant birds nest made of metal. We were told it will hold over 90,000 people. In addition to "the birds nest", there will be 35 other stadiums used during the Olympic Games.

With one full day of Jam Van under our belts, we felt much more confident in our performance and it showed. Since it was Saturday, the crowd was much bigger than yesterday and they were as rowdy as the Bradley Center crowd (we loved that). It was easy to feed off their excitement and we had so much fun performing.

Each day we dance three shows, each with three routines. In between each dance we all take turns introducing ourselves, trying to add a bit of Chinese to each introduction. Jennifer's introduction is always a big hit as she ends with "I love you all" in Chinese. If you remember from yesterdays blog, Stephanie said (in Chinese), "I am Beijing". Well, today we are not quite sure what she said, but the crowd got had a big laugh.

We did a little more shopping after the show, trying to find just the right gifts for our friends and family. Lindsey and Stephanie are the hardcore bargainers and definitely got the best deals. We had to cut our shopping short to head back to the hotel to get ready for a night on the town. We had a great time and it was fun to see how the locals let loose on the weekend.

Tomorrow we will be dancing to a new release by an up and coming Taiwan pop star. We have no idea what he is singing about in the song, but it has a good beat. This should prove to be interesting but fun.

Congratulations to all of the dancers who made it into Energee! Boot Camp. We are looking forward to meeting you all!

Goooo Energee!

- Sara and Sherika


Entry #5 - Tuesday, August 7

Today was our last full day in Beijing. The day was full of interviews, performances and contests. During our inteview with NBA TV, we taught the Taiwan pop star, Evan, our traditional good luck cheer we do before each game:

"Goooooo Energee! Ah Ah, Work it, Work it!"

Each interviewer wanted to know if we thought Yi was handsome. Of course we said, "Yes."

Sherika and Stephanie had a dance-off with the local celebrity. They busted out the booty shake move and won hands down. Unfortunately, Sara was not so lucky in the “pop-a-shot” contest. She did make one basket, but it wasn't enough to beat Evan.

Today, during our introductions, Stephanie finally got her Chinese correct. The MC's who were translating also had the crowd yell back to Sherika her nickname, “She She.” Her nickname sounds very similar to "Thank you" in Chinese.

We spent our final night experiencing the "Legend of Kung Fu", a traditional, energetic and entertaining Kung Fu show. Complete with brick-breaking, ballet, and acrobatics. Afterwards, we were craving a little American cuisine, so we made our way to the Hard Rock Café for dinner.

We would all like to thank everyone at the NBA, the NBA Jam Van Crew, the Milwaukee Bucks, John Steinmiller, Mike Schnieders, Kris Brunelli, our director Lois Wagner Koepke and our teammates for this opportunity.

And thanks to you for reading. See you next season!!

Go Energee!

- Kate