Kayla's Rookie Report

Sooo... I now have a few games under my belt!!! The experience is still AMAZ-ing, however, one side to being a Celtics Dancer that I am REALLY getting into and coming to appreciate is watching the GAME!!!

I have really fallen in love with #Celtics, and truly, I AM A CELTIC! This is good, and scarily good. I get so into what’s going on ON the court, I have to remember when I’m in uniform I am here to hit the choreography hard on court. (True story: it can totally throw me off if I let the game consume me.) So now, I manage my focus - Celtics Dancer first and foremost!

I’ve also had the opportunity to be a fan, and WATCH the game, alongside you AWESOME fans. I go BANANAS!!! Matter of fact, I haven’t missed one game I’m not dancing. I always try and make it to the Garden to watch it and feel it LIVE!!! I say soak it all up...life is what you make of golden opportunities! A year ago I didn’t have the chance to watch Ray Allen score 3s, KG play crazy D, see a leader lead effortlessly like Pierce, or experience seeing a rookie like Bradley leave his heart on the court EVERY second he gets to play in the game. WOW! What passion!! Why would I not want to be at every game?

Side note: Growing up in Texas, we start going to sporting events before we can walk! I say that to let you know that I’ve always been AT the game, but never IN the game. Now, I’m into it! I DO know a thing or two about b-ball, because my dad coached both of my brothers. I’ve got notta on Doc, but I have to say this next disclaimer, because at the last game my teammate decided to casually shift over after being startled by my “coaching!” WARNING: Do not be alarmed if you hear a “Grrr...,” a growl, a “hands up, D,” a “light ’em up!!” or a “fire it up C’s-don’t let’em take it!...Let’s GOOO!!” coming from the tunnel; t’s just me! ☺ Love my Celtics!!! They are the best. I’d run down the great, athletic qualities of each player, but this is merely a blog. Not enough room for that! I’m proud to wear my green and white. It means that much more now that I’ve connected to the LOVE of the game. Team Celtics, Leggo!!

FINALLY!! Opening Night! (Yayyy!!!) It was AMAZ-ing!!!!! I was asked to describe it in one word, and couldn’t. There were so many “first times” that I lived, saw and experienced that night, that one word wouldn’t do my first time on the historical parquet floor justice.

Let’s see, where to begin? Well I must say first off, the energy of the Boston Celtics fans is inescapable! The rush of adrenaline I felt when all of the lights went down and the jumbotron video started to play was a first! The crowd goes WIILLLDD!! It was B-A-N-A-N-A-S!! Aaahhh...so awesome. Immediately, I run into my next first, as I walk up to center court to my starting position. I look up, to my right and to my left, and am greeted with the support of 20 other phenomenal ladies, the smile of my roomie, Jess, and a head nod from my captain. No words needed... “Let’s do this, ladies!” Our “get crunk” music starts, and from there it was a whirlwind of an experience. From tip-off to the end of the fourth quarter my heart was racing with excitement for our oh-so-talented team and great game they were playing, the “POW!” of running out on the floor for routines, and the startling reality that I’ve been blessed and am living my dream!! My first game as a Celtics Dancer was unforgettable, humbling, honorable, groundbreaking, and Fab-tastic!!

The journey still continues, as more costume changes, hot timeouts, and routines will be thrown into the mix, but every struggle thus far has been more than worth it. When I talked to my mom after the game I told her, “I never realized that once you get to your dream, THAT is when you work the hardest and give your all, plus 100 percent more than you ever gave your dreams before! And then, when He takes you to a place beyond what you ever thought you could see or be...NEW dreams are birthed... and your ignited passion is what carries you along the way, on the tough road to Greatness!”

I am so grateful for His grace, full of faith, and I’m incredibly happy. I can’t wait to get out there and do it again! :) GO CELTICS!!

Well...not that I want to mention it, but its no secret the “L” word and I are NOT friends right now. I am sooooo over hearing the negativity from others: “Oh Kayla, you moved all the way up there and now there is no season;” “I can’t believe you left everything in Atlanta for that, and now look;” and “I feel sorry for you, you’re going through so much when you don’t even know the outcome of a season existing.”

First, don’t feel sorry for me! Really, I just have to ignore every pessimistic person or Facebook comment I get. Class is always best! I have faith, which overcomes ALL! Really-really!!! That’s all the comment I have about that. I am still training hard, and am even more excited to get in the community and on the court as a Celtics Dancer!

Lately, Oct. 21, has been looming over my head. Big photoshoot coming up, and too many Dunkin’ Donut pumpkin munchkins hitting my tummy! LOL!! eekkk!!!! GOTTA STOP!

Practices are still hard. Yeah, practices are STILL hard. It’s encouraging to see improvement in my body, but I still have a ways to go on my goal. Started implementing my version of “two-a-days” to rev up for this shoot. (OH! I almost forgot: I had fun getting to know my stylist at Mario Russo!!! She saved me, salvaged my hair, and totally gave me a BIG boost of “go get ’em Tiger!”) Yay! Thanks Hunter, I love my hair now!!!!! Big and full of volume, just the way I like it! (You’ll never get the Texas out of me.)

So back to my two-a-days. That experience has been nice actually. It gives me something to look forward to during my hectic work week. That’s been nice, and I wonder how long I’ll be able to keep it up? :-/

Hmmm, besides the above, now I’m just ready to start sightseeing and going out before it gets too cold!! (Although I hear Bostonians get out and about no matter how cold it is. This should be interesting.) Where I’m from, when we see snow flurries everybody buys up ALL the bread and water in the stores and the city shuts down until it melts! Enjoying this city at impressive freezing temperatures will be an adventure!! I hope I have a few months before it gets that bad. I guess we’ll see!

Hey Celtics fam!!!

Well, it’s been a little while now that I’ve been in Beantown!! How’s it going so far? The truth... rough!!! LOL!! We’ve started meeting for practice, and of course, the first FEW practices were VERY nerve-racking!! Being a rookie amongst this group of fiercely talented veterans has been no easy task. Just watching them go “across the floor” makes me appreciate the opportunity to work under Marina Ortega sooooo much more! Her dancers are sharp, on time, powerful, and always deliver with a “POW!” As I walk home after my first practice my head is spinning with: gotta do this, gotta practice that, need to lose this, tighten that. I have soooo much work to do. All the while I’m saying to myself, “I can’t believe I am here, with this opportunity, to become a POWerful Celtics Dancer!” This is a winning team, and it shows. I feel that only the best is expected here!

And to think, I thought the transition from the South to the North was going to be one of the hardest mountains to climb once in Boston. Little did I know, being a dancer for the Celtics would be even HARDER!!! It’s been a GREAT wake up call! Just when you think you are nearing your best, the right person comes in to show you that you have soooo much more to offer! (That’s a great coach for ya. :) )

My experiences in practice have not gotten easier. Every week we learn more. Every week we are expected to deliver more. And every week I have to focus on more. I remember a couple of weeks ago I was in tears leaving practice. That day, well actually, that WEEK, I had made sure to find extra time in my week and weekend to practice ALL of the material we had learned thus far. That day at practice, we learned three new dances!!!! Then at the end of practice, we ran through all previous material. I was not only drenched, but I was depleted because I still wasn’t remembering, executing and hitting it with the intensity that I needed to. So with all of that going on, I have been feeling OVERWHELMED!!!

As I write this blog, I am empowered. I can’t wait to get on the parquet! :)

Okay, so here we go. My experience as a Celtics Dancer Rookie!!! Well, let me first say a little something about me! ;-)

Originally born a Texas lone-star, I hail from Atlanta, Ga., where I spent the past few years in school, in dance, and with my family. :) After graduating high school, where I attended a Performing Arts magnet program, I went on to my first professional contract with Royal Caribbean cruise lines. After three years with RCCL I returned home to study Psychology Pre-Med at Georgia State University. (Side note: After being hurt and in knee braces since the age of 10, my reason for pre-med was to focus on dancer rehabilitation.) In my third year of studying I was accepted to further study with in Long Island, N.Y. for the summer, and found out dance medicine deals primarily with psychological therapy, rather than injury rehabilitation. So, I begged my parents to let me have “another go at this dancer thing.” I wound up making a deal with my dad: “I take a semester off, if I don’t have a contract by then, I’ll return to school.” (My daddy loves me, and said, YES!) SO, I returned to perform!

Not knowing this second stint would MAJORLY expand my horizons. I went on to dance around the world in musical revues and began to get hired for all areas of the arts, such as filming movies and shooting National Print Ads. Along this explorative path of new passions and talent, I still remained in the dance field, but this time as teacher for the Atlanta Ballet Centre for Dance Education. I came to cherish the opportunity of being able to give back a part of me that was so dear, a gift to share with children and people of all ages!! While doing this I was also cheering for the WNBA Atlanta Dream. I got to experience their first Eastern Conference Championship WIN, and it was amazing!!!

So, in short: I have been dancing for years, I enjoy giving back within and around my community, and am thankful God gave me the gift of dance. I am looking forward to the continuation of NOW! This is the MOST EXCITING OPPORTUNITY I’ve yet to experience – dancing for the Boston Celtics as a Celtics Dancer!! Now, my journey to Boston... that’s a whole other blog entry!!! Can’t wait to share, chat with you then. :)

Boston-bound, and totally psyched to be here!!