2004 Dance Team To Have New Faces, New Attitude
By Micah Hart
With new leadership under the helm of Talent Coordinator Donni Frazier, the Dance Team is looking to revamp its image.
"I want this year's team to have some substance," says Frazier. "We want individuals who aren't going out there and just going through the motions. We want them to be out there saying, `I can't wait to perform, and I can't wait to get out in the community and meet people.'"
Sunday morning at the Atlanta Hawks practice facility, nearly 150 prospective dancers came to audition for the team and show Frazier they had what she is looking for.
As part of the rebirth of the Dance Team, everyone was required to try out again, even the veterans from last year. It certainly made for some nervousness amongst the participants.
"You never know what's going to happen," said Misha, a patient care coordinator and a member of the 2003 squad. "It's a new group, it's a new year. There's a new person in charge, and she has never seen what some of us can do, so it's a little nerve-wracking, but I like the direction the team is taking. I think they want performers who have charisma, can perform under pressure and in front of a lot of people."
Angie, a software engineer who was a member of the Golden State Warriors dance team last year, agrees.
"I think they are looking for people who know how to handle themselves in front of a crowd," she said. "You are definitely representing the Hawks organization as a whole, and you are responsible for making them look good."
With all of the women (and a few men) who came to try out on Sunday, the initial cuts were made based on dancing ability. Those auditioning were required to learn a complex dance routine in a matter of minutes and then replicate it in front of Frazier and the various judges on hand. Helping decide this year's squad, were a number of former dancers and choreographers, as well as a few local celebrities like WXIA-TV sports anchor Sam Crenshaw and Jezebel magazine Editor-in-Chief Beth Weitzman.
Dancing skills aside, the new team will be part of a larger effort by the Hawks to be more involved in the community, acting as ambassadors for the team.
"We want to add to what the Dance Team has been in the past," said Atlanta Spirit Senior Director of Game Operations Peter Sorckoff. "What we want to do is maximize the time that we have them. On game nights, if they are there for five hours, they may only dance for six to eight minutes. We want to figure out the best way to use them for that remaining time. The Dance Team is one of the highest profile components of the Hawks organization, and we are looking for individuals who will be more than just dancers, they will be active members of the community and help put the best face on the franchise they can. The more people they get out and meet on a personal basis, the more people will want to come see them in action at the games."
Star, a returning member of the team from last year, understands the team's role and what should be expected of them this season.
"They are looking for the total package," said Star, a quality engineer by day. "They want performers who can interact with all different types of people and crowds, not just dance. I enjoyed being a part of the team last year, not only because I like to dance, but also because of the people I got to meet and the friendships I made. Hopefully I will get the opportunity to do more of that this season."
The potential Dance Team members were cut to 36 on Sunday, with Final Auditions set for this Saturday at Club Eleven50 from 7-9 pm. Admission is free and fans are invited to come out and watch. Additionally, the finalists will be available for photos and autographs from 8:30-10:30 p.m. at the Fabulous Finalist Mixer at East Andrews Caf