HEAT Dancer Ashley To Apear In Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition

Click here to view Ashley’s Sports Illustrated photo gallery.

MIAMI, 02/10 – The Miami HEAT have announced that rookie HEAT Dancer Ashley is one of 10 NBA dance team members to be featured in the 2009 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition. The magazine hits newsstands today in select markets and is expected to be available in South Florida this Thursday. In addition, a photo gallery of Ashley, as well as the other nine dancers, is featured on SI.com.  

“Traveling to New York City and working with dancers from different NBA teams was incredibly exciting,” said Ashley. “As a rookie Miami HEAT Dancer, I was truly honored to represent my teammates and the Miami HEAT in this year’s Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition.” 

Ashley’s appearance in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition marks the second time that the HEAT Dancers have been featured in a major periodical. In 2006, five members of the HEAT dance team were selected to participate in a photo spread in FHM magazine. 

The HEAT Dancers, three-time winners of the NBA’s Dance Team Bracket Competition, where they were crowned “The Most Popular Dance Team in the NBA,” is the league’s premier dance team. USA Today heralded the HEAT Dancers as “cutting edge,” “well-drilled and hip.” They have been featured on popular TV programs such as ESPN’s The Season and MTV Hits. The HEAT Dancers remain the only non-host city dance team invited to perform during the NBA All-Star Weekend festivities, wowing the audience in Houston during All-Star 2006. The HEAT Dancers were even celebrated on ESPN.com’s “Page 2.” Gregg Easterbrook writes that “their allure is an indicator of a power shift -- the best-looking beach babes now congregate in South Florida, not California.” Their appeal is global having recently traveled to and performed in China, Istanbul, London, Germany, the British Virgin Islands, and Paris. 

Dancing for the HEAT also proves to be a gateway to the entertainment world, as several former HEAT Dancers have achieved stardom. Current HEAT Dancer captain Traci, along with a group of former HEAT Dancers, Karelix Alicea (2002-06; 2007-08), Gina Francis  (2004-08), Christina Pagan (2007-08), and Michelle Burgos (2007-08), are the all-female dance group, “Fly Khicks,” on Season 3 of the popular MTV reality dance competition series Randy Jackson Presents America’s Best Dance Crew. Trista Rehn (2000-02) was the star of the popular ABC reality series The Bachelorette, and has appeared in a number of other TV shows including The Bachelor, Dancing with the Stars and Fear Factor. Jessica Sutta (1999-02) is a vocalist for the pop group “Pussycat Dolls” and was featured in the music videos of Will Smith, Beyoncé Knowles and Gloria Estefan. Brooke Long (2005-06) is Suitcase No. 15 Model for NBC’s hit show Deal or No Deal and Layla El (2004-06) was the winner of the “2006 WWE $250,000 Diva Search.” Johanna Gomez (2002-04), former co-host of the mun2 show fusion, currently serves as an entertainment reporter for WPLG-ABC 10. Recently, Jamie Ruiz (2003-08) stepped into the spotlight on the popular CW show Pussycat Dolls Present: Girlicious and now works in California as part of its Pussycat Dolls’ act. Susie Garcia (2002-08) was one of the top 20 finalists on the 2008 season of FOX’s “So You Think You Can Dance?”