Welcome to the Dancer Diaries! Each week, an Orlando Magic Dancer will give you a glimpse into life as a professional dancer in the NBA.

By: Kristina | June 11, 2007

The Orlando Magic Dancers were recently invited to perform in the NBA’s ‘Asia Madness on the Move’ Events in Taipei, Taiwan. Six dancers traveled to Taipei from June 4 – 11, 2007 to participate in the weeks’ events including sponsor appearances, cocktail parties, and an outdoor fan festival! Read all about their time in Taiwan as each of the Dancers fills us in on their daily adventures!

Goodbye Tawian - Day 8

It's almost 4am so Danielle (my room mate on the trip) and I took one last look around the room to make sure we got everything because earlier than I expected our trip had come to an end and it was time for us to check out and head to the airport. We were both pretty full of energy when we got down to the lobby to check out considering we had both not yet gone to bed yet. It ended up being a good thing because we were able to get the lady to reduce our phone bill for our outgoing calls made to talk to our loved ones in America! We had a couple of calls that were made but didn't connect out so we didn't want to be charged for those and with no further questioning our request while lowering our bill...she told us "there's several more I'll take off sine they're only a few minutes." WOW! I really don't believe she just said that. That's how we were treated our whole trip, everyone was so nice and I honestly don't remember encountering with a rude person! With a wonderful closure and reminder of how greatly we were treated by the people here it's now off to the airport.

The comforts of home all the way in Tawian!
Pretty sure the second the bus started moving I was out! 45 minutes to the airport felt like 5 minutes to me! We all thanked Julian, from the NBA Taiwan office and Jason, from the NBA League office in New York, for such an amazing time and inviting us to be part of NBA Madness on the Move. I found Julian's personality very entertaining and kept me laughing throughout the trip! Jason was amazing too! Random, but I had been wanting ice cream since the first day we got to Taiwan and continued to crave it as days continued on throughout our trip. It's weird because I rarely eat ice cream back home so hardly ever crave it! Anyways….after every meal we had I'd always ask what kind of dessert they had. It was always some sort of rice cake and all I wanted was ice cream! It kind of developed into a joke with Jason and I, with Cold Stone being my favorite place for ice cream, he kept mentioning there was one a few blocks down from our hotel and said "we'll go get ice cream when we have some free time." Finally!!! The last day a few of us walked to Cold Stone and Jason treated us to ice cream! Different trying to read cold stone in Chinese but they also had it in English so wasn't difficult ordering!

14 hours and 45 minutes! That's how long our flight is from Taipei, Taiwan to Detroit which doesn't include the hours to be added where we make a stop in Japan get off the plane go through security and reload back on to another plane to continue the "flight home" process. As I'm buckled in my small cubical space waiting to depart from Taiwan I'm thinking about the almost 15 hours and remembering I left my pillow on the flight traveling to Taiwan, I've now realized I'm without a blanket too. I wasn't that upset about leaving the blanket at the hotel, it was a Magic giveaway blanket and I know my family owns at least 5 and 1 less is OK, so I guess you could say I was "giving it away?" I made it strong throughout the trip without my own pillow or blanket it and pretty sure I passed out before the plane left ground.….and even woke up several times and saw the one they give you on the floor. Couldn't even tell you how I managed that one? I do know that I slept through the meals….dinner and breakfast….or breakfast, lunch and dinner? Couldn't tell you? I only woke up a few times and most of them were because the flight attendant was tapping me and apologizing because I had an aisle seat and every time she'd come by with the cart she'd bang it into me knee. I know it was an accident but wasn't sure what she needed at first until "so sorry for bumping into you" she'd say and then I would feel the pain in my knee. My fault, but I think after several times she knew I was out and probably wouldn't notice! Ha!

So usually traveling day flying away from or back to home is always the most interesting and random for me. With me being so easy going I get a kick out of the stuff that happens and is great story time to share as well! Unfortunately this trip I literally slept any time I got on a plane! As soon as we arrived in Detroit we had 1 hour and 29 minutes to get off the plane, go through customs, get our luggage, check that in and I'm not even joking when I say walk a mile to board our plane for the flight from Detroit to Orlando. I kept open minded since I knew there was a chance we might miss the flight given only an hour and 29 minutes in between, but with a fast walk almost jog we finished that mile to our plane and made our flight to Orlando! I had planned on staying up and reading since our 2 hours and 33 minutes on the plane looked like 15 minutes compared to all those hours added up from Taiwan to Detroit for switching planes, flying and well everything I already mentioned we went through!

I open my book, don't even think I got through the first sentence and I was out again! Next thing I know we're landing in Orlando! Finally we made it! What an easy flight home huh? Um, doesn't end there…..we go to get our luggage and a few bags start to come out and after waiting quite some time they make an announcement that they had stopped taking the luggage out from the plan because of the rain. Ah!! Hello!! We just game from Taiwan which where it rained everyday all day, we don't mind if our bags get a few drops of rain on them. I'm usually pretty calm and careless, but I hadn't seen my dad in awhile and he was picking me up from the air port and surprised me by bringing along my dog!!!! Jane and I were starting to get a little frustrated and were about to climb back where our bags come out and get our luggage ourselves! Not really, but eventually ****OVER AN HOUR LATER EVENTUALLY**** which seemed like 5 hours, our luggage came!

Our main host Jo-Ann; Thank you!
I would like to thank Joann (our NBA Taiwan contact and host in Taiwan) for all of the fabulous shopping she took us around to! Such a sweetheart and contributed to making our stay so wonderful! Thank you to Doris too! Doris is an intern with the NBA Taiwan Office and a French major! With French being her second language, she didn't think she was as fluent with English, but I'd already say it's her 3 rd!! She was amazing and taking us around one night was her first time as a tour guide (which she didn't tell us until after). She also taught Deanna and I how to write a few things in Chinese. Although Deanna picked up several Chinese words throughout our trip!!! Again thanks to Jason and Julian! I had an amazing time! Also thank you to Loron from the NBA Hong Kong office who was another great tour guide and educated us on culture, people, and other different lifestyles throughout Taipei! Loron is actually Canadian, but has been living in Hong Kong for the past 10 years! Wow!

Thanks from all of us being able to have the opportunity to take part in NBA Madness on the Move!

Kristina


By: Danelle | June 10, 2007

The Orlando Magic Dancers were recently invited to perform in the NBA’s ‘Asia Madness on the Move’ Events in Taipei, Taiwan. Six dancers traveled to Taipei from June 4 – 11, 2007 to participate in the weeks’ events including sponsor appearances, cocktail parties, and an outdoor fan festival! Read all about their time in Taiwan as each of the Dancers fills us in on their daily adventures!

NBA Madness on the Move - Day 7

Performing for all of the fans in Taiwan!
Another Fun Filled Day of NBA Madness on the Move and the rain is just NOT cooperating with us at all!! Although it’s just a drizzle it is definitely raining when we arrive on-site for our second day of appearances. Off to the Hanspree Tent we go for autographs and media appearances. Have I mentioned how sweet, gracious, and hospitable the Taiwanese have been? This is by FAR one of my favorite places I have ever visited!! Everyone is so nice and the hospitality is second to NONE! I am really hoping that we will get to go back again sometime soon, such an AMAZING place!! But I digress, back to the event. So we get REALLY, REALLY, REALLY lucky and the rain starts to relax for a few minutes and they ask us to dance. The ONLY thing going through my mind is that I hope the rain continues to hold off because we have on white jerseys and, well, you can see the problem that rain would pose! Off to the court we go where there are a bunch of cameras and fans waiting for us, for such a spur of the moment decision I’m impressed with how quickly everything got set up! Just as we about half way through the dance its starts to LIGHTLY drizzle, well, being the TROOPERS that we are we finished the dance and everyone seemed to LOVE it!! I was a little sad that we only got to perform once and due to the wetness of the court couldn’t dunk either, but I suppose maybe they could invite us back to do all that!! ;)

Mongolian Hot Pot-Similar to the Melting Pot!
After our “Rain Dance” as we referred to it for the rest of the day we were off to visit more sponsor tents. Erica and I ended up at the KFC tent which was SOOOO much fun. They had this game where they handed you a microphone and you had to scream “I LOVE KFC” into it and it would record how LOUD you were. Erica and I went first and they added up our decibels and everyone else tried to beat us. There were probably ten other groups of two and I am PRETTY proud of us that we came in SECOND!! What can we say? Loudness is a gift! =)

So that was about it for our NBA Madness on the Move Event but that doesn’t even BEGIN to finish off our day! We were treated that night with a trip to the Mongolian Hot Pot which was SO neat! (Picture: MongolianHotPot; Caption: Mongolian Hot Pot-Similar to the Melting Pot!) I’ve never been but people kept saying it was like the Melting Pot, if that helps describe the place! Basically, you make your own sauce and then you boil your meat! (I’m aware how funny that sounds, but that is what you do!) I was VERY pleasantly surprised at how GOOD it all was! In the pot are fish and squid balls, tomatoes, tofu, and then you get to pick what type of meat you want. We chose beef and pork, and both were GREAT! After Dinner we took pictures with the owner and even got to sign the wall!! It was such a WONDERFUL experience, I have to say Taiwan has TRULY treated us RIGHT!! And all we can say is THANK YOU for the most amazing week of my life!!

Danielle


By: Danelle | June 9, 2007

The Orlando Magic Dancers were recently invited to perform in the NBA’s ‘Asia Madness on the Move’ Events in Taipei, Taiwan. Six dancers traveled to Taipei from June 4 – 11, 2007 to participate in the weeks’ events including sponsor appearances, cocktail parties, and an outdoor fan festival! Read all about their time in Taiwan as each of the Dancers fills us in on their daily adventures!

NBA Madness on the Move - Day 6

And so it arrives, the WHOLE reason we’re in Taiwan! Today is the beginning of the NBA Madness on the Move event and although it may come as a SHOCK during Monsoon Season, it’s raining to BEAT THE BAND! (Not that I have EVER understood what that statement meant, but it’s Pouring!) We began our first appearance in the Hanspree Tent (the event sponsor) signing posters, taking pictures and meeting all of the AWESOME Taiwanese fans. By the cover of umbrellas we moved to the individual sponsor tents to mingle with other fans and the sponsors themselves! Jane and I were at a Taiwanese Internet company’s tent and they had these ADORABLE promo girls there in cute little matching outfits. Although there was a language barrier I think they understood how CUTE we thought they looked! (At least I hope so!)

Our introductions on stage at NBA Madness on the Move
Thank goodness that the rain did subside for a little while in the afternoon and they asked us to go up on stage and introduce ourselves; which was fun because each girl got such a GREAT response. After we each said hello they asked us EACH to do a few counts of dancing. HILARIOUS because they made sure to tell us that we couldn’t do something another girl just did! They wanted to make sure that everyone was doing something different, I found that so endearing!!

Unfortunately due to the rain that pretty much wraps up our NBA Madness on the Move Event for today. After we were finished we went across the street to Chili’s, yep just like Chili’s here in the States, it was nice to have food just like here at home! We had a great lunch with our contact Jo-ann and then it was off to shop for souvenirs to bring home to family and friends!!

Tomorrow is another day of NBA Madness on the Move so let’s HOPE that it stops raining so we can DANCE for everyone in Taiwan!!

Danielle


By: Erica | June 8, 2007

The Orlando Magic Dancers were recently invited to perform in the NBA’s ‘Asia Madness on the Move’ Events in Taipei, Taiwan. Six dancers traveled to Taipei from June 4 – 11, 2007 to participate in the weeks’ events including sponsor appearances, cocktail parties, and an outdoor fan festival! Read all about their time in Taiwan as each of the Dancers fills us in on their daily adventures!

NBA Madness on the Move Press Conference - Day 5

Wajo Erica (My name is Erica!)

The people of Taiwan have been so wonderful to us. Everyone you meet is so nice. The entire island is beautiful from the inside out. Our treatment has been exceptional thus far, and we really have been enjoying our stay. Many thanks goes to our coach and to our fans because without such a tremendous support on your part we would not have been able to have such an amazing experience.

On stage at the press conference
One of the sponsors that enabled us to go to Taipei was Hannspree. Hannspree is a technologically advanced company that sells luxury televisions and computers. Their main product line is televisions in the form of creative shapes. Today we got to go to the Hannspree flagship store and promote the kickoff of NBA Madness on the Move in Taiwan. Like the rest of the first few days we woke up and prepared ourselves for the event. Clad in our white jersey dress we headed for our venue. We were prepared to dance and also respond to interviewers from local television stations and newspapers. We were to represent the NBA and explain to the public what the NBA Madness on the Move meant. The building that we arrived at was enormous. We entered the store, seeming to be a television playground. As soon as you walked into the building there was an enormous television in the shape of a helicopter. The experience was completely surreal. The store encompassed Hannspree’s entire line of products. We headed up the stairs to check out our stage and practice our dances. After this they shared with us their catering style. Although we were thousands of miles away from home, we still were treated to the same types of food that were options at home, such as Kentucky Fried Chicken, which is extremely popular there and also a sponsor of NBA Madness on the Move.

Front page of local Taiwan Sports Section
Downstairs as we prepared ourselves for the event portion the local newspapers interviewed us. They asked us questions like who was our favorite player on the Orlando Magic, and in Taipei what had been our favorite foods thus far. At the time we had not experienced traditional Taiwanese cuisine, that experience would be reserved for later that evening. I was really excited to try out the local food! The event started around 2pm, so we took the elevator to our floor. As soon as we stepped out we were flooded with camera people from the television stations. We performed our routines and then took some photographs on the stage with Hannspree and NBA executives. When the event was done we danced our routine again so that the camera people could get some extra footage. We really felt like celebrities. We each got to say something in Chinese to the television stations that were there and each danced individually. We even made the front page of the sports section the next day!. This was a bit nerve wracking for me; I wanted to make sure I was saying the words correctly. After we finished up, we got to walk around the store. There were all different types of televisions; televisions in the shape of apples, televisions in the shape of a purse, if you could imagine it, they had it. The Hannspree people were so sweet to us. They really treated us exceedingly well.

After we finished our event, the day was ours. We went back to the hotel and got ready to head to the markets. In Taiwan, besides shopping malls, you can find enormous markets that you can shop at. The first one we went to was the clothing market. Then we went to the Jade market. In between we stopped for a traditional Taiwanese dinner. The food was amazing! My personal favorite was the cashew chicken. After dinner, we headed to one last market, the Night Market. The night market in Taiwan stays open pretty much the entire evening. Due to the circumstances that we were in Taipei during monsoon season, the weather conditions were not at all conducive to outdoor activity, but we still wanted to experience it. Many of us got our audition tops for the 2007-2008 audition season at the market along with purchasing all types of assorted goods. It was a shopper’s paradise! As it got later in the evening, all of us were starting to get a bit tired. We headed back to our hotel to go to sleep for the next day’s events. All in all, we had an amazing, yet tiring day! Can’t wait to see what tomorrow has in store for us!

Much Love!

Erica


By: Jane | June 7, 2007

The Orlando Magic Dancers were recently invited to perform in the NBA’s ‘Asia Madness on the Move’ Events in Taipei, Taiwan. Six dancers traveled to Taipei from June 4 – 11, 2007 to participate in the weeks’ events including sponsor appearances, cocktail parties, and an outdoor fan festival! Read all about their time in Taiwan as each of the Dancers fills us in on their daily adventures!

Second Day in Taiwan - Day 4

Ni Hao (Hi in Chinese)!

Taipei 101 - Tallest Building in the World
Our second day in Taiwan started off, of course with breakfast which was the BEST buffet that I’ve EVER been to!!! They had the biggest variety and the best part was… most of it was American food, thank goodness!! We all were so excited every morning to eat breakfast because we knew that was the one meal we could count on everyday, we never knew what we would be eating after that!!

The first thing on the agenda for the day was to go to the venue where we would be performing later that night. The event was for Hannspree, the title sponsor of NBA Madness on the Move, at a jazz bar. We needed to see how the lay-out was, what the floor was like and where exactly we would be dancing. After rehearsing our routines, our game plan for the night was set and we all felt comfortable about our dances, we ate lunch and then headed back to the hotel to get ready for our first appearance of the day.

Our first appearance was at the mall in Taipei 101, which is actually the tallest building in the world right now! I’m sure you could guess where the name of the mall comes from but just in case, it’s because there are 101 stories!! I couldn’t believe it…a mall with 101 stories; I was ready to do some serious shopping!! Then we soon found out that the mall is only on the first 5 floors and the rest is the World Trade Center. That was ok though, 5 floors is pretty overwhelming to me and I can still do just as much shopping. At the mall we visited the Hannspree store. Hannspree is a store that carries all kinds of cool TVs, they have a basketball TV and even an Orlando Magic TV!!! We took some pictures there and then were off for our next appearance.

Our next appearance of the day was at the Adidas store in Taipei. When we got there, we were greeted with a BIG welcome sign!! There were lots of people there, cameras everywhere; I would have to say that they were definitely ready for us! We posed by the big sign to take pictures with all the customers, it was a lot of fun!! Knowing that girls were in a store that carried merchandise to be purchased, we were all thinking that we would like to take a look around the store when we were finished. To our surprise at the end of our session of picture taking and autographs, we were offered to go shopping for 50% OFF!!!! We were shocked and extremely excited, needless to say we all did some damage to our wallets!!

At Hannspree Brown Sugar Party with Hannspree Chairman, Y.C.
Our last stop of the day was our performance at the Hannspree Brown Sugar Party. This was a special/private party for the employees of Hannspree and the NBA. We arrived early to the event so luckily we were able to eat dinner, relax and watch the other entertainment that was going on throughout the night. There were a number of WONDERFUL performances; a band, a violinist from Europe, the Taiwan Cheer Squad, a singer, a pianist, and the Hannspree bike race team. Then it was our turn…..we performed 4 different routines and threw out t-shirts in between. The audience was great and it was so much fun dancing for them! Afterward we took pictures with the guests of the party and we headed home to get some rest for the next few days in Taiwan.

Well, that was the end of our very eventful second day in Taiwan!! It was a great day, we met lots of different people, visited some great places and most of all were thanked for doing everything we did! That was something that stuck out to me the most about the people in Taiwan, they were all so unbelievably nice and always willing to help out!

I guess that’s it for me, you’ll be hearing about the fifth day of our trip from Erica and the rest of the trip from the other girls. Have fun reading……

Thank you Magic fans for always being interested in the Magic Dancers and what we do, especially during the off season!!

GO MAGIC!!

Jane


By Deanna | June 6, 2007

The Orlando Magic Dancers were recently invited to perform in the NBA’s ‘Asia Madness on the Move’ Events in Taipei, Taiwan. Six dancers traveled to Taipei from June 4 – 11, 2007 to participate in the weeks’ events including sponsor appearances, cocktail parties, and an outdoor fan festival! Read all about their time in Taiwan as each of the Dancers fills us in on their daily adventures!

First Full Day in Taiwan - Day 3


After we all got our hair and nails done with the entire salon staff!
Today was Awesome! We were totally treated like we were Celebrities! Our Contacts took us to the Third Quadrant Salon in the heart of Taipei for a spa day! As we arrived the whole staff was all outside singing to us and welcoming us to their salon. They had a camera crew and a photographer capturing the event! They closed down the shop just for us and had banners welcoming us and a food spread with Milk Tea…Yum! Our NBA Taiwan Contacts, Jo-Ann and Julian set up the day so that each of us would get our nails and hair done! What a treat! I started off with getting my nails done and had an amazing 20 minute hand massage! Wow! I was in heaven! After the massage, they painted my nails and the nail technician put my initial in Chinese on one of my nails! Very cool! After my nails were done, it was my turn to get my hair done, which included the best scalp massage of my life (30 minutes!) and hair styling! I love Taiwan! I really felt like a Princess! That was a great way to start off our week! Off to rehearse for tonight’s performance!

United Airlines Cocktail Party
Tonight we had our first performance for the trip which was for a United Airlines cocktail party where they were celebrating a new direct flight from San Francisco to Taiwan. It was a wonderful event with lots of food, ice sculptures and great people! Our performance was on a side stage that was on the small side, but we rehearsed during the day and thought everything would work out fine! That is until we were in the middle of the performance with adrenaline going and…I FELL OFF THE STAGE! I was so embarrassed, but it was definitely funny and one of the many ways we have to be versatile as dancers! After the routine I then found out that my fellow dancer Kristina FELL OFF THE STAGE as well, at the same time I did! We were both in the back and fell during the same time in the dance, so it may have actually looked choreographed that way!!! Luckily we were both OK and just walked away with a few bruises! We were given a bouquet of flowers after the performance that made me feel like Miss America! After we performed once, the crowed called for an encore, so of course we had to give it to them! This time was much better as I learned my spacing lesson the first time! After our second performance, we walked around and took photos and interacted with many of the guests and even met the US Ambassador to Taiwan.

Today was an awesome day!

Zie jian (Good Bye in Mandarin!)!

Deanna


By Cherie | June 4 & 5, 2007

The Orlando Magic Dancers were recently invited to perform in the NBA’s ‘Asia Madness on the Move’ Events in Taipei, Taiwan. Six dancers traveled to Taipei from June 4 – 11, 2007 to participate in the weeks’ events including sponsor appearances, cocktail parties, and an outdoor fan festival! Read all about their time in Taiwan as each of the Dancers fills us in on their daily adventures!

We are going to Taiwan! - Day 1 & 2
So………the Magic Dancers have been invited to promote NBA Madness on the Move!! This is an event that will promote the NBA in 8 different cities in Taiwan!!!!! We are going to the first stop of the tour in Taipei, Taiwan to kick off the event!!

Dancing for the Magic has given me so many amazing opportunities to travel. You would think I would have this whole packing and preparing thing down to a science. However, it’s very nerve racking, at least for me, to get ready for a trip overseas. First and foremost in that category is packing!! I’m going to the other side of the world, so if I forget a costume piece, I am pretty much out of luck!! Luckily, our coach Jeanine (who is not accompanying us on this trip because she is about to give birth to a little baby girl any day now!!!), provides us with a packing list so you can double, triple, and quadruple check your bags before you leave!! The other challenge is not packing too much as to not make your luggage too heavy. There is always one or two of us at the airport shuffling around our stuff into each others’ bags so that no one will have to pay the $50 heavy baggage fee!

Once we all got checked in (and they confiscated Danielle’s unmarked 3 oz containers of shampoo and conditioner, which she swears were definitely 3 oz., but the sticker came off!), all of the sudden, reality hits…….. we are going to be on a plane for a full 18 hours!! After purchasing about 6 or 7 magazines and a Soduko puzzle book, we board the plane for the first leg of our trip to Detroit. This part isn’t too bad, only about 2 and ½ hours…..piece of cake!! However the hardest part is yet to come. I was under the impression that the next leg of the trip was going to be about 16 hours. After we boarded the plane, we sat on the runway for a bit. I was excited because I had one of those seats where I had a wall in front of me, so I could stretch my legs out which is much appreciated on a long trip like that. Also I was lucky enough to get to sit next to Danielle and a really nice young couple from Detroit. That helps a lot to have nice neighbors in close quarters like that!! So we were sitting there, and sitting there, and sitting there, and finally I realized that it has been over an hour now and the plane hasn’t taken off yet. We hear an announcement that someone is ill on the plane. Of course not wanting to jeopardize their health, we have to turn around to bring them back to the gate. So our 16 hour leg just grew into an almost 18 hour leg!! I guess when it’s that long, another couple hours doesn’t really make a difference!!

So after bonding with couple next to us, we come to find out that they are going overseas to teach conversational English. They said it was there second time heading out to Japan and it was a really great experience. I agreed, but then I realized that they said they were going to Japan…….hmmm? It struck me as a little odd since we were obviously on the same plane and we were going to TAIWAN and not JAPAN!!!! Uhhhh…..are we on the wrong flight!? I looked at Danielle (who had finally calmed down about the airport confiscating her shampoo and conditioner) and she had a panicked look in her face as well. They said we were definitely flying into Osaka. Now here is a lesson in skim reading (something the Magic Dancers struggle with sometimes…haha). We didn’t realize we had another connecting flight in Japan, but lucky for us, at least we were on the right flight!!

After three planes, about 7 airplane meals, a few sodoku puzzles, 2 movies, and about 4 magazines……….we are in Taiwan!! We left Orlando on Monday at 11am and arrived to Taiwan at 10pm on Tuesday! They are a full 12 hours ahead of us! We are so excited to finally be here! We were greeted by 2 contacts from the NBA office in Taiwan, Julian and Doris. Both are extremely welcoming and very sweet. They explain to us that it is monsoon season, so we can expect a lot of rain while we are there. Even though we were all a little out of it, we were eager to start asking questions about the area and the language and what we will be doing when we are there. We know we are in for an amazing time and can’t wait for the adventure to begin…….after we get some rest!!!

Cherie


By: April | April 16, 2007

"When’s the next game?”
These are the words I am saying almost everyday. And now with the playoffs just around the corner it’s getting even more exciting! But first, let me tell you a little about my journey this year!

I can never seem to get enough! If I could I would dance at a game every single day! Being a Magic Dancer has been more amazing than I ever thought could be possible. This team has truly become my second family and they have been there for me through everything. Throughout the audition process everyone just seemed to click. Everyone was so welcoming and I felt as though I had known most of them for forever. My audition went well…or at least I thought so until finals came along. At the final auditions I have NEVER been so nervous in all of my life. I am not the type of person to get very nervous about things…but this was different because I had also never wanted anything so badly either! For finals we drew numbers and I was the lucky number one!!! I thought of it as a good thing. I told myself it was great because I would get to go in the first group of three and then get to relax while everyone else’s nerves are still in knots! After I performed I knew I had tried my best and danced my hardest so from that point on it was out of my hands. As I waited I prayed and just prepared myself for both the good and the bad. As they called out the new team my heart pretty much pounded out of my chest…especially when they got to number 18, which is typically the last spot on the team. They called it out and it wasn’t me.

I was very upset but knew if I didn’t make it just meant it wasn’t meant to be…until about 10 seconds later when they announced that they would be taking a team of 20 this year! What do you know? So I got my hopes up again and I was blessed to have my name be the 19th name called!!! I was so excited that I couldn’t do anything at all but cry…and I don’t cry about too much in front of people!

From that second on, this team has whole heartedly taken me in and taken such good care of me, especially in October when I was in a very serious car accident which changed everything. Since the day after the accident I have been constantly in and out of doctor’s appointments, MRI’s, x-rays, and massage therapy sessions. Although only knowing some of the Dancers a matter of months, without thinking twice the team automatically offered me all of their support and comfort to encourage me that things would look up. After finding out that I have two herniated disks in my back, I was devastated to find out that for a couple of weeks there would be absolutely no dancing, no dunking, or no working out. At this point I felt as though everything I had worked so hard toward and had dreamed of for so long was going down the drain. Making this team was truly a dream come true, so to be sitting out while wanting so badly to be a part of all the exciting pre-season things killed me! The only way I have made it through the pain and long recovery is with God, my family, and my second family, the Orlando Magic Dancers!

Due to being a rookie who drives back and forth everyday from Lakeland the Dancers not only offered me places to stay if I needed to, but also drove me wherever needed. I didn’t drive for three months, so to have the Dancers really helped me to understand why I love this so very much and consider them a true family.

Week by week my injuries gradually got better, although I am still suffering with some of my minor injuries I am blessed to be back dancing, in dunk training, and in group workouts! So far dancing for the Magic still all seems so surreal to me! I feel very fortunate to have just graduated high school and make the team on my first attempt. It really shows that hard work and determination can get you anywhere in life. Being on a team with so many amazing people really has taught me a lot. I absolutely love the fact that there are twenty Dancers on the team with completely different personalities, looks, ages and lives. Although we are all so different we all mix so well. Everyone has taught someone something at this point in the journey that they will keep with them for life. Two people in particular that have really touched me on how I look at life is my best friend Amanda and my Magic Sister Jane. They are two of the most beautiful people inside and out that I have probably ever met. They have been there for me through my rocky path and always helped me to stay positive, which at times was been very hard to do while going through so much pain. This team has without a doubt changed my life and I would not want to be doing anything else. I cannot wait to see what all comes out of this year’s season and now our playoff run!

Until next time,

April


By Danielle | March 25, 2007

The Orlando Magic Dancers were invited to perform in the BEKO All-Star Game on March 25, 2007 in Istanbul, Turkey. Eight dancers traveled to Istanbul from March 22 – 26 to participate in the All-Star events and were the first NBA Dance Team to perform in this fun filled weekend! Read all about their time in Istanbul, Turkey (home of our very own Hedo Turkoglu) as Danielle fills us in on their daily adventures!

BEKO All-Star Game!
With the game emcee, Funky C!
Well today is the day we’ve all been waiting for, the ENTIRE reason we are here in Istanbul, the BEKO All-Star Game! Even though we are in Turkey the game is set up quite similar to ours here in the States. To kick everything off there was a Skills Challenge, a 3 Point Shootout, and of course my personal favorite the infamous Dunk Contest. The actual game itself is set up with the best players from the TBL (Turkish Basketball League) vs. players from around the world. It was funny because on their locker rooms were signs that said “Turkey” and “Rest of the World”. I got a kick out of that!! There was, of course, the blaring American Hip Hop Music, a phenomenal Emcee named ‘Funky C’ who got the crowd all fired up, the Crazy Dunkers from France, and The ORLANDO MAGIC DANCERS!!! Like I said yesterday we were scheduled to perform 6 routines…2 during pre-game and then one the first timeout of each quarter.

With the Crazy Dunkers from France!
Once we all got to the arena and got settled it was getting close to our first performance time. We all got into our costumes and decided to head out to our tunnel to start stretching and running through the routine before it was time to hit the court. Once we got out there it was a little funny the way the players were trying to be discreet and take pictures of US!! Talk about Role Reversal but we still didn’t think anything was TOO out of the ordinary until they called our name for our first performance. I Mean the crowd went CRAAAAAAAAAAZY, like a rock concert crazy, or “Oh My God, It’s Britney Spears” Crazy. We all were shocked, humbled, and instantly 300 times more nervous because we wanted to give them a great show. When we were finished with our first routine it was deafening…I couldn’t believe it!! I’ve been doing this for a LONG time and never had a reaction like that, it was AMAZING!! We felt like Super Stars!! The entire game went that way each and every time we performed; it was the best experience of my life. I LOVED IT!! At one point during one of the routines the crowd got SOOO into it they started clapping along with the music and they were SO loud we couldn’t hear anything but their clapping; they totally drowned out the music. A little nerve wracking for us, but still an amazing experience!!

The Dancers prepare for one of their 6 performances!
At the end of the game we had to wait for the arena and parking lots to clear out before they would take us out to our van so we could head back to the hotel. Once we finally got the “green light” that it was safe we were rushed outside and I saw why we had to wait. The van was surrounded my people waiting…FOR US!! So we quickly got in and they were banging on the windows and screaming things like “You’re the best”, “I Love You!”…it was INSANE. We all were just completely dumbstruck that we got THAT kind of a reaction. I guess you could say we were a Hit! Bugra and Cihan agreed and even made the comment there will be future trips for the Orlando Magic Dancers to come to Istanbul! For me, I say the sooner the better, reactions from fans like that can be addicting!!

So this is where I would expect the diary to end with the completion of the All-Star game and us heading back to our hotel. Our plans were to get ready and go to dinner and then maybe go out and see the Nightlife in Istanbul one last time since we leave to head back to the States in the morning. Well, JUST as we were about to leave we heard all kinds of screaming coming from Deanna and Lisa’s room. Apparently the All-Star game was on TV. BEST of all, they were showing our ENTIRE performances. Well, there went the night on the town! We all huddled up in their room and watched the game, more importantly we watched our dances. They showed ALL SIX routines on television!! Here in the States we’re lucky to even get a few seconds before they break to commercial, we were THRILLED!!

One of the Turkish Newspapers we made headlines in!
Well Magic Fans, I believe that about sums up our 3 day whirlwind trip to Turkey!! An amazing experience to say the VERY LEAST and I feel so honored to have been a part of it! We head back home tomorrow, and as much as I have loved this experience I can’t wait to get back to Amway Arena and back to dancing for the Best fans not only in the NBA but in the World!!

I just want to say the BIGGEST Thank You to Bugra and Cihan, our AMAZING hosts in Istanbul who selflessly let us drag them all over the City. WE LOVE YOU GUYS!! Also, to the Turkish Basketball League for bringing us over to participate in the BEKO All-Star Game, THANK YOU for the MOST amazing experience. It was truly an honor and on behalf of all eight of us and the entire Magic Organization…THANK YOU SOOOOO MUCH and we are absolutely willing to come back and play WHENEVER you want!! hint hint =)

See You Soon!!

GOOOOOOOO MAGIC!!

Danielle

PS…I wanted to add this really quickly because we are all SO excited. When we got on the plane the next day we found that we were in not one but FIVE Turkish Newspapers!!! Big color Photos, and I would love to tell you what the articles said but considering I don’t read Turkish I have NO idea! We did ask one gentlemen and he said that one if the headings was “Magic’s Stamp on the All-Star”! Pretty cool…again, SUCH an Honor and I will forever remember this amazing experience. Thank You Again to all of our hosts, the TBL and the Orlando Magic!! See you back at Amway Arena!!!


By Danielle | March 24, 2007

Our Second Day in Turkey!
Hello from Istanbul….WOW have we had an eventful second day!! First of all some PRETTY EXCITING NEWS! We started off this morning with BREAKFAST. Now I am aware that this seems awfully trivial but when you’re in a different country and all the food is unfamiliar, breakfast seems to be a pretty safe meal. For example if there is bread and there is jelly then I AM SET!! So after filling my belly with a ton of different breads, jellies and cereal it was off the arena for our on-court rehearsal for tomorrow’s All-Star Game.

We arrived at the arena to BLARING American Hip Hop Music which was THRILLING!! Even though there wasn’t a fan in the building it already felt like a huge party which made all of us SO excited to perform the next day. We had to get going with our rehearsal though because we only had about an hour and a half to run through all SIX of our routines. Yes, we were to perform a total of six routines at the game. Considering that in any given home Magic Game we only perform a total of TWO feature routines SIX seemed to be a daunting task!! With Cherie (a 5th year Veteran and Team Leader) and Shelly (our Game Operations Manager) in charge we got through rehearsal without a hitch and all of us felt completely confident we would give EVERY fan a GREAT show the next day.

Following our interview with the Turkish Press
After rehearsal they scheduled an interview for us with a local magazine. The gentleman interviewing us didn’t speak any English and considering none of us spoke any Turkish, our host Bugra had to translate for both parties which made for some pretty funny moments. For example he would go to translate to the interviewer (who only speaks Turkish) and would start talking in English. We all had some good laughs, but I truly hope that the translation into Turkish conveyed just how much we were enjoying our trip. OH…here’s a good story! So Deanna was asking how you say “I Love Turkey” in Turkish so we could impress the interviewer. Well….we kept trying to pronounce it but we obviously weren’t getting it and it sounded to me like some English words we all know. In my frustration I yelled out “Tortilla Savior”, because to ME that’s what it sounded like. We all got a great laugh but it stuck so the whole trip every time something exciting happened we’d yell out…“TORTILLA SAVIOR!!!” (Funny Yes, but to all of us it will always mean “I Love Turkey!!”)

Here it is…Ishmish
After Rehearsal we had a small break to eat lunch, again another trivial fact but I HAVE to bring to up because in this particular meal we were introduced to Ishmish. WOW!!! It’s a bubbly warm bread, similar to a pita, but quite possibly the tastiest thing I have ever eaten. We all LOVED it!! I even took a picture of it at the restaurant SPECIFICALLY because I knew I would mention it in this Diary and I wanted everyone in the States to know what I was talking about. If you get a chance to visit Istanbul please eat Ishmish…we all swear by it!!



With one of our hosts, Ali Ozsoy, at the Press Cocktail Party
Anyhow, moving right along, the final event of our day was a Press Cocktail Party for the next day’s game. It was such a cool event with a bunch of players, press, executives from the Turkish Basketball League and US!! It was really fun with lots of yummy food and a BEAUTIFUL view of Istanbul at night. Truly breathtaking!! But I must tell you that the FUNNIEST thing that has ever happened to me happened tonight. I know I tend to exaggerate but I promise that this has got to be Top 5. SOOOOO…we were asked to enter and walk down a Red Carpet while they announced us. WOW, how cool is that?! Then it became dancing down the Red Carpet, just free styling and being cute while they introduced us. Ok, that’s fun, we can TOTALLY do that.

At the Press Cocktail Party
THEN, it turned into ACTUALLY dancing on the Red Carpet. So, we ended up doing a Sideline ON the Red Carpet in the MIDDLE of a classy cocktail party. Funny, yes but THAT is not the end of the story. So we finish the Sideline on the Red Carpet and we’re all laughing and having fun and apparently somehow in the 20ft from the end of the Red Carpet to the SMACK MIDDLE OF THE PARTY they asked us to do it again. I was totally unaware and of this request and by the time I realized what was going on I had NO time to get to my spot. There were a group of partygoers standing in what would be my place the formation so I tapped one of them and said “Excuse Me?”…this of course is how you normally start a conversation with someone. Well I didn’t have time to explain that I needed to start dancing and that they were standing where I was supposed to be dancing. So instead I just started the sideline again, like 10 inches from them!! Can you imagine being at a Cocktail Party and someone coming up to you and saying “Excuse Me…”, and then they just start dancing?! I couldn’t stop laughing because I knew it had to be SO awkward for them. It was like something STRAIGHT out of a Musical, or as Shelly liked to call it “Flash Mob Dancing”. Regardless…It was Hilarious and I will get a GOOD laugh out of that for a LONG, LONG, LONG time!!

Anyhow…that about sums up our second FABULOUS day in Turkey!! We’re about to go check out the Nightlife here in Istanbul, wish us luck!! Can’t wait for the game tomorrow…

TORTILLA SAVIOR!!!

Love…Danielle


By Danielle | March 22 and 23, 2007

Travel day and our first day in Turkey!
Merhaba, and Greetings from Istanbul, Turkey where my teammates and I have just landed with the honor of being a part of the Turkish Basketball League’s All-Star Game!! We couldn’t be more thrilled to be a part of such an amazing experience in such an interesting country, I will be writing each day to fill Magic Fans at home in on our adventures here in Turkey. Day One was already filled with some extremely fun stories so lets get started!!

Danielle with our hosts, Cihan and Bugra
Eight Magic Dancers along with our Game Operations Manager, Shelly, made the 9 hour and 57 minute trek from NYC’s JFK Airport to Istanbul Turkey on the evening of March 22nd (of course, this was also after our 2 hour and 40 minute flight from Orlando to NYC)! Since Turkey is 7 hours ahead of us here in Orlando it ended up being an overnight flight where we landed in Turkey at 9:15am on March 23rd. After getting our bags and getting through customs we were met with our WONDERFUL hosts for the trip Bugra (the “g” is silent), and Cihan (the “C” is pronounced like a “G”).

But before I get to that I have to digress to tell you a funny story. SOOOOOO….we all get our bags and we get in line to have our passports stamped to enter the country. Now, mind you, we’re all tired because no one really slept on the plane and everyone is a little out of it. Jeanine, our Coach who stayed back in Orlando because she’s over 7 months pregnant, assured us after much research by her and our contact Bugra that we did NOT need an advance Visa to get into the country. Apparently the policies had changed recently but no Visa was necessary. So I’m first in line to show my passport to the guy in the glass booth and he is flipping through it like a madman. He looks at me and says “Where is your Visa?” (Very quickly, with a very thick accent, and not in what I would consider to be the most pleasant tone). Sheepishly I respond with “They said we didn’t need one?” (Yes, it came out as a question and as for “They” it’s not like the guy at the window knows our Coach Jeanine or our host Bugra.) So he says still in his unpleasant tone “You need Visa, Go get Visa, Come Back.” Now, did I mention that we’re all exhausted and out of it? Personally, the LAST, and I assure you it is LITERALLY the LAST thing I want to do is go sit in some office fill out paper work, get pictures taken and get a Visa. So we all gather ALL of our bags and start off to find where you get this elusive Visa. Well to our surprise it’s approximately 20ft from the Passport Line and looks like the Movie Ticket Window outside the Movie Theater. Again, we’re all a little confused. So we step up and Shelly collects all of our passports and hands them to the gentlemen behind the window, he charges her $180 ($20/person), slaps a sticker that says “VISA” in each passport, and he hands all the passports back!!! That’s IT? No questions, not ONE piece of paper filled out, no pictures. We all thought it was HILARIOUS (perhaps because we were sleep deprived) because the ENTIRE Visa Process took a total of ten minutes MAX. Apparently, we Americans aren’t the only ones who have figured out how to make money on tourism!!

So after getting our Visas, and getting into the country our Amazing Hosts for the week gathered us up and took us to the Hotel where we got settled into our rooms. All of our meals were provided at the Hotel so we met for lunch and decided how we were going to spend our day. Today is the only completely free day in Istanbul where we can sightsee and go shopping. Tomorrow we have rehearsal, a magazine interview, and press Cocktail Event (we’ll get to all that later) and then on Sunday is the actual Turkish All-Star Game. So after a lunch where the majority of us got “Cheese Toast” (everything else was a little unfamiliar and most of us weren’t being very adventurous yet!) and French Fries we were off to see Istanbul!!

Danielle is pictured in Taxim Square
We started in Taxim Square which apparently is a hot spot for tourists with 9 girls shooting questions at Cihan about EVERYTHING. I never really got its Historical Significance but there are TONS of shops, and restaurants and bars. Bugra told me that at night you can find close to 3 MILLION people there. Its crazy, anyhow, we walked around there for a little while and made the executive decision to leave and go see other things. We started with the Bosphorus which LITERALLY separates Asia and Europe. We thought that they said there was a place where we could take pictures with one foot in Europe and one foot in Asia. So we’re just driving along, all of assuming that this is where we are headed, or to see the bridge that connects the two sides. The whole time we’re driving along this body of water but none of us are really paying that much attention. So after driving for about 30 minutes Cihan tells us that we’re going to the Grand Bazarre, and we start to turn around. All of us start asking about why we’re not going to the Bosphorus; he then told us that it was closed. Yes, closed…I looked around at my teammates and EVERYONE had a look of complete confusion on their faces. Ummm...it’s a River and unless the land grew over it, or it dried up I couldn’t figure out how it was closed, but whatever off to the Grand Bazaar we go. As we’re turning around and heading back in the direction we came Cihan throws out that the body of water we’re traveling NEXT to is the Bosphorus. GOOD TO KNOW, so while no one got pictures with a foot in Europe and a foot in Asia we did get to see it.

Entrance to the Grand Bazaar
Off to the Grand Bazaar which is HUGE and complete sensory overload. People keep coming up to you saying “Pretty Lady, Come Look at my carpets, I make you good Deal”, “You Like Leather, Cheap”, “I want to show you Gold, for you Pretty Lady”. I won’t lie that sometimes it was a little scary and I thought Cihan was going to have a nervous breakdown trying to keep all of us together but we made it out just fine and we all got some pretty cool souvenirs to bring back to the States for our families and friends. So after a LONG day of sightseeing we were heading back to the hotel and Cihan surprised us by taking us to the Blue Mosque. It was absolutely on our list of things to see but considering we took so long at the Bazaar we figured we’d have to see it another day. It is BEAUTIFUL and words cannot even begin to express how amazing it is on the inside. We were required to take off our shoes and cover our heads upon entering which was definitely a different experience but made it all even more special. While it was amazingly beautiful at night we heard that during the day with all the sunlight it is completely unbelievable. On my next trip to Istanbul I’m definitely going to make time to see it during the day!!

That’s all for our first day in Turkey…WOW we did a lot!!! All of us are off to bed, we have an equally busy day ahead of us tomorrow!!

Sending Love back to the States….GOOOOOOOO MAGIC!!

Danielle


By Kristina | March 23, 2007

My Favorite Part So Far…
Being a Magic Dancer has not only allowed me to have fans of my very own…my Dad being one of my biggest… but I've also recently become a big fan of my Dad as well since he became one of the newest members of the Dancing Dancer Dads! When I said it's really hard to describe one thing that sticks out as the best part of being a Magic Dancer I wasn't lying! I've tried thinking what really could be the best part and everything is great to me! But after the December 30th home game against Miami, I'm finally able to say my "favorite" part so far was....seeing my Dad dancing center court!

This game was the Dancing Dads 2nd performance of the season! Unfortunately my Dad was out of town earlier in the month when the rest of the Dads learned the routine and performed it for the first time. To get him caught up, not only did I have to learn the dance to teach to my Dad, I also had to explain everything that happens during a game to him…kind of what Jeanine had to do with the new Magic Dancers at first. Knowing my Dad seemed overwhelmed already with all the choreography he had learned I was afraid to overload him too much with game time information in fear he was going to back out at any second.

After going over all of the important things, so I thought, I forgot to mention to him the most important thing of all was just to smile and have fun! I was able to wish him a quick "have fun and good luck Dad" right before we had to go out for the start of the game. Now I was worried the whole time that my Dad was going to have this puzzled and confused look (like he did during rehearsal) and I was afraid he was going to maintain that look while they performed their dance during the game. I was completely wrong!!

Their time-out rolled around and I have never seen some of the facial expressions of enjoyment my Dad had on his face along with a smile the entire time he was out there dancing! What made me even more proud is that not once did I remember to tell him to have fun and he did exactly that all on his own! What my Dad and I both didn't know is how many fans the Dancing Dads have (our fans absolutely love them and they always bring down the house), and now we are able to share how great the experience with the Magic is from dancing on the court, hearing your friends tell you they saw you on TV, and even fans wanting your autograph and pictures all the time!

I'm so glad my Dad was able to experience everything I do before and during a game. Now he knows it's not always easy when you’re learning dances in a short amount of time and performing them sometimes the very next day at a game.

Aside from that excitement, I was recently selected to go to Istanbul, Turkey to perform at a Turkish All-star game on Sunday, March 25 along with 7 of my teammates and I'm very excited for this opportunity! Besides my favorite part of being an Orlando Magic Dancer, I will continue to say "everything is great about being a Magic dancer!!!!!" Thank you to all of my fans for continuing to follow up on my journal entries, but I will now being passing the journal over to Danielle so she can tell you all about our trip to Turkey (I’m sure we’ll have some fun stories to share)!

Thanks for reading Magic Fans and I can’t wait to see you at a game soon!

Kristina


By Kristina | March 9, 2007

Quality time with our fans!
Whenever a fan asks what situations I encounter as a Magic Dancer, it always brings me back to remember how before one game I had a guy look at me and then our poster several times then finally him saying "yeah, Kristina you’re my wallpaper on my computer…because you’re my favorite."

At first I was so confused and wondering how I could be this guys’ favorite when this was the first time I had ever seen or spoken with him. I finally realized how much our fans do pay attention when we're performing at a game, or even following up on us through our website. At this point it still didn't hit me how much the fans truly admire us just as much as they do the players.

After an appearance at the Villages of Lady Lake in early November, two of the Dancers and I stopped at a Subway on our way home. I guess at first our dance costumes with the Magic logo topped off by our nametag and the words ‘Magic Dancer’ printed on them wasn’t convincing enough that we were "THE" Orlando Magic Dancers to two of the employees working there.

After they asked us about being the dancers several times, one immediately reached for a napkin and ordered the other to find a pen so she could get "The Orlando Magic Dancers" autograph to show everyone. Now I had finally realized how much the Dancers are appreciated by our fans.

So far I've signed our posters, tickets to the games, t-shirts and hats and surprisingly even fans from other teams have wanted photographs with us…but my biggest fan yet would have to be my dad!

My whole family is very proud that I'm an Orlando Magic Dancer, but I think my dad has made it crystal clear that not only is he a big fan of me, he looks at all the other Dancers as celebrities too. The first game my dad came to this season I remember going back to the dressing room and all the Dancers telling me they met my dad. He took it upon himself to not only get 4 or 5 shirts signed by all the dancers, but to make sure they all knew he was "Kristina's dad" along with it.

Every game my dad has been to since he walks around with a handful of shirts getting them signed by the Dancers and finally after being asked by a few of the girls what he does with all those shirts since it was probably the 4th game he's attended and same shirt routine I was curious too.

Thinking we have some huge shirt stash at home with all the dancers’ autographs on them I asked my dad what in the world he does with them, and he said "I give them to all of my friends." Hearing that made me realize how proud he was of not only me, but the rest of the team too!

Usually when asked "what's the best part about being a Magic Dancer?" it's almost impossible to answer. I usually would say everything is! Recently, besides continuing to give that answer, along with it I'm able to describe exactly that my "favorite" part so far is....

Well, I’ll save that until next time....

Kristina


By Megan | February 18, 2007

Megan proudly earned a spot on the first-ever All-Star dance team to represent the Orlando Magic Dancers in Las Vegas during All-Star week. Thanks to those fans who voted, the NBA All-Star Dance team is made up of one dancer from each NBA team. As a team, they will showcase their skills during exciting fan events such as NBA All-Star Jam Session presented by Adidas, McDonald’s All-Star Celebrity Game presented by 2K Sports, NBA All-Star Saturday Night, and the NBA All-Star Game. Megan reported to Las Vegas on Monday, February 12 for a full week of rehearsals, appearances, and All-Star events. Check in daily to learn more about Megan’s adventures!

2007 NBA All-Star Game
I absolutely can’t believe the big day is finally here. It’s the day everyone was waiting for all week…the All Star Game: the East vs the West. All the East dancers thought we would have a victory two years in a row while the West dancers felt the west was going to win. Being from the East I just knew we were going to win with Dwight, Lebron, Dwayne, and Shaq. I really thought we had it in the bag. Unfortunately, I was wrong…really, really wrong! The West won by a huge margin. No matter what the score, Dwight showcased exactly why he was invited to be a member of the East Team. I have no doubt everyone from the Magic is very proud of him :)

The All Star dance Team had the opportunity to perform a total of three times during the big game…one routine all together, one East routine, and one West routine. All of them got rave reviews, but I think the East coast girls got an opportunity that does not happen very often. Our first routine song was 'Show me what you got' by Jay Z and he was actually courtside cheering for us as we danced. Beyonce seemed to like the routine as well! It was awesome. It is all we could talk about for the rest of the night.

After the game the girls stayed together and enjoyed our last night at an NBA Entertainment Party. In the morning we all went our separate ways. Now it is Back to Reality…and for me that meant 6 Electrical Engineering exams in one week…ugh!!

Thank you Magic Fans for allowing me the opportunity of a lifetime!!! It is not often that you get to be the first to do something, but you made that possible for me through the fan vote and I cannot thank you enough! :) I cannot wait to get back to the Magic Court and see all of you at a game very soon!!!

Thanks for your support!


By Megan | February 17, 2007

All-Star Saturday Night
Just like I had assumed, today is definitely my favorite day so far. All-Star Saturday night involves several challenges between the best of the best in the league. The night started with the Barkley vs Bavetta challenge. Apparently Charles Barkley had made a comment on air about NBA Official Dick Bavetta and next thing you know the two of them are at the All Star Saturday Night racing one another down the court. This is what I have been looking forward to all week. I am sure no one else would say that, but that is truly what I have been waiting for!

Bavetta was so serious like he was out to win and Barkley was just goofing off and playing around with Bavetta the whole time. Before the race could begin, Bavetta struggled for a good minute or two to take off his long pants and I could not stop laughing! I was not trying to laugh too much, but it was just so darn funny to see a 67 year old man being so serious to race someone and then see him trying to stay serious as he was tripping over himself and his pants. Anyhow, Bavetta ended up diving for the finish at about half court (way too early) and directly after that Barkley fell as he was running backwards. It was all pretty comical!

All entertainment including the All Star Dance Team was able to sit on the court and watch the many other festivities. Dwayne Wade was amazing to watch as he sustained his skills challenge crown. Another Miami Heat Player took home the 3 point challenge trophy, and then our very own Dwight Howard really deserved more props than he got (I know I may be a touch biased) when he was cut after the first round of the Dunk Contest. Although the other competitors were definitely impressive, Dwight blew them out of the water when he reached 12'6''!!!!!! Not only that, but it was hysterical to see the sticker of his smiling face on the backboard!!! Skills and humor, I think he should have won, but once again I will give credit to all four players for creating some very entertaining dunks.

Only one more day left. I cannot believe how fast it has flown by! See you later!

Goodnight!


By Megan | February 16, 2007

The Celebrity Game
What an exciting day! Today was the All Star Celebrity Game. Celebrities from all over met at Jam Session at the Mandalay Bay to play in the annual game. The East roster had Chris Tucker, Nelly, and Jamie Kennedy while the West had Bow wow, James Denton (the beautiful plumber from Desperate Housewives!), Nick Canon and several others. We were all so excited to be able to finally perform our routines! After rehearsing for so many hours we wanted to show everyone what we had accomplished. Fortunately we did since the halftime was filmed live and we were the halftime. The whole dance was covered plus our introductions. Nick Canon actually jumped into our routine at the end and started dancing with us. He seems like a real fun guy :)

After halftime, I received tons of phone calls and text messages from friends and family who actually saw all of us on TV. That really pumped us up for a second routine. Both routines were flawless and the crowd was cheering incredibly loud, it was great!

Although the East lost, it was still a lot of fun to watch everyone playing the game! Afterwards 6 of us including myself stayed for an autograph session. I was shocked at how many people showed up. At one point we actually ran out of autograph cards and the Jam Session staff had to bring us All Star Postcards, in which we only had a handful left when we finished. From there we returned to the Thomas and Mack Center to rehearse until 11pm and once again we all went home and to bed once that was over.

Tomorrow is going to be my favorite day of all!!! I cannot wait until Bavetta and Charles Barkley face off at the All Star Saturday night :) I hope Bavetta wins!

So long for now!


By Megan | February 15, 2007

Busy Day in All-Star Land
Hello Magic Fans!!!!

Today was another wonderful, busy day in All Star land! The morning was filled with appearances and the rest of the day and night was filled with rehearsals. Some of the Dancers had to be up at the crack of dawn to dance live on the local News station, some were at a Southwest Airlines event promoting our sponsorship, and others were at Carnegie Deli eating the biggest sandwich I have ever seen. The sandwich is literally bigger than my head. I only wish I had a picture to show you! It is named the Vivacious Vegas All Star Dancer Sub in honor of the first ever All Star Dance Team. It was all very exciting!

The rest of the day was spent at the arena playing the ‘hurry up and wait game’. We would have to rush to be somewhere and then wait 20 minutes before we did anything. But I must admit it was nice to take a break, slow down, and get to know all the dancers a little better :) We left the arena around 11pm and went to bed. Sleep is something that I just cannot get enough of right now :)

Goodnight Magic Fans!


By Megan | February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine’s Day Magic Fans!!
Today started off with a wonderful morning…I actually slept in until 8:30am and did not have to be at rehearsal until 11am!!!!!!!! Now, that may not sound like a lot of sleep to you, but I cannot sleep past 9am at home and 8:30am in Vegas is 11:30am in Orlando. So I think that is pretty good :)

When I arrived at rehearsal the West coast girls were working on their routine for Sunday night’s All Star Game. This was my first opportunity to really watch some of the other girls dance. I must admit that every single one of the dancers representing the league is here for a reason...and that is pure talent! They have all been incredibly nice and helpful and have been kicking butt in the routines. Because everyone is so talented, it’s really pushing me to my extreme! I never thought waking up so sore that I cannot move would be a good thing, but it reminds me how hard I worked the day before.

We ended up learning a total of 2.5 routines today so we only have one more left. Rehearsal lasted from 2pm-8pm, then we took a break for dinner, and then we returned at 9:40pm to leave for the arena to block our routines on court! Would you like to guess what time I got home…12:15am…which actually is not that bad!! We were not originally scheduled to go to the arena tonight, but the New Jersey Nets Drumline got snowed in and could not attend their rehearsal which means they are taking one of ours away later in the week. Even though we had to switch things around quite a bit at the last second, it all worked out.

When we arrived to the Arena all of us were so excited to see how they decorated the Thomas and Mack Center. Outside there is huge Statue of Liberty with an East Jersey and across the street there is a huge Lion with a West Jersey. There are pictures of Starting Players all over Hotels and buildings as you drive to the arena. You can see Yao Ming and Dwayne Wade from a mile away. The best part is that on the court of the Thomas and Mack Center the out of bounds area and the three point lines are hot pink!!! Only in Vegas can the NBA use Hot Pink as one of their main colors!!! I Love It!

As cheesy as it sounds the highlight of my day was seeing our very own in-game emcee, Scotty B, at the arena around 10:30pm. For those Magic fans who may not know already know, Scotty B has been chosen to emcee All Star weekend. It was so nice to see familiar face, plus we were blowing each other Valentine's kisses via the Jumbotron :)

Well, that concludes day 3! I cannot believe how quickly time is flying here. Tomorrow is another busy day and you will be sure to hear all about it. As a good friend of mine always says "Love you, Miss you, Wish you were here" :)

Goodnight Magic fans!


By Megan | Tuesday, February 13, 2007

First Day of Rehearsals
Today I was not so lucky in the 'having an easy day' department. I started off my day with a 7:45am call time to meet the Board of Directors of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. Thankfully it was not that bad since the time change felt as though it was 10:45 am back in Florida. The event itself was a typical meet and greet and 7 of us attended including my roommate Kimmie. We schmoozed for 15 minutes and then Mayor Oscar Goodman started the Board Meeting. He eventually introduced us to everyone and then we left and headed back to the hotel.

Our next destination was rehearsal at the Orleans Hotel Arena. There is not much to say about the rest of the day since we rehearsed for 10 hours!!!!!! No…I did not accidentally place a zero next to the one!! We truly rehearsed for ten hours today! We started at 10am and went until 9pm during which time we had a 1 hour lunch break and a 30 minute dinner break. We ended up finishing one routine for the All Star Game and half of the East Coast routine. One good thing is that the West coast dancers are learning their West Coast routine at 8am tomorrow and we get to sleep in until 11am!!! YEAH for the East Coast Girls!!!!

Laurie Ann Gibson is the All-Star Dance Team Choreographer. If you have not heard of her then you have definitely seen her work somewhere. She started out as a Fly Girl with Jennifer Lopez, went on to choreograph for many musical artists such as Usher and Mary J Blige, she is the choreographer on MTV’s ‘Making of the Band’ and the movie ‘Honey’ is actually based on her life!!!! She is just amazing and it is an honor to work with her!!! Her routines look incredible and they are so much fun to perform. I cannot wait to learn the other 2.5 routines!!!

After an incredibly exhausting day, Kimmie and I are ready for bed!!! I will talk to you all tomorrow :)


By Megan | Monday, February 12, 2007

First Day in Vegas
As many of you may already know, the All Star Game is the biggest event, aside from the Playoff Finals, in the NBA. The All Star Game has been in planning for many months now and today employees are arriving in Las Vegas to really put all the finishing touches to this weekends’ extravagant events! Thanks to all of the fans who voted for me, I am one of those lucky employees who left today to be a part of the big show!!!!!!!

Today was actually pretty laid back (which I’m sure is the just the calm before the storm). Most of us arrived around noon and had nothing to do until our Welcome Reception at 7pm. I took that extra time to get to know my roommate, Kimmie from the Philadelphia 76ers, and to unpack. Kimmie is absolutely wonderful and I could not have asked for a better roommate!!

At 6:45pm, we headed down to the reception and much to our surprise they had a beautiful buffet and tons of gifts for us! All of the food was incredible, but the gigantic shrimp really impressed me. It was bigger than my hand!!!! My roommate was laughing at me because I took a picture of it! But…I have never seen a shrimp that big! :-)

Once we were done eating Rossi, the CEO and President of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, gave a speech, handed out our gift bags, and we were dismissed for the night! We got to bed at a decent hour and that finished off my first day in Vegas!



By Kristina | February 12, 2007

Anything Can Happen on a Game Day!
"Can't you just put air in it?" I frantically yell to my brother as I'm throwing my suitcase along with everything else I've packed for a game day into my car. My brother Jason then reassured me with how unsafe it is to be driving around on a tire that low. Not having the time or being in the mood to argue his opinion I simply agreed with him by saying "You’re right, so just put some air in it since I don't have enough time for you to put the spare tire on."

Kristina is in her first year with the Orlando Magic Dancers
There was no way I was going to be late for our call time and be blocked out of the dances we've rehearsed over and over for a game. As crazy as it seems, this is what I went through once on a game day. It seems simple enough I should have just called and explained the incident to our coach Jeanine, but you experience way too much on a game day before the game even begins to risk missing out on even one routine even though we have 2 to 3 games a week.

Kim C. had mentioned in a previous journal entry how crazy blocking can seem and I agree! I remember the first time we were blocking our dance to a Christina Aguilera song "Candy Man" and after already being hit I heard some one yell "look out" or maybe I heard it before?

What Kim C. didn't mention is that before a game were not the only ones out there on the court and sometimes the players are out there warming up which means basketballs bouncing and flying in and out of our formations during our pre-game rehearsal. I was hit by one during blocking and although it wasn't hard…when it’s unexpected I was definitely startled! I still duck when we block and I hear someone yell "ball" or "look out" even if it's nowhere around me. Before a game I could always have something unexpected happen, so I like to prepare myself knowing that things might not run exactly the way we plan.

After blocking for the Clippers game on January 2nd, we all had a little surprise on the court waiting to join us. Her name was Ashley and she was going to be our ‘Jr. Dancer for a Game’. I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to take her under my wing for the night to show her how a game night as an Orlando Magic Dancer exactly went.

Kristina with her ‘Jr. Dancer for a Game’ partner, Ashley!
She seemed shy at first and didn't say too much while getting ready for the game and even before the game during greeting fans at the door. At this point I was a little worried because I wanted her to have a lot of fun and I didn't think she was enjoying it that much.

After the National Anthem and player introductions, out of nowhere she came out of her shell and was full of energy and very talkative throughout the game. I think it was the excitement of being on the court and in front of all the fans. The same exact feeling still comes across me each time! To my surprise towards the end of the game, not only was Ashley a huge help during costume quick changes, I found out she's not a dancer, but more of an athlete. With that being said she then expressed how much she enjoys dancing and that I've inspired her to take dance class when she gets back home. Hearing that put the biggest smile on my face knowing that I was able to influence someone else in wanting to experience more of one of the things I enjoy and love doing most!

I remember along with Kim C., Jeanine telling us how quickly the season will pass us by if you let it! Although I've absorbed every bit, she recently sent us an email reminding us we are more than half way through our season. The email is one I want to forget right now even though I use it as a reminder to continue to live through making memories and enjoying every bit of being an Orlando Magic Dancer this season. Thanks for reading and stay tuned for my favorite fan moments and my most memorable experience yet!

Kristina


By Kim C. | January 29, 2007

The Season Brings Many Memorable Experiences
Hello again Magic Fans! It’s been my pleasure sharing my feelings of being a rookie for the Magic Dancers and I hope you have enjoyed reading about it. This will be my final entry and then I will be turning the reigns over to another rookie, Kristina, to tell you a little bit about her journey!

Kim C.
It’s now the middle of the season, and as I think back to the rehearsal that we had the evening before Opening Night, I can remember Coach Jeanine telling us to “enjoy every second, because from here on out, it’s going to go so fast.” At that point, I had no idea that those words would be so true.

In my case, I am a full time mother, work part time during school hours, and I live in Viera (near Melbourne in Brevard County) and commute 70 miles each way for all rehearsals and games. Every second of my time is used and therefore, time flies when you're having fun…and, having fun is an understatement.

So far, this season, I have been having a blast! One particular part of being a member of this team that I have enjoyed is being able to meet and greet the public. Something that many people, including myself in the beginning, don't realize is that being a member of the Magic Dancers also makes us ambassadors of the Orlando Magic organization. We are called upon to do numerous community, charitable and corporate events. I have had the opportunity to do several events that have truly touched my heart.

One of the first that I did was for the Make a Wish Foundation. During this event, some of the children’s families spoke about their illnesses and how they are coping each day. Even with their challenges, they all had such positive attitudes and outlooks on life. These children were absolutely amazing.

Kim’s daughter Keri poses with the Magic Dancers at the end of Jr. Magic Dance Camp (Photo by Wayne Sysock)
On Thanksgiving Day, I was able to participate in the Coalition for the Homeless activities where the Magic proudly serve Thanksgiving meals and set up a carnival for the residents. That morning several of the dancers and I met with the community and enjoyed shooting baskets with the kids, dancing, doing face painting, pictures and autographs.

A few weeks later, I had the opportunity to take part in the Orlando Magic Holiday Gift Giving in which some of the players and dancers were able to distribute gifts to underprivileged families. The looks on the faces of the parents when their children received their presents was priceless. It was obvious that these parents were extremely grateful and thankful. Some were even crying tears of joy for their children. It was such a heartwarming experience and one that I felt extremely blessed to be a part of!!

Most recently, on January 20, I was able to partake in an event that was near and dear to my heart. We had a Jr. Magic Dance Camp and over 60 dancers between the ages of 6-17 came out to join us for a full day of dancing. One of those dancers was my 9 year old daughter, Keri.

You might expect that she would love dancing and probably assume that she takes dance lessons, but no. She is more of an athlete and although she does love being a “girly girl” and wearing dresses and getting her nails painted and all of that - when is comes to choosing dancing or playing ball… playing ball will win nine times out of ten! So, the fact that she agreed to participate in this dance camp was thrilling for me. To her surprise, she really had a good time dancing!

Kim’s daughter Keri (front center) performs at the game on January 26 (Photo by Wayne Sysock)
Her teachers were Danielle and Erica for her first class and then Kristina and Christy for her second class. She absolutely loved both of the fun dance routines that she learned and had a blast dancing on the court performing them during pre-game on January 26.

Look for Keri on February 25 when she will be a Jr. Magic Dancer for a day at the game. I am so excited for her to be able to experience this with me. And after her recent performance on the court, she is pretty eager herself! I am not sure who will have the biggest smile on her face that day… Keri or me!

Thanks for reading Magic Fans and I hope to meet you at a game soon!

Kim C.




By Kim C. | January 22, 2006

The Journey Begins
It’s October 17th and time for pre-season games to start. I have been practicing and preparing for this moment - my very first time to run out on the court in front of thousands of screaming fans and perform! Did I mention that although I have been dancing for over 20 years, I have never had the opportunity to become a professional? This was going to be my debut as a professional dancer and I could not have been more excited!

Kim’s daughter Keri poses with the Magic Dancers at a game.
We all get to the arena for rehearsal several hours before the game. I am thinking, okay, I know this dance. I have practiced it over and over again; in the living room, in the shower, while doing the dishes, even while helping my daughter with her times tables. I shout, “2 x 2” then do a jump with a shimmy as I hear her call out the answer 4 and giggle at me (she is definitely my biggest fan). No problem with this rehearsal! Our coach, Jeanine, then says, “Ladies, we need to block this dance, get in your beginning positions.” Block the dance? What does that mean? I soon learned that it meant that at every single second and for every single movement, we all have a particular spot that we must be on using the blocks (squares) that are on the court. It’s the most important factor in making sure that the dances look uniform and precise. So now, not only do I need to know this routine, but I also need to know that I start on a particular point then move forward one block, then to the right a half a block, back to left a half a block, diagonally one block then back two blocks, and do it all without looking down! Look up and smile and don’t think about it too much or you’ll look like you’re concentrating too hard. What!? Are you kidding me? I felt like I might get sick right then and there from the nervousness that just overcame me.

I went into the locker room and literally paced the floor (my teammate Danielle still talks about it). I just kept thinking, it’s my big debut with my friends and family in the stands all waiting to cheer me on and all I can do is worry about how I hope I don’t run out onto the court and get sick in front of thousands! Thankfully, I made it through the routine without any mishaps and although I know that I could have entertained better, I was happy with my first performance.

Before I knew it, November 1st had rolled around and it was Opening Night. We had two incredible routines and the energy and enthusiasm in the arena was absolutely amazing! I got chills right before coming out onto the court to hear the National Anthem. I stood there with my hand on my heart, listening to the words of The Star Spangled Banner, looking over the sold out arena at the crowd of fans and taking it all in that I was actually standing there on the court as a Magic Dancer. Only in America would I have the freedom to do this and I count my blessings everyday.

Until next time,

Kim C.


By Kim C. | January 22, 2006

The Audition Process
"Cancel the vacation! I have to take more pre-audition classes if I want to become a Magic Dancer this season.” Those were my exact words to my husband, of ten years, back in July 2006. Thankfully, being so supportive of my decision, he completely understood that we had plenty of time in the future to take a vacation, but I only had this one shot to become a 2006-2007 Orlando Magic Dancer.

Why did I want to be a Magic Dancer? Primarily, it was due to my passion for dancing. I chose the Magic because I felt like this particular group of ladies was represented in a professional, respectful and tasteful manner. Did I know exactly what was in store for me once I decided to go 100% whole-heartedly for this goal…absolutely not.

The actual audition day came and I think I might have eaten about four bites of breakfast – any more than that, and I was going to lose it. As I was heading out the door, my daughter (I forgot to mention, I am the mother of a nine-year-old) comes running up to me telling me how pretty I look and gives me a big hug and wishes me luck. That must have been my good luck charm. At the end of the day, to my surprise, my number was called as one of the thirty-six finalists going to Pleasure Island to try and earn a spot on the team. It was now time to go through a week long boot camp process.

Boot camp week started with the dreaded interview session. I definitely did not sleep a wink the night before my interview. All kinds of thoughts ran through my head that night. How many judges will there be? What kind of questions will they ask? Should I wear the black suit or the brown suit? “The black one, yes, definitely wear the black one, with the blue shirt. But, the brown one makes me look thinner. No, go with the black one – stick with Magic colors”. Finally, the day arrived and I got through it okay. At times, my nerves did get the best of me. I was asked, “How would your friends describe you?” and I replied with “Quiet at first.” Hello, Kim, you are trying to be what some would call a “cheerleader” …why would you say “quiet”? Your friends would also describe you as thoughtful, positive, punctual and highly organized. Wouldn’t that have been a better answer? I am sure I am not alone in wishing that I would have answered a few questions a little differently. No sense in dwelling on that, I thought. I’ll just have to work extra hard and make no mistakes the remainder of the week.

Kim and her daughter Keri
Over the next few days, we did fitness assessments, fitness training, dance classes and dunk training. Yes, I said dunk training. I watch as the veterans from the year before all run, jump on the trampoline, fly into the air, slam the ball into the basket and then crash down on to the mat. Looks easy enough, I thought. It’s my turn. I stare at the trampoline and I run full force; that is until I get about 3 steps from jumping and almost come to a complete stop and let out a scream before I jump. Needless to say, I did not go flying into the air, but I did do very well at crashing into the mat. I was just thankful that I made it through that session without breaking a bone. Let’s just say that dunking is definitely harder than it looks and I am still hoping that one day I will have my “hallelujah” moment and finally get a good solid slam dunk in there, Dwight Howard style.

Finally, the night we were all waiting for had arrived. It was finals at Pleasure Island and the anticipation and excitement was overwhelming. Dancers were practicing the routine over and over again. I look to my left and I see Deanna practice a high kick that passes her ear and goes behind her head to find the other ear. “Wow”, I say to myself. Then, I look to my right and see Megan practice a back handspring with a twist and land in a seated pike position on the floor. Now I am asking myself, ‘What was I thinking?” I decide that there is no way with just 30 minutes left remaining that I am going to pull off anything even remotely close to that so I am going to just go on that stage and entertain the crowd to the best of my ability. It must have worked, because here I am! My husband and I were able to finally take that vacation shortly after finals and it was well worth the wait!

Until next time,

Kim C.

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