Dancers: Recapping Trip to China

November 17, 2011

ORLANDO -- It was another successful and enjoyable trip to Asia for the Orlando Magic Dancers.

Shortly after a visit to the Philippines for NBA Madness Manila 2011, the Dancers returned overseas. This voyage, however, took the girls to various Chinese cities, including Dongguan, Shenzhen and Kunming.

Over a 12-day span, several of Orlando's finest entertainers performed dance routines, posed for photos, signed autographs, appeared at various partner hospitality functions, media events and much more as part of Guangdong Mobile.

Read about the journey from Team Manager Jeanine Klem-Thomas and Dancers Kendra, Virgilia, Jessica, Katie, Casey and Team Leader Tara as they respond to a few questions about the trip, check out "By the Numbers" and watch video clips from the adventure.

PHOTO GALLERIES: PART 1 | PART 2 | PART 3

Magic Dancers in China By the Numbers

0 – Luggage lost (hallelujah!)

1 – One NBA Legend in attendance for Guangdong Mobile Events, George ‘Ice Man’ Gervin

2 – Number of Dunk shows Virgilia jumped in with the Atlanta Hawks Mascot, Harry the Hawk

5 – Number of cities visited during trip (Guangzhou, Dongguan, Shenzhen, Hong Kong and Kunming)

10 – Number of flights taken

12 – Number of shows performed

13 - Time difference in hours between Florida and China

20,000 – Miles flown



1) What were your general thoughts of this trip and Chinese culture?


RESPONSE

Klem-Thomas
Ni hao! What an AWESOME time we had in China! At each and every event we were welcomed warmly with open arms and unbelievable enthusiasm by the NBA China fans! I really enjoyed learning more of the Mandarin dialect (though, I should know much more considering it was my 5th time there) eating authentic Chinese cuisine (the veggies, rice and noodles are my favorite), having the opportunity to make some new friends and working with our awesome Guide Isa again (don’t forget the promises you made us for our next visit)! A sincere THANK YOU to everyone we met along the way including our hotel staff in each city, our tour guides, Guangdong Mobile event spectators and participants, event sponsors, and NBA staff for treating us like family!

Tara
Our trips to China are always really interesting experiences :) A lot of times it is difficult to communicate with the language barrier, but what is similar between our cultures is our love and passion for the NBA!

Kendra
Our trip to China was definitely one to remember. We had the opportunity to really bond as teammates and get to know everyone's fun and quirky ways! Our trip was full of traveling, traveling, and more traveling by planes, no trains, and many automobiles. It was definitely an experience and a test of endurance! Having the opportunity to indulge in the Chinese culture was extremely memorable and I feel so privileged to have been a part of this journey. I enjoyed meeting all of the dedicated fans we had there, having the chance to enjoy authentic Chinese cuisine, visit universities and colleges, and learn some of the language as well.

Virgilia
I had a lot of fun on this trip to China! I was able to try so many more different foods and was able to adapt to the differences in the culture a lot better then I expected!

Jessica
This trip was so incredible from beginning to end. I was so grateful to be able to see all the various parts of China that were new to me, and to be greeted by such excited, and welcoming fans. I felt honored to have a poem written for us, a fan sing to us, a Chinese dancer perform for us, and just for all the support that we received in general. All of our guides were also fantastic, and I appreciated them taking the time to introduce us to some Chinese culture and history.

Katie
Our trip to China was amazing! The fans out there love us so much and have so much energy. It was so much fun performing for them. It was a fast paced trip with a lot of traveling from one city to the next. It was such an amazing experience to be able to see different cities throughout China! The Chinese culture was very interesting to learn more about and experience as well. My favorite thing to do was learn the language!

Casey
Our trip to China was action packed! We were always on the move and were able to visit many diverse cities! Traveling from city to city gave us a good chance to see the differences between each one. Our guides were so insightful and fun! They told us stories about their traditions that were very different from ours, but interesting. They brought us to eat some of the traditional chinese food, which was quite the experience! The NBA events we performed at were so much fun. The Chinese fans were so welcoming and excited for us to be there! Their energy definitely pumped us up. Having a fan read a personalized poem, another sing a song, and the last fan do a special dance for us was more then we expected. We were really feeling the love. Having that support from the NBA fans throughout China gave us great pride! It was all in all a great trip filled with laughter and tears from both sides when we left.




2) What was your most memorable moment from the trip?


RESPONSE

Klem-Thomas
There were so many memorable moments it’s hard to pick just 1…some highlights that stand out to me were our sightseeing day trip to Hong Kong, meeting George ‘Iceman’ Gervin, watching Virgilia fly to the rim in a dunk exhibition with the Atlanta Hawks Mascot much to the surprise of the NBA China fans (it was the first time she had dunked since playoffs in April), our Bar Method team workouts in the hotel, the ‘gifts’ given to us by NBA China fans that included a poem recitation, a serenade, and a traditional Chinese dance performance, shopping in the market (we’ve got to work on Casey’s bargaining skills though) and then on the final night sitting in a beautiful outdoor plaza lit with Magic blue lights in Shenzhen enjoying our McDonald’s, Starbuck’s, KFC and Haagen Dazs dinner selections while celebrating a successful week of performances and looking forward to starting our long journey home the next morning!

Tara
The most memorable moment for me was when one of the fans in our first performance in Kunming read us a poem in Chinese that he had written for us! It was so sweet, but we had no idea what he was saying to us, and the crowd kept reacting with "ooohs", and "ahhhs", and giggles. We were definitely all wondering what in the world he was saying to us!!! Haha

Kendra
My most memorable moment on the trip were the gifts that the fans gave to us after we performed. We had an array of sweet adorable fans that performed for us as gifts: One read a poem that he had written, one young man sang us a song, and we also had a fan perform one of her native Chinese dances. It was so heart warming to see the passion and creativity they had for the arts and for us!

Virgilia
The most memorable moment for me would have to be being able to DUNK in China! It was so much fun because the fans were so supportive and excited for the entire show.

Jessica
My most memorable moment from this trip would be performing for the crowd in Kunming. We had the largest audience in that city, and their enthusiasm got me so energized and ready to perform after many hours of traveling! It definitely felt good to put our hard work to use, and for it to end up being so rewarding! Thank you, Kunming!! :)

Katie
At one of our performances 2 different fans prepared a song and a poem for us! It was really incredible knowing how much it meant to the fans there that we came. They were so excited...it was unbelievable how supportive they were!

Casey
The most memorable moment I will never forget was when our very own teammate Virgilia represented us well by dunking not one, but two successful times! The video does not do it justice. It was awesome!




3) What did you learn during this adventure?


RESPONSE

Klem-Thomas
One thing I learned, or was reminded of, on this trip is that dance, sports and entertainment can break all language barriers and bring a smile to everyone’s face! To our NBA China fans and of course our fans here in the States and Orlando, “Wǒ ài nǐ” (which means ‘I love you’ in Chinese)!

Tara
One thing I learned on this trip is that bamboo is actually pretty tasty! I had no idea that you could even eat bamboo :)

Kendra
Well it is difficult to pinpoint one thing I learned on this trip because I definitely learned a ton. I not only learned about Chinese culture and my fellow team mates, but I learned about myself. I learned that I am horrible at squatty potties, I am too tall to fit on small Chinese planes, but most importantly I learned to appreciate the country that I live in. The freedoms and opportunities that we have here in America are often taken for granted, and being able to experience an entirely different world truly opened my eyes to fully appreciate what I have been given.

Virgilia
One thing that I learned while on this adventure would have to be, the next time I go to China I have to have more than a one word vocabulary! LOL Even though the communication was difficult at times, I still had a blast!!! Ni Hao!!!!

Jessica
One thing I learned while on this adventure was some new Chinese vocabulary! I learned just a few words on my trip last year, and went this year with a goal of learning more. I can now proudly say that I can say "hello", "thank you", "I love you", "water" and a few others in the Chinese language!

Katie
One thing I learned on this adventure was to be thankful for every moment! There were times when we were exhausted but performing at those events were so amazing. I loved that we could make all those fans day at these events all while experiencing another country! I'm definitely exhausted now, but I'm glad we got to experience so much while we were there even if it was unbelievably hectic at times!

Casey
One thing I learned while on this adventure, besides some fun Chinese words, was how important the NBA is to the Chinese culture! I thought I had seen most everything with all of the die hard fans we have for lots of teams in the USA, but wow! Those Chinese fans love their basketball! It was wonderful to see that!








WATCH CLIPS OF DANCERS IN CHINA