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On Location With RPD
2006 Calendar to debut Jan. 11

Bell Street traffic slowed to a crawl Wednesday, Nov. 30, as the Houston Rockets Power Dancers began shooting their annual calendar just outside Toyota Center. The three-day schedule featured locations in and around Toyota Center as well as other landmarks in the surrounding Houston area.

Susie Boudwin has been around these photo shoots before as a Power Dancer herself, but seemed unfazed as director of the project in her first year at the helm of the Rockets Power Dancers.

“The shots have been turning out well," Boudwin said. "The annual calendar is something the ladies look forward to every year, because they have the opportunity to show our fans a little more of their personalities with their photo locations, wardrobe choices, and bio notes written on the pages. It’s also a great way to spotlight the careers, educational background, and interests of the dancers and share them with Rockets fans throughout the greater Houston community.”

Boudwin and Power Dancer Amaris were the first to receive support from passersby as horns and waves became the norm during shots that were taken outside adjacent to the Tundra parking garage.

“Fan response has always been great,” Boudwin said. “We typically have an autograph session the day the calendar is released and the line typically goes all through the concourse.”

This season, the calendar will be given to the first 5,000 fans at the Jan. 11 game against the Sacramento Kings. The autograph session and calendar are just two of the many ways the Rockets Power Dancers try to involve themselves with the community. The calendar is also an opportunity for the Power Dancers to delve into something new and exciting for them, while still representing the Rockets.

“Few of these ladies have modeling experience,” Boudwin said. “They come from various backgrounds, whether it be studio dance, drill team, cheerleading or gymnastics. This gives them the chance to try something new and incorporate the Rockets.”

Third-year Power Dancer Amaris is one of the few who do have modeling experience. She said she looks forward to the annual calendar shoot.

“Modeling is one of my other hobbies,” Amaris said. “It’s nice I can tie in two things that I love to do.”

Amaris started with the WNBA Comets’ Team NRG before moving on to the Rockets’ dance team. She said that being a Power Dancer was more involved than she thought from the outside looking in.

“My perception was different before I actually became a Power Dancer,” Amaris said. “There is so much more prestige involved. You really become a positive icon in the community. I love people and I love to smile. It’s nice that young girls look up to you. Even younger boys sometimes see us as role models.”

Sarah, another Power Dancer to be featured in the calendar, agreed with Amaris. She added that she wasn’t sure if people realize how much work goes into being a Rockets Power Dancer.

“Everybody has a full-time life outside of this, whether it be another job or as a student,” Sarah said. “When you think about appearances at games and in the community, there is a big time commitment there that I think most people aren’t aware of.”

Sarah echoed Amaris when it came to shooting the calendar as well. Both seemed to welcome the opportunity.

“This was a lot of fun,” Sarah said of the photo shoot. “It’s always a blast to get out and about in the community. Taking pictures is always nice.”

Unlike Amaris, Sarah is in her first year as a Power Dancer and has found it more difficult than she imagined.

“I like the challenge,” Sarah said. “It’s been very rigorous but worth it. Being prepared to entertain in a different environment whether it is for children or a game crowd - it’s different but unique.”

The current Rockets Power Dancer calendar is now in production and will be given to the first 5,000 fans in attendance at the Jan. 11 game vs. the Sacramento Kings. Boudwin, team photographer Bill Baptist, and Rockets visual communications manager Sean Rieger determined the site locations. Jose Lopez and Ninh Pham of the Rockets’ creative department will handle layout and design for this year’s calendar.