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Wednesday March 14, 2007 3:12 PM

Inside the Dancers Studio

RPD rookie Ashley S. chats about her first season with the squad

Name: Ashley S.
Age: 20
Hometown: Clear Lake
Occupation: Legal Assistant and Student
School: San Jacinto College
Major: Undecided
Seasons as RPD: Rookie

Rockets.com: Why did you want to become a Rockets Power Dancer?
Ashley: I have been dancing almost all of my life, and it is something that I want to do for many years to come. I went to Rockets games growing up and, since I didn’t really understand the sport, I always watched the Dancers. After I graduated from high school, I wanted to take my dancing to the next level! It has always been a dream of mine to become a Professional Dancer, and now I am living my dream! I honestly did not think I was going to make the team when I first tried out and sometimes I pinch myself to ensure that this is reality and not just a dream. I believe it is an amazing achievement to be a Rockets Power Dancer and I am so proud to be affiliated with such a prestigious team!

Rockets.com: Are you a big basketball fan?
Ashley: Well, I never really understood basketball until now. During the first couple of games this season, I really started paying attention. Now that I actually understand the sport, I love it!

Rockets.com: What has been your favorite moment, so far, as a Rockets Power Dancer?
Ashley: There are too many to name. But a couple of memories that stand out are opening my congratulatory letter after a rough two-week training camp, putting on the red-classic Power Dancer uniform for the first time, running out on the court for my first game and, of course, the Armed Forces Entertainment Tour. All those moments are memories that I know I will never forget!

Rockets.com: What was your experience like in the photo shoot for the RPD calendar?
Ashley: It was so much fun! I was really cold wearing a swim suit in December. But Susie, our director, and Bill, the photographer, made me feel very comfortable and confident! Our hair and make-up sponsors did an amazing job that prevailed over wind and rain! Fortunately for me, I did not have to get in a pool. I am so happy with the outcome of the calendar and I feel very lucky to be on the back cover!

Rockets.com: Have you had any embarrassing moments as an RPD?
Ashley: Yes, it happened during my first game! We were performing a routine to ‘Red Alert’ in which we took off our jackets to reveal a silver tube top. During court practice, I was having some issues with the zipper on my jacket and it kept getting stuck. So before I went out to perform, I made triple sure it wasn’t sticking. Sure enough, during the performance when we unzip our jackets, mine got stuck. I had to pull the jacket down over my hips to my ankles, where it got caught on my foot. I was frantically kicking my foot trying to get the jacket off, while moving formations.

Rockets.com: What has been your favorite dance routine through the first two months of the season?
Ashley: I loved dancing to “Girls, Girls, Girls”

Rockets.com: Why haven't you been dunking with the dunking dancers this season?
Ashley: When I first made the team, I assumed that we would all dunk, which made me nervous. Even though I dance, I am not very coordinated and I am not very good at any other sports. When we first started dunking, I was a little hesitant, but as I got more confident, I had a lot of fun with it! Unfortunately, I got nowhere near the basket. All of the dunking dancers are amazing and most of them with a few exceptions, have a background of cheerleading or gymnastics.

Rockets.com: What has been your favorite costume this season?
Ashley: I think that all of our costumes are cute, but I love the chaps! I blame it on growing up in the South, but I think we look amazing in our chaps and cowboy hats! I haven’t had the chance to wear them, so hopefully before the season is over we will wear them again!

Rockets.com: Besides being a RPD, what do you do for a living?
Ashley: I am a full-time student and I also work at a Law Firm as a legal assistant.

Rockets.com: Do you ever get recognized in public as an RPD?
Ashley: Yes! I was eating lunch at a Mexican Restaurant, and one of the waiters asked me if I was a Power Dancer. I was so surprised that someone recognized me (especially when I wasn’t wearing the Rockets logo) that I just mumbled “uh huh.” Also, recently, Julie C. and I were practicing at our local gym, when a man brought a calendar and asked us to autograph it.

Rockets.com: What do you do in your free time, if you have any?
Ashley: I don’t normally have a lot of free time, but when I am not at school, work, practice, games or appearances, I like playing poker with my family and friends, going to the movies, and going to Karaoke! I could not sing if my life depended on it, but my boyfriend has an amazing voice and it is always fun to watch people try to imitate their favorite musical artists!

Rockets.com: Do you have a favorite activity?
Ashley: Dancing is by far my favorite activity! Like I said before, I have done it for as long as I can remember, and I think it will be a passion of mine forever.

Rockets.com: What is your favorite sports team?
Ashley: The Rockets! I normally wear some sort of Rockets apparel at least three times a week, and I am constantly asked “Are you a big Rockets fan or something?” I normally just laugh and say “Yes!” Houston is very lucky to have such a dynamic and diverse team, that represents our city well!
Rockets.com: What is the greatest movie ever?
Ashley: It is too hard for me to narrow it down to just one movie! I love going to the movies. I try to go at least two times a week! I would say my top three favorite movies are Pretty Woman, Fight Club and Finding Nemo! I don’t necessarily only watch chick flicks. I like a little of everything EXCEPT horror movies! I am such a scaredy cat!

Rockets.com: How about the best restaurant?
Ashley: Again, it is really hard to narrow it down to just one! I love to eat, especially at restaurants! Some of my favorites are Johnny Tamales, Gringos, Mariposa in Neiman Marcus (the monkey bread is to die for), BJ’s, Pei Wei, La Madeleine and Thai Cottage!

Rockets.com: If you could have dinner with anyone on the planet, who would it be and why?
Ashley: My entire family! My grandparents are no longer with us, along with some of my aunts and recently a cousin. It would be really nice to have dinner with them as well as my other relatives that I don’t get to see often. My family is spread out all over the country and I would love to catch up with all of them.

Rockets.com: Where do you want to travel and why?
Ashley: Thanks to the Rockets, I was lucky enough to do an Armed Forces Entertainment Tour last September. We danced for our troops in Kosovo, Bosnia and England. I had never been outside the United States so I was excited to see the rest of the World. It was before the season started, so it was the first time I performed as a Power Dancer. I had so much fun and if the opportunity ever comes up again, I would definitely take advantage of it. The trip was an amazing experience that I know I will never forget. I would love to go back to Europe as well as travel to Australia, China and South America.

Rockets.com: What do you expect to be doing 10 years from now?
Ashley: Hopefully, still dancing for the Rockets, married to the perfect man, a Mother of twins (as I have a twin brother), and very, very, very rich (hey, a girl can dream)!