Sally’s All-Star Extravaganza
Dancer Sally was in Las Vegas representing the Timberwolves on the NBA's first ever All-Star Dance Team. Read her exclusive daily diary right here on www.timberwolves.com...
|Kim (Spurs), Heidi (Kings), Sally and Denee (Sonics) before the All-Star game|
DAY 7 - February 18
Obviously tonight was the night we were all waiting for. And it was definitely all I thought it would be. Everything that went on was exciting, but here are a couple of the biggest highlights of the night for me.
1. Dancing twice on court in front of the world's biggest celebrities. At one point I was in a staring contest with David Hasselhoff during a dance....I think we had a moment. I also purposely positioned myself to dance directly in front of Beyonce during a timeout when we were out there to throw free stuff to the crowd. Although I was totally pulling out all her moves, I don't think she was paying attention. She must not need anymore backup dancers for her next video, otherwise I'm sure she would have wanted the girl in the Timberwolves jersey. Just kidding.
2. Seeing KG get introduced and start the game was definitely awesome. I think he even scored the first points of the game...at least that's what I heard the announcer say. We stood in the back tunnels for the entire game, so I didn't get to see much of it. Just seeing the league's best players all on one court was pretty cool. And it wasn't bad that the West totally dominated, either.
3. We were also part of Christina Aguilera's halftime show. The dance team along with a small crowd of other people posed as the crowd right below the stage while Christina performed two of her hit songs. It was like our own little private concert. I know everyone says this, but it's truly amazing how tiny some celebs are in real life. And she was for sure singing her own lyrics, there was no lip-syncing going on.
I can't believe the week is over already. I'm so thankful that I got to be a part of such an amazing weekend. Us dancers definitely did our part to show Las Vegas, and pretty much the rest of the world watching, what the NBA is all about. Everything definitely went by way too fast. Walking off the court after our last dance, a few of us made the comment that we wanted to go back and do it all again. It was like we had worked so hard for a week, and it was all over so soon. It will be interesting to see what happens with the NBA in Las Vegas in the future. I heard many rumors of a team forming in Vegas, and after such a successful weekend and thousands among thousands of people coming into the city, I would not be surprised if this city soon had it's own team.
So an enormous thank you to everyone who sent me to Vegas....it was an honor to represent the Wolves, and an experience I will always take with me. Thank you to the other twenty-nine dancers who I shared so much with, and thank you to the league for making my first visit to Vegas a memorable one. See you all back in the Target Center on Wednesday night. Go Wolves!
|Karin (Hornets), Sally and Jamie (Jazz) before All-Star Saturday Night|
DAY 6 - February 17
Luckily we got to sleep in today to prepare for the big All-Star Saturday Night. I knew it was going to be a long and busy day, but couldn't wait to get out on the floor to do our thing. Today more than ever the arena was packed with important looking people. We even walked through security this morning right behind Mary J. Blige! Of course she didn't have to have her bag searched by security like we always did. Such a diva! And then later walking through the tunnel we passed Eva Longoria. She is such a tiny woman! Celebrities always look so much taller on TV. It's amazing.
The dance team definitely made a statement tonight with our costumes. We each wore a jersey dress representing our home team all glammed up with rhinestones. Of course I had the KG 21 on!
A lot of the night for us was spent behind the scenes in the tunnels waiting to be told what to do. But we did get to sit on the court for the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest. This was by far my favorite part. We were given signs to hold up scoring each player's dunk. The crowd really got into this part, too. Even the high profile celebs like Diddy and Chris Tucker got into the action. It was great to see the night come together, and see people react the way they did to us and all the events. All those long rehearsals were well worth it. The NBA really knows how to put on a show, with a little help from Las Vegas, of course!
|Sally and choreographer Laurie Ann Gibson|
DAY 5 - February 16
The first performance of the 2007 All-Star Dance Team was a complete success. In my opinion we totally stole the show during the Celebrity Game tonight at Jam Session. We performed two routines, the first during halftime and the second during the fourth quarter. Each dancer also got introduced during halftime...I gave a little shout out to all you Wolves fans!
There were so many celebrities there tonight. Ciara and Mya were sitting courtside close to some basketball All-Stars like Shaq and Dwight Howard. The place was overflowing with media and cameras, so it was important that I was in performance mode every second of the night. Every time I would turn around, there would be a camera catching my every move. But it was really fun to be in such a high-energy place, and I know we nailed the routines and left the crowd wanting to see more.
I don't know if any of you saw the game on ESPN, but the West Team totally dominated. Way to go guys. The funniest part of the night came when we had just finished our second dance and hit our last pose when I suddenly felt someone grab me and pick me up. It was Bear, Utah's mascot, who carried me across the court and dropped me in Carrot Top's arms! That guy is interesting to look at as it is, but close up, I really got a view of his features. So I pretty much just said, "Hey! What's up?" and jumped out of his hold and ran back to meet my team in the tunnel. Everyone, including Laurie Ann, was very happy with our performance and so excited to do it again tomorrow night.
After working it out at the Celebrity Game, we headed back over to Thomas and Mack Arena where the Rookie Game was still going on. We were scheduled for another court rehearsal. We got to see the end of the game, and it was awesome to see the arena packed with excited fans. After it cleared out, we hit the court to practice in our heels. I'm used to dancing in three-inch heels, so this wasn't so difficult to get used to.
Even though it's a Friday night in Vegas, I'm headed back to the hotel to get all the sleep I can. Tomorrow is another big day. Good night!
|Sally on the Vegas practice court|
DAY 4 - February 15
I have always been told that the NBA is a "big business," but I had no idea just how big until this week. It seems like the NBA has totally taken over Vegas. I had the chance to get out on the strip for a while today and everywhere I looked there were advertisements for All-Star Weekend. We're talking about pictures of players that cover entire buildings, endless billboards, signs on every taxi and All-Star merchandise everywhere. Even the huge statues outside of New York, New York and The MGM have East and West jerseys on; the MGM Lion looks pretty fly in a West jersey. You can just feel the city getting more crowded as people start to arrive for the events.
We spent most of the night at the Thomas and Mack Arena rehearsing for All-Star Saturday Night. The number of people running around with headsets on in that place is amazing. My excitement for the weekend definitely was at an all-time high once we got on the floor to mark one of our dances. I'm sure we left everyone watching a little shocked by our performance, but that's what we're going for. Let's leave an impression. Hey, the NBA wanted an All-Star Dance Team, and they definitely got one. The times when we weren't dancing, we were patiently waiting for our next instructions. It was like people were constantly telling us, "Okay, hurry up! Now wait here." It was another long night of rehearsal, but I could no doubt see the end product coming together.
By the way, I am blessed to be a part of the best dance team in the NBA. My teammates sent me a good luck album of messages and photos for my time here in Vegas. I couldn't have received it at a better time. I definitely needed some motivation to get through the long rehearsal tonight, and just before we left for the arena I picked up their gift. It reminded me once again why I'm here and whom I'm representing. So don't worry girls, I'll definitely leave a lasting impression on Vegas!
I'll be back with more tomorrow when the action really starts.
|Kimmie (76ers), Sally, Denee (Sonics) and Karin (Hornets)|
DAY 3 - February 14
Happy Valentine's Day! I heard the Wolves got a great win against Denver tonight. Good news. Today was filled with hours of rehearsals. And now my body is definitely feeling the stress of dancing all day. We started the morning with just the fifteen Western Conference girls learning the dance we will perform on Sunday night. It's a very powerful, hair thrashing, kind of sassy routine. This is the kind of stuff I'm used to performing back home. I'm sure the Wolves girls could really do a number with this one!
During our breaks today I had a chance to talk with the other girls again about our home teams. I found out there is a dancer on the 76ers in her eleventh year with the team! Wow, she must really love both dancing and basketball. Also, the coach of the Raptors is one of the dancers on the team. It's crazy how similar yet different every single team seems. We also got the news that we'll be the halftime show at the All-Star Celebrity Game on Friday night, which we weren't originally scheduled to do. But scheduling seems to change by the hour here, so we'll see if that plan still stands tomorrow.
After learning our third dance of the week later in the night, we thought we might be let out early. Maybe we could even get out of The Orleans Hotel and see some of Vegas....our fingers were crossed. But then we heard that the All-Star Arena is going to have open court time for us to rehearse tonight. This may be the only opportunity we'll have to get on court, so it's pretty important to utilize. Plus, I'm anxious to see the venue...I heard security is crazy no matter what time you're there.
It's about 9:30 p.m. right now and I'm off to the late night rehearsal that's scheduled to get out at midnight. Time for another latte. Good thing I don't have any early appearances tomorrow and there's just one more dance to learn. It's one day closer to all the action and so far we're killing the routines...bring it, we're ready! Until tomorrow...good night from Vegas!
|Western Conference All-Star Dancers|
DAY 2 - February 13
The 3:45 a.m. wake-up call came pretty fast this morning. Luckily I didn't find it too hard to get ready for the news appearance. I felt like I had just woken up from a short nap, which is partly true after a late first night. After a much-needed cup of coffee in the lobby, I met with the other dancers and we were off to the studio. We really had to be on our game early today. Right away the news crew had us outside with a reporter, for whom we were answering questions and dancing. Since we had not danced with each other yet and had no routines planned, we quickly came up with a few eight counts to do as a group. And yes, it was hot little number considering we were outside in the chilly morning weather! From how quickly we pulled together a routine, it was easy to see that every girl here is a professional at what she does. I think it's fair to say that our first appearance in Vegas was successful.
Next came our first costume fitting with the stylists. I have to admit that one of the things I'm most excited about is all of our custom-made outfits. There is a team of about fifteen stylists flown in from around the country to make sure we are looking our very best with the hottest attire. During the fittings we have a lot of down time where I got the chance to talk with the other girls about how their teams are run. I found it really interesting to hear that mostly every team has a few girls sit out each game. So, girls rotate games at which they dance, and each girl ends up performing at only about half of the team's home games. I can't imagine only dancing at around twenty games during the season! That is just not enough!
During our multiple rehearsals today we learned our first routine from Laurie Ann. Wow, she is just a ball of energy. It's great because she knows what she wants and what we'll look good doing. She's all about bringing out the diva in us. She only refers to us as "muffins." She'll constantly be saying something like, "All right, let's take it from the top again, muffins!" Or, "Let's do it again because this muffie over here doesn't have it yet and we can't leave anyone behind." She definitely keeps it entertaining. Her teaching style is very different than what I'm used to, but it wasn't hard to pick up her style and choreography. Obviously all the girls here are amazingly talented dancers and this dance is going to look hot, hot, hot on court.
So, after a long day of rehearsals, appearances, and costume fittings, I'm ready to call it quits for the night. Tomorrow brings another full day of rehearsals with the tireless Laurie Ann. I don't want to be the one muffie left behind anytime tomorrow so I'm going to get some sleep and be ready to hit it tomorrow.
I'll miss everyone at the game Wednesday...it's the first one in my two years on the team that I haven't danced at! Good luck and go Wolves!
DAY 1 - February 12
|(from left to right): Shanon (Bulls), Stacey (Bobcats), Sally and Courtney (Celtics)|
Alright, here we go...the day has finally arrived! After days of planning, packing, nail and hair appointments, appearances and emails from the league, I'm off to Vegas, baby! I couldn't be more thrilled to represent the Wolves this week.
I'm sitting waiting for my flight in Minneapolis and glanced up at the TV and saw highlights from last night's game against Boston. It was such a great win for the Wolves at the end, and it just reminds me of all the energy and excitement the NBA is going to bring to an already amazing city. I was talking to a fan last night at the game and he said this All-Star Weekend is projected to be bigger than Super Bowl Weekend! Crazy!
I can only imagine what this week is going to bring. I'm ready for endless rehearsals, early morning appearances and of course the events of All-Star Weekend. Because this is the first year the NBA has put together an All-Star Dance Team, I'm sure all of us traveling to Vegas share some similar feelings and questions. I'm super anxious to meet my roommate Jaclyn from the New Jersey Nets, and our choreographer Laurie Ann Gibson. If anyone else is addicted to MTV reality shows like I am, you'll recognize Laurie Ann as the choreographer/dance coach from Diddy's Making the Band. Wow, I guess the NBA is really going all out this year with the talent they're bringing to the events! Okay, I'm hopping on the flight now, so I'll report back later with more from Vegas....
Okay, so Vegas really does live up to its expectations. I've only been here a few hours, and already I'm impressed. On the drive to the hotel I got the chance to briefly see a lot of the hotels and casinos on the main strip. I was accompanied by another dancer getting off a late flight - Courtney from the Celtics - and we chatted about our backgrounds and feelings about the week. After a quick check in at the hotel and a wonderful surprise delivery of "good luck" flowers from the Wolves organization (thank you, they're beautiful!!), I hurried to make a 7:15 p.m. "meet and greet" with the other dancers and NBA staff. Here we had a catered dinner with the Mayor of Las Vegas, Oscar Goodman, and listened to some staff talk about our crazy-busy week ahead.
It was great to see all the girls finally in one place, and even though I had never met a single one of them, it was easy to see a common bond between everyone. I think we're all extremely anxious to get this thing started! So after a few pictures of the team and words of congratulations, most of us headed right up to bed to prepare for tomorrow. I am one of the lucky seven girls who has a call time of 5:00 a.m. to go to a TV appearance at NBC studios. Good morning! Maybe this means I get to sleep in a little the rest of the week...we'll see. All I know is I'm ready for whatever this week brings. So look out Las Vegas....the dancers have arrived. Good night!