Spotlight On ... Annie M

Third-year Wolves dancer Annie tells us about her jump shot, her plethora of stuffed animals, a dancer murder mystery party and reveals from where the moonwalk really came.

MT: What's a common misnomer about the Timberwolves Dancers?
Annie: Perhaps some people follow the stereotype that dancing is all that we do, but every girl on the team has an interest in and varying opinions about things like politics and religion. All of us go to school full time, or work full-time jobs, and it's impressive to me just being around the other girls.

MT: One of your teammates told me that you were a national champion dancer while you were in high school. Do you think you're cooler than mere state champions?
Annie: Well, actually my high school team (Maple Grove) won state. But yes, I did win national titles in Las Vegas, Daytona Beach, New York and some other cities competing for The Dance Shoppe (a studio in Plymouth) in both jazz and tap. I won individual and group titles against girls from all over the country. I think a big reason for that success is that Minnesota has some of the best dance programs in the whole country; I was lucky to have some terrific training.

MT: Can you moonwalk?
Annie: Actually, I can. But the correct term for the moonwalk is "the backslide." Most people don’t know this, but Michael Jackson did not invent its mechanics. The backslide was originated in the 1950’s by a tap dancer. After MJ performed the moonwalk in the 80’s, the move gained popularity. Would you like me to teach you the moonwalk?

MT: You could try, but I fear it’d be worthless.
Annie: It’s easier without your shoes on.

MT: Just as I suspected. You spend a lot of time with your fellow Wolves Dancers when you're not at practice, right? Give us a sample.
Annie: We just had a murder mystery party ... it was a Greek wedding theme. We were assigned a character and had to act the part. I laughed the entire night, even though I was the groom and got killed. My acting skills are not up to par.

MT: I’m sorry to hear about your death. How much better are the guys than the gals in this season's "American Idol," and who's your winner?
Annie: The guys are definitely in the lead this season. David Archuleta is my favorite. He’s so cute and has an amazing voice. I might have a crush on him but I think he’s 17. That’s just too young for me.

MT: Maybe just a little. So, I heard you have lots of stuffed animals?
Annie: I have no idea what you are talking about. Stuffed animals are for little kids.

MT: Come on now. You’re on the record here. No lying.
Annie: OK, fine. I have a few. My favorite stuffed animal is named Puffalump. Then I have some others … Like Ming, the panda; Fogo the monkey; and Mr. Jiggs, the dog. Oh, and also Bob, my penguin.

MT: Right...
Annie: Shut it. Lots of people have stuffed animal friends. Plus, they were all gifts ... other than Puffalump.

MT: Is it true that Brett Favre retired because you called his cell phone and told him that if he played next season, Kevin Williams was going pile drive him into the ground and end his career anyway?
Annie: I can’t talk badly about Brett Favre. There are two girls on the team who love Brett. I mean, actually love him...

MT: How has your hoops game improved, now that you've been on the team for three years? Is your jumper any better?
Annie: Excuse me? Come on, I'm not a player. I'm too short. I don't usually go out and play, Mike. I dance.

MT: Right. You are pretty short.
Annie: Well, I do know a lot about basketball now that I didn't before becoming an NBA dancer. Prior to my first year on the team (2005), we had to take tests on all the different team names, divisions and conferences. We had to know every Wolves player and coach, the franchise playoff history, and other knowledge we retained for when we talked to people at the games.

MT: OK. Who won the NBA title last season?
Annie: The Spurs.

MT: Two years ago?
Annie: The Heat.

MT: Snap! Last month, you and five of the girls went to Treasure Island Casino for an appearance. How was the action at TIC?
Annie: It was good. It's nice to have different kinds of appearances, because we usually do lots of poster signing and talking to fans, but in this one we were actually put to work and involved as the "Deal Or No Deal" girls with the cases. Giving away lots of money was enjoyable.

MT: Did you screw up anyone's chances?
Annie: Yes I did. I opened up the $7,000 case (max was $10,000). I made an oops.

MT: Oops. We always do these "Spotlight" interviews courtside before home games, and one of the visiting players that is shooting in front of us smells awful. Can you go get some perfume and spray it on him?
Annie: I don't know if he'd appreciate that, but I always try to keep about 10 kinds of perfume in my stable ... You never know what kind of mood you're going to be in. Winter perfume, summer perfume. You have to have options.

MT: That's fair. If you could only keep two of these senses - sight, hearing, touch and smell - what would you choose?
Annie: That's pretty hard. I'd keep my sight. But, what do you mean by touch? No arms?

MT: Um. Yeah? You can't feel things.
Annie: How would that work?

MT: Good point. Sorry.
Annie: It's OK. Good try.

MT: Any hidden talents?
Annie: I'm pretty good at solving crimes ... When I watch "Criminal Minds," at least. So that's pretty cool. I'm also very solid at board games, like Clue, Sorry and especially Twister. Let's see, what else? I'm double-jointed, I can stand on my toes and I'm undefeated at tube wars.

MT: Right. Are you going on any vacations soon?
Annie: I know for sure that I'm going to a wedding in Baltimore in May with my boyfriend, and I'd like to go on a cruise after the season's over, but it's yet to be planned.

MT: Whom would you rather go on that cruise with, Spencer Pratt or Justin Bobby (pictured above) from the cast of "The Hills."
Annie: Justin Bobby. He has an amazing fashion sense. I mean come on, who doesn’t wear combat boots to the beach? Besides, Spencer Pratt is with Heidi Montag (pictured to the right). I wouldn’t want to hurt their relationship in any way.

MT: That’s very nice of you. You should go call Justin Bobby.
Annie: On my way!

MT: Thanks Annie.
Annie: No problem!