The Women Behind the Miami HEAT Dancers: Crystal and Natalia

Behind the scenes of the Miami HEAT Dancers, we’ve got an incredible group of strong and powerful women who help
manage, highlight, and challenge our team on and off the court. These women help give the Dancers opportunities to
shine as individuals well beyond their time here at the HEAT. Being a HEAT Dancer is about so much more than just
powerful dance, and these two women act as the catalyst for the positive change that has been made within this team.
Let’s meet this dynamic duo: Natalia Gonzalez, MHD Head Coach and Crystal Rogers, Game Operations & Entertainment

header image of Crystal and Natalia

Natalia Gonzalez

Director of Miami HEAT Dancers

What is your definition of girl power?

My definition of girl power is achieving things independently with the support of other women. It’s having
confidence in everything that you do and being vulnerable.

Going from a HEAT Dancer to now the Head Coach, how has it been for you to see the amazing evolution of this
dance program?

To have been able to witness and be a part of the evolution of this dance program is surreal and frightening at
times. I of all people understand what this program has meant to so many dancers, past, present, and future. I know
I carry a big responsibility to ensure that this program is elevated to its fullest potential. It truly has been an
amazing journey to see how far we’ve come and how much more we can and will achieve with this dance team.

Picture of Natalia with the Miami HEAT Dancers

What’s something you’ve done this year to take care of your mental health?

Something I’ve done to take care of my mental health is to truly disconnect from work when I am home. As a creative
person with a creative job, it’s hard to not get lost for hours on my phone/laptop browsing the Internet for the
latest dance trends, my next concept video idea, new music mixes, and fashion trends. When I’m home I’m 100%
committed to being a mom, wife, and committed to myself and my self-care.

Becoming a HEAT Dancer involves so much more than just dance. How important is it for you to empower the dancers
to become strong women off the court?

It is extremely important for me to empower these ladies to become confident women off the court because more often
than not, they only feel confident when dancing. I’d like to believe that as their coach I play a small role in
building their confidence and making them see that dance is not the only thing that makes them great, it’s just a
small part. They are the true superpower, and they hold the key to unlocking their inner goddess.

Picture of Natalia coaching the Miami HEAT Dancers

Has there been a moment this season where you remember feeling extra proud of your team?

A moment this season I remember feeling extra proud of this team was during our first Advancing Through Dancing presented by AT&T
workshop. The workshop was about public speaking and we had Toastmasters put the team through an exercise where they
all had to speak in front of the audience for at least a minute on random topics. They were all sweating, super
nervous, but they all got up on the podium and did their best. That’s when I knew that this program was going to be

Picture of Natalia with group of people

If there was one piece of advice you’d offer to a woman looking to join the Miami HEAT Dancers, what would it

One piece of advice I’d offer to women looking to join the Miami HEAT Dancers would be to fully commit to the
process. Yes, we are a dance team. Yes, you will grow as a dancer. But as an organization, we see more than just
dancers. We see stories, we see women, and we want to help build the next generation of leaders. You have to go
all-in and be committed to us because we are 100% committed to you.

Crystal Rogers

Game Operations & Entertainment Manager

What is your definition of girl power?

To me, girl power is a combination of two things. It’s doing what makes you feel strong, and on top of the world,
but it’s also having your girl gang there to back you up. Alone, you can accomplish incredible things, but there is
power in numbers. When you have the support of other women, the possibilities are limitless. Working with Coach
Natalia and our 19 HEAT Dancers always gives me “girl power” vibes. We have an incredible girl gang!

Picture of Crystal and Natalia

How have you been able to empower this team of strong women in your current role with the HEAT Dancers?

I have been able to empower this team by being their voice to the rest of the Miami HEAT organization. Coach Natalia
and I want to make sure our Dancers know they are heard, and that their opinions are valued. Being empowered means
something different to everyone. My main goal is to make sure each Dancer's version of empowerment is respected and
understood, whether that be helping them find their strengths, overcome their fear of public speaking, or help them
have more self-confidence, I want to make sure they know I am always in their corner.

Picture of Crystal and Natalia 2

What’s something you’ve done this year to take care of your mental health?

Spending time with my family is what keeps me sane. I have a one-year-old daughter who has brought so much joy to my
life. My husband and I take in every moment with her because we know how quickly her childhood will pass. We have a
long hiking path behind our neighborhood and enjoy taking walks with her and our two dogs every day to clear our
minds. It seems so cliche, but just taking time to enjoy the day’s sunrises and sunsets makes all the stresses of
life go away, even if only for a short time. That and watching Ted Lasso! How can you not be happy after watching
one of those episodes?

What’s something you’re most proud of this season?

This season I am most proud of executing our “Advancing Through Dancing” program presented by AT&T. For the first
time in MHD history, we are hosting professional development workshops aimed to provide the young women on our team
with the tools and experiences needed to succeed once their time performing on the court comes to an end.

Our Dancers have had the opportunity to learn from women who are the best in their industries. The women included:
Tracy Wilson Mourning, Nikki Spoelstra, Tracey Gee, Cindy Prado, and Toastmasters International have left an
enormous impact by sharing their knowledge and experiences with this team. I am proud to be able to organize these
seminars and give our Dance team opportunities to learn from such empowering and inspiring women.

Group shot

Has there been a moment during your time with the Miami HEAT that you’ll never forget?

NBA All-Star Weekend. From a young girl and through my college years, there was not a day that I didn’t play
basketball. This game has always been my passion, so naturally, my childhood dream was to attend an NBA All-Star
Game, but the tickets were always too expensive. Now that I have been part of the Miami HEAT organization for eight
seasons, I’ve been lucky enough to attend FOUR All-Star Weekends, and they have truly been the best experiences of
my entire life. I’ve had the privilege of witnessing Dwyane Wade and Kobe Bryant’s last All-star appearances and
those moments are engraved in my memory forever.

However, the most special part about those weekends is the quality time I was able to spend with my HEAT Game
Operations department. They are my extended family, and there is not a better group of people to work with. I have
some of the greatest memories of my life from these trips. (Shoutout Game Ops!) I am so grateful to this
organization for bringing my childhood dreams to life.

All-star image

If there was one piece of advice you’d offer to a woman looking to join the Miami HEAT Dancers, what would it

Get ready to work! We are the hardest working Dance Team in the NBA for a reason, and that is a spirit we carry
throughout the entire season. From the moment you audition to your last day on this team, we expect you to be a
hardworking, professional, trustworthy, passionate, accountable team player. We are looking for young women who not
only have a passion for dance but also a hunger to grow their professional careers. Being a MHD is about so much
more than dancing on the court at HEAT games. The Miami HEAT has invested an incredible amount into this Dance Team,
so Coach Natalia and I want to make sure we have a fierce group of young women representing this first-class

Picture of Crystal
Picture of Crystal with D. Wade