Finalists Announced for 2018-19 Magic Dance Team

Final auditions to be held on Friday at Amway Center
by Josh Cohen

ORLANDO – One by one after hearing their audition numbers called, the 30 Orlando Magic Dancer finalists walked forward and convened at the center of the RDV Sportsplex gym, the site of Saturday’s first round tryouts.

The distance of that walk – though for most of the finalists it turned into more of a sprint – was not a far one, probably about 10 or 15 feet from where they were initially waiting with tremendous anticipation.

However, the thrill of the moment and the delight of finding out they each are finalists made it seem like the distance traveled was far greater. And in many ways – on a more symbolic level – it was.

The journey to get to this point, though their respective paths certainly differ, made that seemingly short and effortless stroll ahead feel more like a cross-country race.

Regardless of whether it was a finalist’s first time auditioning or if they’ve been down this road before, knowing they have the opportunity to compete for one of the 20 open spots on the 2018-19 squad brought unmistakable joy to all of their faces.

For some, it’s always been a dream to be a Magic Dancer.

Adrianis, who is auditioning for the first time, has dreamed about being on this team ever since she was a high school student and performed at Amway Center during halftime of Magic games. For three straight years, she got a taste of what that experience is like, and now she’s hoping she can step onto that court under the bright lights more regularly.

“It would mean a lot (if she made team),” she said. “It would be very exciting because I consider Orlando my home, it’s where I grew up.”

“I’m excited to meet a lot of people and I’m also excited to learn more about what the team is about,” she added about what her expectations are for the rest of the audition process. “It’s going to be a lot of fun.”

Amaya, another first-time finalist, shares a very similar story. The thought of being a Magic Dancer has motivated her for as long as she can remember.

“Ever since I was little, I just wanted to be on that gym floor,” she said. “I worked hard, trained every day, danced every day and I’m here now and it’s unbelievable.”

Hard work and perseverance has paid off for Jenna, who has been dancing since she was 3 years old. Amazed by how talented all of her fellow finalists are, the 20-year-old says this opportunity is humbling and flattering.

Like the other 29 finalists, Jenna is looking forward to the week ahead. Starting on Sunday, all 30 finalists will participate in fun, yet challenging, assessments. The boot camp portion will help the judges evaluate each dancer’s fitness and conditioning levels. There also will be interview sessions, which will allow representatives of the Magic to help gauge how energetic, passionate and committed each of the women are about dance and being a part of the Magic family.

“I can’t wait to start tomorrow and get into my interviews and just kill it all week,” Jenna said.

The audition process never gets old for veteran candidates, either. Kiki, who is hoping to make the team for a fourth straight season, is eager to get reacquainted with last season’s teammates and meet the women who are auditioning for the first time.

Already having experienced so much in her three prior years on the team, the New York City native has some important advice for first-time finalists.

“Stay focused and have fun,” she emphasized.


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