Denver Nuggets Dancers 2019 Finals: What to Watch For

by Alex Labidou
Nuggets.com Staff Writer
@LabidouA

After weeks of grueling auditions, the Denver Nuggets Dancers auditions come to what should be an exciting end at the finals on Saturday. 

One hundred and two women entered their names with the hope of being able to pursue their dreams of being a Denver Nuggets Dancer. Out of a highly-competitive preliminary round, only 33 made the cut on Friday and have been practicing all week for a shot to make the final 18-woman roster for the DND season team. 

With Saturday quickly approaching, here are the biggest storylines to follow heading into the finals: 

Follow the DND finals live on Twitter at 1 p.m. MT: @Nuggets, @NuggetsDancers

Sam’s time to shine: 

DND hopeful Sam is hoping she will finally make the cut in her fourth attempt in making the team. She won’t let her previous three outings deter her ambitions.

“This has been my dream since I was young,” she said. “Even though I haven’t made it in past years, I know what I have to work on. I went back and I worked on them and just fact that I can work on them and get better, that’s why I keep coming back. Hopefully, this is my year.” 

Although Sam hasn’t previously made the team, it isn’t for a lack of talent. She is currently a dancer for the Mammoth, a team under the KSE umbrella, and made the finals in the previous attempt. Sam believes she’s a late bloomer in dance, having started in her senior year in high school, and she feels she’s progressed a lot as a result of her trying to make the DND over the past four years. Sam hopes her perseverance will pay off on Saturday with a spot on the team. 

“Oh my gosh, I can’t even describe the feeling. It would truly be a dream come true,” she said. “To hear my name called, I’m pretty sure I’d break down and start crying.” 

Aussie sensation hopes to bring show to U.S. 

Katie was supposed to be a member of last year’s DND squad. 

She dazzled through the preliminaries and finals and was clearly one of the top performers in the 2018 auditions. Unfortunately, due to work visa issues, the Australian dancer had to withdraw from last year’s team. Everything changed on Thursday for Katie, as her work visa was passed and she’s now eligible to be a member of this year’s team. If she makes the cut. 

“I truly believe if I’m successful in my audition with the Denver Nuggets Dance team, I will have reached the pinnacle of my dancing career,” she said. “The Denver Nuggets Dancers are the most prestigious dance team in the NBA, just because they hold themselves up so high and present themselves so well on and off the court. I think they are amazing and incredible women.” 

Katie has vast amount of dancing experience from her time in Australia. Over the past 10 years, she’s been on three National Rugby League dance teams and two National Basketball League teams. The 28-year-old found her way to Denver due to taking a class from DND manager Amy Jo Wagner two years ago at a dance conference in Phoenix. The aspiring Nuggets dancer was immediately drawn to Wanger’s methods and style of teaching and wanted to continue to working with her. The meeting further inspired Katie to pursue what she feels would be a natural progression off what she’s done in Australia. 

“Australia is amazing, but dancing and professionalism wise, America’s really got it,” she said. “Their NBA, NFL, IFL, they’ve got everything…Go hard or home.” 

Dancing vet hopes to stick around for one more year

Erin is a pro’s pro when it comes to dancing. Prior to her three years with the Nuggets, she had previously worked for the University of Nebraska, the Indiana Pacers, the Carolina Panthers and the Mammoth. Still, she’s aware her previous experience doesn’t provide any guarantee she’ll make the cut on Saturday. 

“I’d be truly honored, I know I’m way past my prime to be doing this,” she said. “If AJ [Amy Jo Wanger] would give me another shot of living my dream for another year, it would really mean a lot.” 

She added, “To end my career with one more year would be really meaningful.” 

Erin believes her time with the Nuggets has been the highlight of her career.

“Far and away this is the best experience I’ve had dancing,” she said. “The group of women, the Nuggets Dance team that I have had the pleasure of dancing with, have been down to earth, grounded women. Very professional and highly talented and I feel honored to dance with this group of women.” 

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