Camping and Dancing

Posted: Sept. 24, 2001

The Phoenix Suns aren't the only ones preparing for the upcoming NBA season. The 2001-02 Suns Dance Team is working out and learning new routines to entertain fans at America West Arena this year.

The 14-member squad, which was announced following open auditions earlier this summer, even held its own training camp recently in Show Low, Ariz. The following is a timeline of the three-day camp in the words of the dancers themselves.


6 PM -- Depart Phoenix

9 PM -- Arrive at Cabin in Show Low

Renee: "As soon as we pulled up all I could think about were the bugs. All I wanted to do was run into the house and cover myself up so I wouldn't get eaten alive by the mosquitos. But then I looked up at the stars in the sky to see how beautiful and peaceful it was. This way I forgot about the bugs for a moment. Then something flew by... I remembered."

9:30 PM -- Snacks and Magazine Time

Cori: "We had so many snacks there that it was a good thing we did intense exercising the entire weekend! We brainstormed ideas for costumes and fashion ideas."

10:30 PM -- Indoor Team Building Activity

Ranasha: "Our parents had sent letters and childhood pictures of each one of us. It was a great way to learn about my fellow teammates. Some of the stories were shocking, others sweet and many were hilarious."

12 AM -- Lights Out!

Kari: "Going to sleep was quite difficult considering the fact that we had an indoor wind chime on the ceiling fan above our heads. We were all so tired that it didn't even seem to phase us after a while. Renee (a.k.a. Shorty) hung out down stairs with us because she seemed to believe that there was a flying ant under her pillow. We finally talked her into going upstairs to face her fears and go to sleep. It was an entertaining evening."


7:30AM -- Wake-Up Call

Renee: "After a late night of listening to funny blackmailing stories we were hit with the news that we would be waking up at the crack of dawn. All I could think was, 'Oh what a day tomorrow is gonna be.' Soon the call came and so the day began."

8 AM -- Outdoor Team Workout

Jill: "After a quick set of group pictures, we set out for our morning workout. Walking and running while trying not to trip on rocks, we struggled to make our way up and down the numerous hills. As we struggled to breathe, due to the high altitude, we longed for first sight of our sweet little cabin. Once we arrived we got drinks, collapsed and sat in silence."

10 AM -- Travel to Show Low High for Dance Practice

Courtney: "After our morning run, we had a 20minute rid to get our lung capacity back before we began dancing. Ranasha and Amy Jo taught the Team two fierce routines which left everyone with red faces and yet again, out of breathe. Our spirits lifted as (Dance Team Coordinator) Maggie called out, 'Lunch Time!'"

12:30 PM -- Return to Cabin for Lunch

Courtney: "We came back from a grueling practice and re-fueled ourselves for our afternoon practice. (My first weekend eating six healthy meals in a row, ignoring the ice cream.) Before we became too relaxed, Drill Sergeant Maggie had us back on the bus to afternoon practice."

2 PM -- Back to Show Low High for Dance Practice No. 2

Kristine: "The second practice consisted of learning two routines. A cute one from Moulin Rouge that Paige and Heather taught us, and a fast-paced fun hip-hop routine from Courtney. We then performed everything we had learned for the Show Low High School cheerleaders. Also we had a quick partner competition of choreography, style and performance. That was fun! Last but not least we went outside and played on the monkey bars. We were just 'hangin' Around!'"

4:30 PM -- Return to Cabin

Amy Jo: "After dancing all day we were all in desperate need of showers. STINKY GIRLS!! After cleaning up we all sprawled out on the living room floor and dug through a giant crate of CDs and magazines. We had lots of laughs searching for songs to use and looking for costume inspiration."

6 PM -- Dinner

Lisa : "After a long day of grueling work, our stomachs were in need of a little nourishment. We all gathered around and talked while Maggie, our ever so sweet coach, slaved over the stove making us pizza and chicken salad. We stuffed our faces and laughed while discussing life's little mysteries."

7:30 PM -- Indoor Team Building Activity (Story Telling)

Amy Jo: "We started out by asking each other questions from a little book of random questions. Each girl's answer led into a series of funny stories. The funniest were the 'most embarrassing moment' stories, especially Heathers."

9:45 PM -- Ice Cream Time!!

Heather: "The sweet tooths of the group had a sudden attack for ice cream. That would be nine of us. So we all slammed into the good ole van like sardines and headed out of the deserted woods into the desolate little city of Show Low. Just in the nick of time... Dairy Queen!! We ran in like a bunch of school girls at recess and ordered heaps of ice cream while salivating at the counter."


7:30 AM -- Wake-Up Call

Jamie: "It probably took Maggie three tries to get me out of bed. Once she did my eyes were still half shut as we headed out for another sunrise mountain run."

8 AM -- Outdoor Team Workout

Renee: "During out morning hikes, all I could think of was, 'Don't think about the pain. Don't think about how my lungs are burning and my heart is pounding. Instead think happy thoughts!' How great it was to be making memories with new friends."

9:15 AM -- Team Clean-Up

Sokeng: "With visions of our comfortable beds at home, we quickly threw everything into the van in less than half the time it took us to unload. A round up of the dirty towels, a few wipes of the counter tops and we were off to an altitude friendly Phoenix."

10 AM -- Depart Show Low

Kristine: "During the ride home we reflected on the weekend together and ran through the dances in our heads while listening to fun songs. As we arrived in Phoenix we sadly parted. We knew, however, that we would be together again soon."

12:30 PM -- Arrive in Phoenix

Paige: "With the temperature rising, we knew we were home again. We were already talking and laughing about the weekend behind us, but mostly we were looking forward to a good night sleep in our own beds and a great Suns season."


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