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A Q&A With Timberwolves Dancer Hannah

by Kyle Ratke, Digital Content Manager

Digital Content Manager

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We were lucky enough to catch up with Timberwolves Dancer Hannah to discuss her journey to where she is today, why she never stopped dancing and what young dancers can do to prepare themselves for the future. 

How did you get involved in dance?

Compared to most dancers, I was a late bloomer and became involved with dance at the age of seven (most of my dance friends started when they were three or four). At the house we were living at during this time, there was one large wall that had mirrors from the floor to the ceiling. I would dress up in sweatpants and a crop top and dance to Britney Spears in the mirror almost every night (and I mean every night). It was then that my mom thought I needed a little more structure so she signed me up for my first dance class at a local studio in Farmington, MN. Thank you, Britney Spears.  

What made you audition for the Timberwolves Dancers?

My dad had won two free tickets to a Timberwolves/Raptors game back in 2001 and I tagged along. That was not only my first Timberwolves game, but also the first time I had ever seen the Timberwolves Dancers. Growing up, I would always attend a few games every season, and each time I became more and more interested in the program. Fast forward to 2016 and I had just moved to Minneapolis to start my sophomore year of college at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. At the time, I had taken a break from dancing and was looking for the next opportunity when I found out that auditions were being held in the summer. I quickly acted on that opportunity!   

How many years have you been on the team?

This season will be my fourth season as a Minnesota Timberwolves Dancers. (That means I’ve danced at almost 150 basketball games in the last few years…CRAZY!)

What is your favorite part about being a Timberwolves Dancer?

This is an extremely difficult question because I have so many! Of course, this jobs comes with a TON of great opportunities both on and off the court such as being apart of a team, making life-long friends, performing with artists, and dancing at 41 basketball games a season (which not many people can say they have done!), but really my favorite part about being a Timberwolves Dancer is a little bit deeper than that. My favorite part about this job is the life lessons it has taught me. I have never been in a position in any of the jobs I’ve previously had where I have learned so much about myself.  At the time of joining the team in 2016, I was still getting to know who I was as a person and as a woman. But as each season goes by, I continue to grow and push past my own limitations and boundaries. I often find myself thinking, “Wow, if I wasn’t a Timberwolves Dancer, I don’t know how I would have known how to handle that.” This job truly has prepared me for any situation possible out in the real world, and that has got to be my favorite part about being a Timberwolves Dancer. 

How can others join the team?

If interested in becoming a Minnesota Timberwolves Dancer, there’s really only one way to join the team and that is being dedicated. Attend Prep Classes in late Spring, reach out to one of the girls on the team, start brushing up on your basketball knowledge, come cheer on the Timberwolves during the season, and ultimately get involved in any way possible! 

What studios/teams had the biggest influence in your dance career?

Growing up, I had danced at a few different dance studios, but the studio that had the biggest influence in my dance career was JAMM Dance Co. located in Rosemount, MN. It was essentially my second home and the place where I found my true passion for dancing. While playing school sports was the “thing” to do for most of my friends, I spent almost six days a week in a dance studio learning ballet, pointe, tap, jazz, contemporary, hip hop, acro, and musical theater. It was long hours for a kid my age, but above all, the studio taught me true discipline which, when being a professional dancer for the NBA, is one of the most important attributes you can have. 

What impact do you think you have on young dancers who attend the Timberwolves Dance Clinic and get the opportunity to perform on the Target Center court with you?

One of the biggest impacts I believe I have on the younger dancers who attend the Timberwolves Kids Clinic is showing them where following their passion can land them. Even at the age of five when I attended my first Timberwolves game and saw the Timberwolves Dancers, they made enough of an impact on me where I wanted to be just like them when I was older. I think for young boys and girls attending our clinics they are around young women that are passionate about their job and that can be really inspiring no matter what age they are.  

What has been the highlight of being a Timberwolves Dancer so far?

The highlight of being a Timberwolves Dancer is obviously landing the spotlight on this blog, duh?! No, but in all seriousness, the highlight so far has been the number of people I have met from one season to the next that have inspired me and impacted my life in one way or another. After being apart of this organization for the last four years, you really feel like one big family after awhile. You walk through the back hallway and know everyone by name and it just feels good to be surrounded by people you know so well. It is these relationships I’ve established with other members of the organization that I’ll take with me long after I exit the media entrance. 

How has this been a life-changing opportunity for you?

Let me just start this answer with, I would not be the person I am today had I not decided to try out for this team four years ago. This has been a life-changing opportunity in a sense that it has provided me with opportunities that if someone were to tell me “Hey, this will happen if you make this team,” I’d think they were joking.  As a local dancer, I would never have thought I would dance with artists such as G-Eazy, Lil Jon, Coolio, Quad City DJs, and many many more. I would have never thought I would be traveling internationally to represent this organization. I also never would have thought I would meet some of the greatest people in my life from this opportunity. 

What makes this job so unique?

This job is unique in that it is both mentally and physically demanding. While in this particular position you are always “on,” which at times can be challenging. A lot of “life” happens while clocked in and some days are harder than others. On the other hand, however, it is so unique because you can truly take the experience you’ve learned from this job and apply it to any other job in any other industry and be able to confidently handle it. I always joke with my Coach about this, but you haven’t worked in a real “fast-paced environment,” until you’ve worked in the NBA and that is what makes this job so unique.

What is your advice to young dancers who want to follow in your footsteps?

My biggest advice to younger dancers is to KEEP DANCING. You’ll eventually grow older and find interests in other areas of your life, but the best thing you can do is keep this in your back pocket. I thought I would stop dancing the minute I graduated from high school. I would focus on a “real career” and dedicate my life to a different craft. Fortunately, dance opportunities never left me alone and it alternatively turned into the craft that I preferred perfecting over my full-time job (shh, don’t tell the agency I work for!). The point is, don’t dismiss the things you grew to love growing up because you can turn them into a career. I did, and now I’m fortunate that I can wake up and do this every day. 

Learn More about 2019-20 Dance Clinic here.

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