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Jazz Dancer Life

Alex Jazz Dancer Video Diary ep.1

Dancer Diary: Meet Haley

Hey everybody!! My name is Haley, I’m 25 years old and from Farmington. And this is my first year as a Jazz Dancer! Yaya!! I want to show you all the fun things we get do, because it has been one of the greatest experiences of my life… and we haven’t even started games yet! First I’ll tell you a little bit about myself, then I’ll get into the good stuff- life as a Jazz Dancer :)

I grew up cheering and dancing, and it’s always been my passion. I love it!! I’ve been dancing since age 3, and started tumbling when I was 5. I was a cheerleader in junior high for 2 years, then cheered my sophomore year at Davis High School. I then decided that I wanted to dance again so was on the drill team for my junior and senior year. I am so glad to be able to say I did both the cheer and drill team in high school because I love doing both! I danced for a year up at Weber State a few years ago and now here I am, living out a life long dream of being a Jazz Dancer! These are girls I’ve always looked up to and aspired to be like, so I feel extremely privileged to be a part of them. Now I’ve been working a few jobs- I nanny, do hair, teach cheer, and work for  a clothing company called La La Lovely, so I’m kind of all over the place :) . But I like to stay busy so it’s good for me. And of course my favorite job, being a member of the Jazz Dancers!!

I’ve always been a Jazz fan. Growing up my dad shared season tickets with another family so I went to lots of games. It was my absolute favorite thing! My favorite player was Antoine Carr, “Big Dawg”. And my dance teacher was a Jazz Dancer, so a lot of times she would take me down on the court with her and I could cheer on the Jazz right up close. It’s one of my best memories. Ever since then I wanted to become a Jazz Dancer and be just like her. So needless to say this is such an honor for me to finally be able to say I made it.

It’s been such an amazing experience so far! We started practice at the end of August and have been learning dance after dance after dance! We’ve learned about 20 dances, and  had several choreographers come in to teach us routines. It’s a little overwhelming.  We practice for 4 hours twice a week, so practices can get long, but hey we gotta look good for all our great fans!!!

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At practice with Brayden, one of the awesome Choreographers we had come in to teach us a routine. I stole this picture from him :)

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Matching with Val

Appearances are some of the funnest things I’ve ever done! We do a lot of golf tournaments, which I actually enjoy because my dad’s the head pro at a golf course so I’ve always loved to golf. So going to those are really fun! We normally hand out free stuff for the players participating in thetournament, or give them drinks or creamies, or sit at the “hole-in-one” holes to see if they actually get the hole in one and win a free car! So it’s nice to just sit out on the golf course for the day, and meet lots of nice people!

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Karlie and I at the Utah Open at Oakridge Country Club. “Hole-in-One” hole to win a car and handing out Creamies!

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Me, Whitney M., Erica, and Alex up at the Homestead golf course for the “Fore a Cure” tournament for the Hemophilia Foundation.

We did an appearance at Knowlton Elementary in Farmington for their “Fall Festival”. Which a I loved because that’s where I live! There were bounce houses and blow up toys and prizes! We were at the basketball blow up toy where if they made a basket they got a prize! Oh and these are a few of the kids I nanny! I sure love them :)

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Jussssst bein’ cool like the kids on the bus…

And one of my favorite appearances so far was a 19 year old boys birthday party! It was truly the neatest experience. His name is Oakley and he’s honestly one of the funniest people I’ve ever met! He has such a spunky personality and says the wittiest things! And he sure knows his sports, you can ask him any player and he can tell you where he plays, where he’s played in the past, and where he went to college! So you definitely don’t want to challenge him on that haha. Apparently he’s wanted the Jazz Dancers to come to his birthday for the past couple years, but they didn’t know how to get a hold of us. So Shriner’s Hospital finally contacted our coach and we all jumped on the opportunity to get to attend his birthday party. It was Whitney, Valerie, Katy and me who were the lucky ones that got to go and I’m so grateful for the chance I got to not only meet this kid, but make his birthday a little better.

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Havin fun with Oakley the Birthday Boy!! Sure laughed a lot with this kid.

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Chenelle Jazz Dancer Video Diary ep. 3

Kelsey: Game Day Schedule

I have a secret obsession. It’s a crazy and absurd obsession that many might find weird or slightly obsessive compulsive. My obsession is with logistics! I know you are probably thinking really logistics?! I love to figure out schedules, what time I need to arrive places and plan what time I should leave places to go onto the next place. I think maybe I should have a career in something like air traffic control. :) I love to hear the logistics of people’s days and their “to do lists”.  So I thought I would share what a day in the life of Kelsey is like on a game day. For us dancers we have pretty hectic schedules with many of us in school and all of us with jobs other than the Jazz, and logistics and schedules are KEY into have a smooth running day!

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Game days, as they have been for the past couple of games, are usually on week day nights. So this means that my day starts extra early to wake up for school! I wake up at 7:30 and get ready for school. As I am getting ready I am packing my “Jazz” bag for the game that night. I run down to my kitchen, with my school bag and game bag in tow and grab a bowl of cereal and eat while reading the newspaper. It’s important to be up to date with what’s going on locally, nationally and in the world! I am out the door by 8:30 and on my way up to the University of Utah. On my way to class I always stop at the Seven Eleven for a 44 oz diet coke because I NEED my Diet Coke to wake me up and give me some energy to power through the day!

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Once I am up at the U of U, I am in classes from 9:10 to 12:45. After my last class I grab something to eat and another Diet Coke (of course) and head to the library to study and do my homework for that night because I won’t have time to do it later that night. I study and do home work until 2:45. I then hike ( it literally feels like a hike) across campus to my car. From there I drive down to the ESA. We have to be in our dressing room at 3:45 but most of us get there around 3:20. Once in the dressing room I change and get into my practice clothes. From 4-5 we practice and space our dances for that night out on the court. After we are done with that we go back into the dressing room and eat dinner that the Jazz provides for us and get ready for the game. At 6 we have to be ready to go with our hair and makeup and in our sweats. Our coach goes over the game schedule for that night and then we go upstairs and greet the fans coming in! At 6:40 we go back down stairs and get into our first outfit for the game and touch up our hair and makeup and get stretched and warmed up to go! The game starts around 7:10 and ends usually around 9:30. After the game we go into the locker room and grab our bags and change out of our outfits and our coach reviews with us how the game went and how we performed. By the time we leave it usually 9:50. On the way I always get a Diet Coke (I am not even ashamed.) I am home around 10: 45 and go and immediately get ready for bed because I am exhausted by then! I always try and be asleep by 12:00 because the next day I usually have early morning class again!

That’s the logistics of my day. It’s a crazy hectic day on game days but so worth it! I feel so lucky to call this my job, because it isn’t even like a job to me!

Kelsey: Being Jazz Fit

Any athlete, no matter the sport, can agree that in order to be an athlete you have to be in your top physical shape. As a dancer, the same saying applies. Why do you think most of the NFL line men take dance classes in their off season?! For coordination and being able to move quickly! As a Jazz dancer we have to be in our top physical shape. Not only to maintain a healthy looking figure but to have a healthy body so we can perform to the best of our abilities. Games require a lot of energy to get through and take physical strength and stamina. Try sprinting, jumping up and down and dancing all while in costumes with a smile on your face!

I have been dancing for 17 years and while being a Jazz Dancer, this is the easiest for me to dance. Why?! Because I am in my best physical shape I have ever been in! We Jazz dancers have a secret weapon, our trainer, Neil Anderson from GPP Fitness. Neil has been the Jazz dancer’s trainer for a couple of years now. And his workouts WORK!

GPP Fitness is located in Centerville, Utah and the first time I went I was a little hesitant. I have always been used to going to gyms with the big, fancy machines. Whereas GPP looks like a warehouse with the old school weights, tires, rowers and an adult version of the monkey bars. But that’s GPP’s point exactly, the old stuff works. The basics give you the best results! Neil’s philosophy is not only to be the healthiest “YOU” but to be mentally healthy as well, and living an active life promotes that! And whatever your needs, if you are just starting out, training for a marathon, or a dancer, GPP can accommodate certain workouts to specifically help you meet your goal! The way that they do it is workout classes. If you can’t make it to his gym he puts his workouts for that day on his website. With links to GPP’s YouTube page to show the specific move if you don’t understand it. Because I am a student and live a busy life most days, when I don’t have practice and can’t make it to his gym I do the workouts online. The workouts can range 20 minutes to an hour. But the key is to know you are not competing with anyone else, only yourself. From doing these workouts I have seen muscles I never knew existed and my energy and stamina levels have increased immensely! I promise they can work for you too!

If you get a chance head up to GPP or check out the workouts online! This stuff works and you will see results soon!

I especially love the Jazz Fit games because of the routines we do (I loved the one with the Bear!) but because we help promote fitness. Here are some pictures of our Jazz Fit night!

Have a great week!!

♥ Kelsey

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Video: Jazz Dancers 2012-13 Photo Shoot

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Kelsey: Happy Holidays

I hope everyone’s Holidays were happy and safe! Us Jazz girls had an amazing Holiday season!

As a team we celebrated the Holidays by going to dinner for one of our practices before Christmas. We went to El Matador in Bountiful, which is a Mexican restaurant with some delicious food. We were definitely the loudest group there! We started off by eating and then got into the gift exchanging. For the gifts we each had to bring a white elephant (gag gift), and a present for our secret sister.

Our “secret sister” is a girl on the team, whose name we drew at the beginning of the season, that we secretly give gifts to, mainly their favorite treats, clothes, etc. My secret sister got me the perfect gift! It was a homemade diet coke “Christmas tree” with different earrings as the “ornaments”! It was my two favorite things, diet coke and jewelry in one! Fun fact: I drink at least 5 cans of Diet coke a day. :) We then did our white elephant gifts. We started youngest to oldest and had to go pick a present from the pile. There were the funniest gifts! I got these light foam sticks, which lit up in different colors. Some of the best ones were a “white trash” beauty kit that had Doritos for tanning, fake hair and some other hilarious things to go along with it. Some girls gave some old antiques that you wonder how they made, or purchased. There was a fake stuffed duck that looked so real it was scary! I gave a big cane that that was filled with bubble gum. We had some pretty good laughs at the gifts but mostly at the girl who was opening the gift’s reaction! After that we were given our presents from our coach, Jan. She gave us a Jazz jersey and a Jazz tee shirt- that we are now wearing to practice in before the games! It was such a fun party and a great way to start the Holidays.

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Over the Holidays I spent time with my family and caught up on some much needed sleep and relaxing! Christmas time is the biggest time of the year in my family, as I am sure for many of you as well! We have some pretty cool traditions in my family! My parents do 12 days of Christmas for my brothers and sisters and my nieces and nephews. So the 12 days before Christmas we get a present, or go to dinner as a family. It’s the perfect way to countdown to Christmas! I wish everyone had an exciting Christmas and I hope that everyone has a happy and prosperous New Years! And I hope that the Jazz have a successful rest of the season! Happy New Years!!!

P.S. The very last picture in the post is from a couple weeks ago from the Jazz- Spurs game when Mo Williams scored the last second deep three pointer shot! Sam, one of the other dancers, just found it for us! I thought it was HILARIOUS because our faces capture the emotions right before Mo was about to shoot perfectly!

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Chenelle: Jazz Dancer Video Diary Ep. 2

Kelsey: Charity Appearances

Practices and games have been so much fun! We have been learning new dances each practice and have some very fun themed dances coming up! The whole experience has been very rewarding. But, the most rewarding part of being a Jazz dancer has been the charity appearances. I have had the most amazing experiences with the charity functions I have been able to attend. The Jazz puts a huge focus on giving back and reaching out to the community.

The first appearance was The Taste of Utah at The Grand America Hotel at down town Salt Lake. This charity gala was for Cystic Fibrosis, a disease that affects almost 30,000 children in the United States. It was our job to sell raffle tickets for prizes that were being auctioned off! It was so cool because the Jazz had donated so many things to be auctioned off. There were shoes signed by the players, jerseys and tickets for the games! One of the most coveted items was a signed basketball by legendary Jazz coach Jerry Sloan. It was so amazing to be apart of such an amazing event representing the Jazz and raising money for a disease that affects so many.

The next charity appearance was at Primary Children’s hospital. This appearnce has been a tradition for the past 30 years for the dancers, players, bear and coaches to go and visit the children and had out toys. I was.paired up with another dancer and the Bear to go around and visit room to room. We handed out small basketballs and posters to the kids. It was so much fun going with the bear because the kids LOVED him. He was getting on the beds with them, running around and scaring the hospital staff! Every child kept on saying “that silly bear! He’s crazy!” The kids were so excited to see some of their favorite players. And kept saying “Go Jazz!” It was such a rewarding way to spend my afternoon and help those kids feel a little bit better.