Archive for the ‘Hornets’ Category

Honeybees European Travel Diary

Wednesday, October 1st, 2008

New Orleans Hornets: Several members of the 2008-09 Honeybees squad traveled to Europe to perform in Marseille and Lyon, France to promote the NBA through September 1. Follow along as the girls write about their experiences overseas!

Angele’s Entry
Hi Hornets fans! My name is Angele and although this trip has just begun it’s already been an experience of a lifetime.

We left from the New Orleans airport on Saturday the 23rd. 3 flights and 19 hours later we arrived in Marseille, France. By the end of our journey we were so exhausted but as soon as we saw the beautiful view of Marseille from the window of the airplane our exhaustion faded away and excitement took over. When we stepped off the plane we met Agnes, our translator/life-saver, and headed to the hotel. Our first meal in France was different but exciting. We all tried ratatouille for the first time and thoroughly enjoyed our super double banana split for dessert. Don’t worry, we worked off every calorie because after dinner we went straight to practice to prepare for our first performance with the NBA Jam Van in Marseille. We practiced until we couldn’t go any more. Our long day was finally over.

On Monday we were excited and eager to get up because we knew it was our performance day. But before we arrived at the event location we had to squeeze in one more practice. We proceeded to the pool for a poolside rehearsal when OOps! we set off the alarm. The pool wasn’t open for the day yet so we moved it to the parking lot. Our outdoor breakfast of crescents and fresh squeezed orange juice was delicious and we got a kick out of the birds that surrounded our table the whole time. Our first day at the Jam Van event was unbelievable. Once we wrapped up our work for the day we took a train ride on a tour of the city and explored the Basillica Lady of the Guard. This catholic church sits on the highest natural point Marseille and the view from the top is breathtaking. We grabbed a quick dinner and then experienced a little of the Marseille night life. We headed back to the hotel early to rest up for another exciting day.

I am so honored to be taking part in such a great experience and can’t wait to see what else in store for the remainder of our trip. See you all back at the Hive!!

Trista’s Entry
Bonjour! Its August, 25th an it’s our 2nd day in Marseille France. We started our day with practice and then changed into our swimsuits. The Mediterranean Sea was only minutes away so we decided to hit the beach. It was gorgeous! We caught some rays, and attempted to go into the water, but it was way too cold. None of us were brave enough to jump in and go for it. It felt like we were standing in a bucked of ice. After the beach it was time to get down to business and perform once again for Marseille! Upon arrival at the Jam Van site we first noticed a group of male fans from the day before waiting there for us with smiles on their faces and cameras in hand. We officially have groupies! We performed two more routines, signed autographs and even judged the slam dunk contest! It was AWESOME! We were very impressed with all of the creative dunks. After we managed to sneak away from our groupies, our hostess took us to the most unique and exquisite restaurant in Marseille. I would have to say this was my favorite meal so far. Sadly our trip to Marseille came to an end, but Lyon here we come!!!!

August 26th - This morning we woke up to start a whole new adventure. Off to Lyon! We arrived at the train station and low and behold…our groupies were waiting for us at the top of the escalator with flowers in hand. We were so flattered and realized we had gained a personal fan club in Marseille. It was time for us to get on the train now and sadly we had to tell our hostess goodbye. Agnes was so wonderful to us. We’ll really miss her. Getting on the train was a little stressful because none of us had ever been on a train before. Finding our seats was easy but finding enough room for the army’s worth of luggage that we had was a task in itself. What a spectacle we made trying to stuff our huge bags in such a small space. It took some real teamwork and the grace of God to get all 15 heavy suitcases off the train in 5 minutes, but we did it. Once in Lyon, we were greeted by our new hostess Clara. After we checked into the hotel we took a walk to downtown Lyon, did a little shopping, and had the best pasta ever for dinner. So far I’m impressed with Lyon and we’re just getting started.

Stay tuned for more from Adrienne! Geaux Hornets!

Adrienne’s Entry
Our only full day off in Europe started with the girls and I visiting the highest point in Lyon. The Basilique Notre-Dame de Fourviere, which was an 11 century chapel. The interior of the chapel was filled with detailed stained glass and sculptures. Surrounding the outside of the chapel was breathtaking views of the entire city of Lyon.

After leaving the highest point in the city, we walked around the old quarter of Lyon. Its pedestrian-only streets were lined with antique shops, galleries, and restaurants. One of the flower shops featured a carnivorous plant. It was one of the most unique things I have ever seen. Our hostess Clara told us not to put our finger close to the plant because the plant would bite it. I was tempted to do anyway but visions of losing a finger in France convinced me not to.

After touring the city on foot during the day we decided to see the city in a different way. We took a boat ride tour of the city at sunset. The Hermes was a boat that offered dinner and a wonderful tour of the city. The girls and I were overly excited to learn that the ship offered dinner menus in English. This was the first time in 5 days that we were able to read our own menus without any help. The ship began taking us down the Rhone river, and back up the Saone river along the Renaissance quarters of old Lyon. When the ride was complete we enjoyed the beautiful weather as we walked back to the hotel.

Martine’s Entry
Hey Hornets fans!

I am sure you’re enjoying your sneak peek on our awesome trip to France. Well, it’s not over just yet!

Although it’s Friday and our trip is coming to an end, we still have lots ahead of us! At this point we are all pretty worried about Gustav and our families back at home, but we are also super excited to perform, and to see beautiful Lyon!

We got to sleep in a little this morning, which was pretty awesome since yesterday we had a long day of travel! As soon as we got up, we felt like our trip had started all over! We were so excited to be performing for a whole new crowd in Lyon. This time we met the Jam Van in a beautiful park right down the street from our hotel. It was a beautiful day and the crowd was waiting with excitement to see our performance! We performed four times that day! They couldn’t get enough! IT was A LOT OF FUN, and the parks beautiful breeze keep us smiling!

That night our tour guide wanted to show us a little nightlife in Lyon, so she took us to a boat party. It was so much fun! We danced a little and enjoyed meeting some of the locals even though communicating with them was pretty tough!

The next morning we enjoyed a wonderful breakfast at our hotel! We were then off to perform for Lyon! We arrived to an even bigger crowd than the day before! I think our fans must have spread the ‘WORD’. Another successful day at the Jam Van! That night our hostess, Clara, invited us to her Lyon apartment for dinner. It was a nice relaxing evening with our new friend. She makes a mean pizza!

I have to say Lyon was a very beautiful place with such delicious food! The crowd was amazing and the weather was perfect! I miss it already!!

Just get ready fans! The journey home was pretty interesting!! Stay Tuned!

Krista’s Entry
BONJOUR HORNETS FANS! It’s August 31st, our last day in Lyon, France. After catching up on some rest, we began practice and really stepped up our final Jam Van performance in France. Our last day was unbelievable! We were told this was the largest crowd Jam Van has ever seen on a Sunday. Kids of all ages were playing two-on-two basketball with us. Later on, we judged a Slam Dunk contest and performed three energized dance routines to an excited crowd. We were honored that people were eager to communicate, take pictures with us, and wait in line for our autographs. Our new French fans made us feel so special! We went back to the hotel early to finish packing and to enjoy our last night in France despite the sadness that our trip was coming to an end.

September 1st – our travel day to go back to the United States. On this rainy morning, we departed from our hotel to get a head start on our long journey. We said our goodbyes to our hostess Clara and waited two hours for our flight to Paris. When we arrived in Paris we finally faced the reality that we were really going home! We became anxious and ecstatic to return, but hurricane Gustov’s approach made our final destination a bit of a mystery. Apprehensions were building. Will we land in Houston, Dallas, or anywhere near the gulf coast? Our trip was extended with an unexpected stay in Houston for 3 nights until it was safe to return to NOLA. What an adventure! At the end of it all, our homes and families endured minimal damage. I’m very grateful for the opportunity to visit France and honored to represent the NBA and our New Orleans Hornets. This season is going to rock! Geaux Hornets!

Honeybee Audition Results

Monday, August 18th, 2008

Auditions are over and the 2008-09 dance team for the New Orleans Hornets has been unveiled. Click here to check out some photos from finals. Then
go here to see who made the team!

Honeybee Finals Open to the Public This Sunday

Saturday, July 26th, 2008

New Orleans Hornets: The Hornets invite fans to come and watch the final auditiosn for the 2008-09 Honeybees Dance Team on Sunday, July 27. Auditions will be held from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the House of Blues. Click here for more information.

Charlotte Lady Cat Amanda

Thursday, May 22nd, 2008

Charlotte Lady Cat Amanda didn’t dream of dancing in the NBA or cheering in the NFL while growing up in North Carolina, because there were no major league teams in the state at the time. But eventually expansion came to Carolina and Amanda earned the opportunity to cheer and dance for not just one but three professional teams: The Charlotte Lady Cats, The Carolina TopCats, and the Charlotte Honeybees. Throw in a two-year stint as a Washington Redskins Cheerleader Ambassador when she worked in the nation’s capital and she’s done quite well for someone who never even thought she would have chance to cheer professionally.

Amanda started dancing at age five and cheered throughout high school at Parkland High in Winston-Salem. At UNC-Charlotte she was a member of the school’s official dance team the 49er Gold Dusters, and graduated with a BS in Business Management/Human Resources.

Amanda, Charlotte Lady CatAmanda, Charlotte Lady Cat

Out of school Amanda says Professional Cheerleading was the natural next step in performing. When the opportunity came up to audition for the Panthers, She decided to give it a shot.

Telling herself that she would be fine no matter what happened, Amanda arrived at Ericcsson Stadium (now Bank of America Stadium) on audition day, pinned her number to her outfit, made a few friends upstairs to keep her company. She remembers taking a peak at the field from one of the luxury suite windows high above and wondering if she’d be down there performing.

When she was done with her audition, Amanda was thinking - “It’s fine if you didn’t make it this year, you took a chance, you showed up, you did your best, there’s always next year.” She didn’t have to wait for next year. Her name was called (she describes as one of the best feeling of her life) and advanced to the next round. She was hooked and eight years later she’s still in the game.

Amanda, Carolina TopCat
Amanda in her rookie TopCat season

Having danced in the both the NFL and the NBA, I asked Amanda what was the biggest difference. Her answer was “The Fans”.

She explained that it’s a function of the number of home games. In the NFL she saw many more season ticket holders. And it’s only natural to begin to connect with them more and more throughout the season and from year to year. She describes the first NFL pre-season game is always like a reunion with your closest friends.

She describes the NBA as equally great, but in this case you are meeting many more fans at their first, or a father taking his young son to an NBA game for the
first time. With so many more NBA games Amanda says it creates more opportunities to hear those stories and be a part of those memories.

As for a favorite moment in her pro cheerleading career Amanda can’t pick just one. In the NBA, she says it would have to be when the Hornets made the playoffs in 2001. The energy and excitement of the fans was like nothing she had ever experienced. She says she’s usually very calm before performances- but the playoffs create a whole new world for NBA dancers.

As for the NFL her favorite moment came in her second year when the Panthers defeated Cincinnati 52-31. Carolina had started the year off great and then lost eight games in a row and it was starting to feel like the 2001 season all over again. The Panthers were coming off a win on the road against Cleveland. Amanda’s a huge Rodney Peete fan and she was hoping he’d have a good showing on the home turf. The game seesawed: one team would score, then the other, but in the 4th quarter it was all Panthers; she says it was one of the best victories she experienced as a TopCat.

And Amanda says there are some feelings that are part of any particular moment. Such as being able to be a part of a new team in Charlotte and help start traditions or being part of the rich tradition of Washington Redskins.

Amanda, Redskins Ambassador
Redskins Cheerleader Ambassadors Amanda and Sara

Some of Amanda’s best friendships have developed from being a member of these squads. And this will come as no surprise to longtime readers of the blog, the one thing she’s had in common with each experience is meeting and working with the most amazing women. They’re mothers, lawyers, accountants, teachers, students, and friends. They all have dance in common and they all have the love of our teams in common - and in the beginning that’s what brings them together but in the end they become your family.

When she wasn’t on the field or the court Amanda’s been working in the financial industry for the past 12 years, mostly in support roles for commercial sales teams until recently deciding to make a career change to executive assistant. Currently she’s an Executive Assistant for a senior level executive at a Fortune 10 Company.

She doesn’t find balancing work and cheering difficult at all. She says it’s all about time management and prioritizing. She will admit that she has had a
stressful moment or two where she’s felt the pressure of having to be a million places at once, but she’s always been very honest with herself and quick to
remember what comes first in her life. She says as long as you know the time commitment involved when you join a team then everything else just falls into

But Amanda’s real passion is volunteering with various charities in her community. She volunteers two Saturdays each month at the Charlotte Visitor Info Center helping people navigate the city on their visit or assisting folks that are considering a move to Charlotte find out more about the city. She also just wrapped up leading her company’s campaign for the 2008 March for Babies benefiting the Local March of Dimes Chapter. The campaign is projected to surpass $75K in funds raised for the cause. Amanda also assists at events with the The Hendrick Marrow Program and will begin volunteering regularly at Charlotte’s Levine Childrens’ Hospital this summer.

She hopes one day to create and run her own non-profit that benefits the welfare of children.

Meanwhile, Amanda’s currently single and is glad to be back home in North Carolina. Her immediate family is also close by in other parts of the state. Her Mom & Dad (married for 38 years!) live in Clemmons and a sister and brother-in-law are in Asheville.

New Orleans Honeybees

Thursday, May 8th, 2008

New Orleans Honey Bees
New Orleans Honeybees Dance Team members pose with a young fan before Game One of the Western Conference Semifinals between the San Antonio Spurs and the New Orleans Hornets.

Online home of the New Orleans Honeybees here.

SI Gallery of the Week - NBA

Tuesday, April 29th, 2008

This week’s Sports Illustrated NBA dance team gallery takes another look at the NBA New Orleans Hornets Honeybees. Click here to view the photos.

Former Saintsation now cheering on Hornets as Honeybee dancer

Thursday, April 10th, 2008

By Wade McIntyre, The Weekly Citizen
Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The overachieving New Orleans Hornets and the greatest New Orleans Saints football team share a good luck charm from Gonzales.

In 2006-07, the Saints captured the hearts of America with a storybook season highlighting the city’s struggle to rebound from Hurricane Katrina. Those Saints were cheered on by former East Ascension High School Spartanette Angele Abington performing her first and only season on the sidelines as a Saintsation.

After taking a year off from dancing, Abington, a 2005 graduate of East Ascension High, joined the current 22-member Hornet Honeybees dance team. Friday night, the Hornets beat the New York Knicks and became the first team in the Western Conference to make the playoffs.

“My mom says I’m a lucky charm because I was a Saintsation their best year, and now I’m a Honeybee and the Hornets are having a great season,” Abington said Friday during a lunch stop at Starlite Espresso Cafe in Gonzales on her way to New Orleans. While she laughed at the thought of her mom calling her a good luck charm, the Gonzales Honeybee does not deny that it could be true.

Earlier Friday morning, she took finals at MedVance Institute in Baton Rouge, where she is studying to be a medical laboratory technician. She was on her way to New Orleans for the unveiling of a new Honeybee poster introduced during a Honeybee Night promotion at the Knicks game.

School is one of the top three things on Abington’s daily agenda. Then come Honeybee activities and dancing and teaching at A Dancer’s World, the Prairieville studio where she has worked out for much of her life.

Abington played point guard for the Central Middle School Mustang team until she gave basketball up to join the Mustang dance team in the ninth grade. That, she says, was a hard choice. She has carried a love for basketball with her ever since, and wanted to be a Honeybee since graduation. When the Hornets took a two-year hiatus to Oklahoma City after Katrina, she tried out for the Saintsations instead, and made that team. The Hornets returned this season and she tried out with a friend and made the Honeybees roster.

“I knew the Honeybees would be fun, and it is the best thing that ever happened to me,” she said. “But I never dreamed it would be this much fun, that the team would have this kind of a year, that learning new dances, doing the promos and going to the games would be so much fun.”

Honeybee Choreographer Ashley Deaton creates routines that have made the Honeybees one of the top dance teams in the NBA, Abington said. “The hip-hop dances are just awesome, you feel like you are dancing at a party. Then there are the jazz dances that you really have to have a feel for.”

Abington prefers performing before a basketball crowd in intimate New Orleans Arena to football in the cavernous Superdome. “In a small arena the fans are right there. From the dome, when you dance on the sidelines the heads of the people look like pennies.”

She confessed being a Honeybee is not always easy.

Last week, she had to practice until 12:30 a.m. on her birthday. And there is “The Drive,” from Gonzales to Baton Rouge for classes, then back to Gonzales and New Orleans for the Honeybees. Abington sometimes carpools with two LSU Honeybees, but often the girls have conflicting agendas and end up going in different directions after Honeybee activities.

“If you don’t have the heart for it, you can’t do it,” Abington said. “It is a lot of work. Dancing comes naturally to some people, but definitely not me. I definitely had to work at it.”

She credits Tessa Johnson, owner of A Dancer’s World, who recently teased her star pupil, “Oh, you’re so famous now, Ms. Honeybee!” with helping turn her into a dancer. And, she still talks a couple of times a week with former dance coach Michelle Mayun, whom she says “really helped me a lot technique-wise.”

Years ago, when Abington tried out for the Spartanettes, the young dancer grew flustered and stormed out of the dance tryouts, prompting Mayan to yell out after her.

“That’s the only time she ever yelled a me,” Abington remembers. “She said I was my own worst critic.”

Though she makes time to spend with her boyfriend and family, including mother Dina Lejeune, step-father David Lejeune, father Ricky Abington and brother Thomas, the Gonzales Honeybee said a social life is pretty much out of the picture. “On weekends I have to study.”

When Hornet game time comes, Abington is in her element, dancing in support of a team that has turned the NBA on its ear behind MVP candidate Chris “CP3″ Paul and a crew of never-say-die teammates.

“Whether they are winning or trying to catch up, you can see them working together as a team,” she said.

Other clubs like the Los Angeles Lakers are awesome to see play, she admits, but the Hornets are special. “They want to win so bad for the city and in order to be happy for themselves.”

Honeybees are not allowed to socialize with the team, but talk is exchanged between players and members of the dance team during the games.

“When I am sitting on the court, I can see how Tyson Chandler and Chris Paul and Peja (Stojakovic) talk to themselves and how they really want to win the championship,” Abington said. “Head Coach Byron Scott knows how to coach a good team, and he runs the plays so well. He has such confidence in his players he will even take Chris Paul out for a rest if they are behind.”

Abington said she also feels the influence of the crowd as a sixth player when she is courtside with the Honeybees. She credits the fans with having a major hand in a recent game when the Hornets came from behind in spite of bad calls by the referees to win the game.

“The way they want it, I definitely think the team will make it to the finals,” Abington predicts.

With screaming fans, teamwork to behold, the best record in the Western Division, and a Gonzales good luck charm on the sidelines, odds are they will.

Danity Kane Tops Pop Chart

Thursday, April 3rd, 2008

Danity Kane

Danity Kane, featuring former Portland BlazerDancer Shannon Bex and former New Orleans Honeybee Dawn Richard, had their second album ‘Welcome to the Dollhouse’ debut on top of the Billboard 200. First week sales came in at 236,000 copies.

Donna the Honeybee

Tuesday, April 1st, 2008

By Aggrey Sam
Wednesday, March 26th, 2008

For a few weeks now, I’ve been promising you guys Honeybees. Being a man of my word (if delayed; the SLAM editorial staff can tell you more about that), I’m ready to make good. This past Friday, I was involved with a photo shoot featuring Donna, one of the New Orleans Hornets’ Honeybees.

The first location for the shoot was Camellia Grill, a popular diner in the N.O. Since it was Good Friday, school was out for kids and a lot of adults were off work, so the place was packed and the line stretched all the way onto the sidewalk. Donna met me on the corner of the block–already in her Honeybees’ outfit–and as you can imagine, the stares and comments were crazy. As she told me when she was looking for a parking spot, “Time to stop traffic.” Indeed.

Inside the diner, we (myself and my anonymous photographer) had already told the mostly male staff what was going on, so they were ready for her–and hype as hell. The shoot went off without a hitch, as they even let her behind the counter to work the grill and help bake one of their famous pies (I think letting her “spank the pie” was the highlight of the day). For a good 20 minutes, Donna had the place on smash. The customers were loving her and had children take pictures with her; I think the staff (pictured below) wanted to kidnap her. By the way, I’ve been to Camellia Grill at least five times in my five months here. Highly recommended if you’re in the city.

The grill is located at the beginning of Carrollton Avenue, where the St. Charles streetcar line begins/ends, so my ace photographer got a few shots of her there (although she wasn’t too big on holding onto the pole), too. She caused a scene here, as well, with the streetcar passengers, conductor and people driving by all caused a fuss.

The next and final stop was Tee-Eva’s, on the corner of Magazine Street and Napoleon Avenue. For the record, Tee-Eva (the other beauty below, pictured in the window in the pic down below) has the best snowballs, pralines and pies in the city.

If you’re in the neighborhood, try it for yourself–you can’t miss the colorful storefront. Not to mention, Tee-Eva is one of the nicest ladies you’d ever want to meet. Plus, you might get a good run at the court on that corner, too.

Being that Donna has more going on for her than just dancing at basketball games, I wanted to give you a glimpse into her life, which we talked about after Saturday night’s Hornets-Celtics game (keep reading and you’ll see the money shot at the end).

“I’ve been dancing for about 20 years now,” says the lovely, 24-year-old Tulane student. “My mom sent me to dance school when I was 4. I do all types, but main focus and my major is ballet and modern dance.”

“I’ve always been a dancer, never a cheerleader or anything like that,” she continues. “I don’t have an athletic bone in my body. I always wanted to be a ballerina when I was growing up.”

A native of Algiers on New Orleans’ West Bank, Donna attended McMain High School before moving on to New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts. She went to college in New York for two years before returning home, where she saw a tryout for the Honeybees advertised in the newspaper. Unfortunately, Hurricane Katrina hit and the team (Honeybees included) had to relocate to Oklahoma City.

“It was very different because Oklahoma isn’t as live as New Orleans,” Donna recalls. “But the fans supported us completely, so I felt like I was at home.”

Like everyone else in New Orleans, Donna was affected by Katrina. While her family didn’t lose their home, she did have a difficult experience.

“We were trapped in the Hyatt Regency for five days with electricity or running water,” she says. “Then, we were bused to Dallas, then to Houston for a month.”

Now back in the N.O., with the recent surge in attendance and the team being a potential title contender, the Hornets’ popularity has made even the team’s dancers a hot commodity when they’re out in public.

“It doesn’t happen that much at school, but I’ll be looking a mess in the store or at the movies and fans will come up to me and say, ‘Hey, Donna!’ I like it best when little girls come up to me and say they remember me from a game,” just as two adorable little girls ask to take a picture with her, something that happened more than a few times (and not just by little girls) as we were talking.

As for the team, Donna is happy they’re doing so well, but even happier for the city itself.

“I think having the team back here gives the city hope that it’s coming back. The way it’s portrayed in the media is ridiculous,” she remarks, something I can attest to. “I’m like, ‘don’t feel sorry for New Orleans.’ At the same time, a lot of people don’t have much, but the team gives people something to look forward to.”

I can’t speak for all Hornets fans, but I know several (including our E-I-C, who recommended that this happen in the first place when he was in town for the All-Star Game) people look forward to the Honeybees’ performances. But as much as they look like they’re having a good time entertaining the crowd, it’s not all fun and games.

“We practice for anywhere between two and four days a week, depending on the schedule. Practice lasts for about three hours usually,” says Donna. “We do strength and conditioning training for an hour–lift weights for a half-hour, then get on the treadmill for a half-hour–stretch, run through our choreography as an entire team–then again in groups to see who really knows it–then again as a group.”

Although she’s been a Honeybee for three seasons now, Donna says her favorite moment is right before she goes on.

“I’m not nervous, just really excited. I wanna make a good impression, let people know I take it seriously,” she says. “The fans make the game; they keep it crunk.”

While she enjoys dancing for the Honeybees, eventually Donna wants to become a professional dancer (not like that) for a traveling dance troupe.

“Growing up, my dream company was Alvin Ailey, but now I want to dance for Grupo Corpo, which is Brazil’s premier modern dance company,” she says. “I’m going to Africa at the end of next month with the John Allen Project…I get to see what it’s like to be in a professional dance troupe.”

That trip, which will take her to international dance festivals in Zimbabwe and South Africa, will force her to miss the playoffs, but as the only college student invited to perform alongside professional dancers, she’s willing to make the sacrifice.

“I’m really, really busy these days,” she says. “I hardly have any time for myself anymore, but it’s definitely worth it–we’re having a great season.”

Balancing college life, a job–she’s been a licensed massage therapist since 2004 (again, get your mind out of the gutter)–and the Honeybees isn’t easy, but somehow Donna manages to do it and look like–well, check the pic below.

In case you’re ever in town and run into Donna on the street, here’s a couple of inside tips if you try holla at her:

–Her favorite player on the Hornets is David West, “because he’s not afraid to play D and he has so much passion. You can tell basketball is his life; he eats, sleeps and drinks it. Some guys, they’re just out there getting a paycheck.”

–While she wants to be in a professional dance company that tours internationally, she wants to open up her own massage practice for sports rehabilitation (including yoga, pilates and athletic training) when her dancing career is over.

–She likes to travel and has a goal of “filling my passport before it expires in 2017. Every page has to have a stamp.”

–Her favorite show is: “Martin. I know every episode, word for word.”

–Very outgoing and happy, Donna also claims to be “extremely goofy.” An example of that side of her was when “I was in the locker room getting dressed and these big shoe boxes were open on the floor. I stepped in one, fell and slid into a locker. I only had on pants! The other girls still tease me about that to this day.” Imagine that.

–She likes to sleep. “I’m really lazy, I like to lay around (seriously, stop it). One thing I love is to look in the Sunday sales papers. I don’t window shop, but I definitely do that.”

Hope you enjoyed that. I know I enjoyed being there. There may be more Honeybees to come, so check out their site (linked above) and feel free to make recommendations for the future or let me know if you have any specific questions for Donna. Thanks to the Hornets in general (Scott Hall and Brittany Cranston specifically), Honeybees coach/manager Ashley Deaton, the conductor who let us use his streetcar for a quick minute, Tee-Eva, the good people at Camellia Grill and of course, the beautiful Donna (she looks better in person–trust me!) herself.

From the Class to the Court: a Honeybee Tells All

Saturday, March 8th, 2008

BY Paul Buras
The Nichols Worth

Krista, an NBA cheerleader for the New Orleans Honeybees, is also a full-time student at Nicholls majoring in elementary education.

Krista found a love for dancing at five-years-old and has been dancing for about 15 years. She got her start at recitals and in the living room of her home. She said her mom was her first supporting fan. Krista said she can remember dancing in the living room for her mom.

“My mom was the number one person to support me. She would let me know if I performed my dance moves correctly,” Krista said.
Krista, New Orleans Honeybees

As part of the dance team at Hahnville High School, Krista performed at football games, basketball games and pep rallies. In high school she attended American All-Stars dance camp, a program for cheerleaders.

“The best part in high school was going to camp, learning the dances for the season and meeting girls from different schools,” Krista said.

The Honeybee is a Houma native, but lived most of her life in Luling. She has four sisters and one brother.

Last year Krista heard about the auditions through the Internet and from a current Honeybee. So she decided to tryout. Krista said there were two cuts to become a finalist and an interview was conducted if someone made it past those two cuts.

“The last days of tryouts were held at Generations Hall in New Orleans. The tryouts were tough and tiring, but we handled it well,” Krista said.

As a cheerleader, Krista can be a role model for younger girls. Twice a season, the cheerleaders sponsor a junior Honeybee clinic.

Girls come from all areas of Louisiana to learn a few dances and to have fun. The Honeybees show them the importance of working together as a team, and when all the hard work is done, the juniors get to show their stuff at a Hornets game.

“I love interacting with the younger girls and helping them become good cheerleaders, and watching the excitement in their faces brings a great feeling,” Krista said.

Krista said she is happy the Hornets are back in New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina. Much like the New Orleans Saints, the Hornets are helping keep the spirit of New Orleans alive and well.

She said she loves being a cheerleader and works hard balancing her school schedule.

Most of her time is spent behind the steering wheel driving to New Orleans several times a week for practice and then back to Thibodaux for class. Krista has classes every day and has practice many times a week. She said she rarely has time to spend with her family.

“I spend so much time with the cheerleaders, they are like family,” Krista said with a chuckle.

Krista said being a cheerleader takes hard work and determination. A good work ethic and motivation are important attributes as well.

“Being outgoing and a great personality are important in being a cheerleader,” Krista said. “All the girls work really hard, and we all love what we do. It is nice being around people who all love doing the same thing.”
Krista, New Orleans Honeybees
Krista said she feels like cheerleading has helped shape and mold her life.

“Cheerleading has helped me establish a good work ethic and has given me the confidence and discipline to face life’s challenges,” Krista said.

Being a cheerleader for the Hornets has given her the opportunity to meet different people and to experience life from a different perspective. Recently, the All-Star Break was hosted in the Big Easy, which helped give the city an economic boost. Krista said it was a busy four days, and all the girls worked really hard but had a great time meeting different people.

“I got to meet Chris Tucker from my favorite movie ‘Rush Hour’ and Arnold Schwarzenegger,” Krista said. ” We also posed for a picture with Alyssa Milano from the television show ‘Charmed.’”

Krista said she enjoys coming to school at Nicholls and really likes the hometown feel. This is her second semester here.

When she is not studying or learning new dance moves, she is spending time with her family. Some places she and her family like to visit are the Aquarium of the Americas and the Audubon Zoo. She enjoys eating beignets at Café du Monde and fishing. Krista said she loves working out at the gym and keeping up her tan at the salon. Her favorite Hornets player is Chris Paul.

Krista said she hopes the Hornets win the NBA championship this season and next season they will still be in New Orleans because the games are fun and family-oriented.

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