Thank you again to everyone who voted for me and for all of your support. I will forever treasure these memories and be thankful for the opportunity.
What an amazing week! I left on Monday, Feb.12 for Las Vegas very excited for the week ahead. I arrived and got settled into my hotel room at The Orleans. The entire city was decked out in All-Star gear!!
There were giant advertising posters covering the entire face of some of the larger hotels. The lion at the MGM Grand was wearing a West jersey, while the Statue of Liberty at New York - New York was sporting the East jersey. It was so awesome!!
My roommate, Sarah from the New York Knicks, came in later that day and we immediately hit it off!! She was such a sweetheart. We talked a lot about her life in New York and about being a dancer and auditioning, which is her full time job. We then headed to a banquet held in our honor and I met the other 29 girls who made up the First Ever All-Star Dance Team. We were all introduced and then the presents started rolling in!! We received an All-Star bag that had tons of goodies inside! All-Star shirts, watches, hats, bracelets, pens, postcards. You name it, we got it!! It was so exciting to think that we were finally there and about to embark on a journey that would forever be held dear to our hearts. [photo gallery]
Tuesday - Thursday
The next day, we were up bright and early for rehearsal…and that’s about how the day went. Rehearse, eat, rehearse, eat, take pictures, eat and rehearse more. Our choreographer was Laurie Ann Gibson from Making the Band. She has worked with countless artists like Alicia Keys and Diddy just to name a few!!! Her style of teaching was “new” to say the least. Counting for the dance was not 1,2,3, and 4, it became boom, kack, boom, boom, kack!! She was talking a language all her own. Her terms of endearment for the girls became “muffs”, short for muffins. “Let’s go muffs.” “C’mon, live muffs.”
That was another new one for us. It was not dance bigger or harder, but “Liivveee muffs!” I can’t even say it without smiling to myself!! We learned three group routines, and then we were split up into Western and Eastern Conferences to learn another routine. Lots of stuff to learn in just a few days!! I think we lived on Red Bull, Gatorade, veggie trays, and chocolate for three days.
I met so many amazing girls during the week! Beautiful, intelligent, and they all loved to dance. Everyone gave 120% all the time, even in rehearsal. It made me want to try to push myself even harder. I even think Laurie Ann was surprised at how much talent she had to work with! I made so many friends and we have already been keeping in contact with each other. I will definitely be thinking about all the All-Star dancers each time we play those teams. Many fond memories of each and every one of them!!
And let me tell you, the team of stylists and pampering was fabulous….
Have you ever had a team of stylists working feverishly to make sure you looked hot? Well, now I have!! We had 3 stylists that came up with the concepts for our costumes and an additional 6 people sewing constantly!!! I don’t think we ever tried on the finished product until we put it on to go on the court, but we looked amazing!
We also had several appearances that we were split up to do while we were there. I had the honor of a 5am morning news appearance. We had to dress up in our home team costumes and shake it for the camera. I was interviewed on location and I had to wear one of those ear piece things to hear the anchor who was talking to me while in the studio. It was so hard! I felt like a true news reporter! You know the ones. They look silly because they are always holding their earpieces when they are listening to the anchor!
By Friday, it was time to perform!!! We got to the Jam Session at the Mandalay Bay where they were having the Celebrity Game and prepared for our debut! I, of course representing the West cheered for a team with James Denton (Desperate Housewives), Nick Cannon, Wayne Newton, Bow Wow, and many others. The East had the chief from Grey’s Anatomy, Nelly, Donald Faison, just to name a few. What an event!
My mom and my fiancé, Collin, both got to come, and they were so proud of me! Our first dance was actually televised Friday night on ESPN, in its entirety. They also announced us individually at halftime. It was an honor to know I was representing the entire Hornets organization and all of our fans. I had chills!! We also performed a second routine that night and I left happy because the West prevailed in the Celebrity game!
The day didn’t stop there though, as we were off to another late night rehearsal. It seemed like we rehearsed day and night, but I was thankful for the extra practice.
The next day, it was time for All-Star Saturday Night. We got up early for a tech rehearsal and spent the entire day at the Thomas and Mack arena. We wore our new jersey dresses, paired with hot black boots. We only performed once that night, but the trick was dancing in the boots. They weren’t made for dancing like the ones the Honeybees wear, but actual high heeled boots from Bakers! But it didn’t faze us! We had a great performance and we luckily got to relax and watch the festivities for the rest of the night.
As we went out to watch the Slam Dunk contest, I started looking around. Wow!!! Eva Longoria (gorgeous!), Queen Latifah, Diddy, Ciara. The stars were everywhere. I was just glad I didn’t notice them while we were dancing! LOL. Afterwards, we stayed late for our final on court rehearsal. We were also told that we were going to be the stand-ins in front of the stage for Christina Aguilera’s halftime performance so we needed to be there early for her tech rehearsal. I had absolutely no problem with that!
Sunday morning we got to the arena and waited for Christina…for two and a half hours! We watched her dancers perform, the camera guys got all the best angles. She had a stand-in, then with after waiting for what seemed like forever, she was there!
We had our own little private concert and she was amazing. I was two feet from her! She was beautiful and very gracious. Then it was time to start getting ready!!! Our costumes were even hotter for the last night! We had to wait in the tunnel for our performances, but what a thrill. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Nelly, Donald Faison, Zach Braff (Scrubs), Toni Braxton, David Hasselhoff, Jeremy Piven, and Prince and so many others walked right by us to get into the arena. (Well Prince kind of sauntered, but that’s another story!) It was so exciting and I tried not to be the dorky fan but Jeremy Piven said hi to me and I got a little giddy!
I performed twice, once with the West girls, then again with the entire group. It was surreal. I was in the front row with Adam Sandler, Prince, Jay Z, and Beyonce all in front of me!!! Talk about pressure. But I did a great job and had a blast. I hit that final pose and I didn’t want to leave the court. I think we all held that last pose extra long. All-Star Week was such an incredible opportunity. I really can’t say how honored I felt to represent my team. I had the time of my life and I had achieved something that only a handful of girls will ever experience.