Get to know the new-look SKD as veteran and rookie dancers share insight into their preparations for the upcoming season. Plus, details about a dancer calendar!
By: Amelia Evrigenis
Although nearly 200 hopefuls entered the audition process, only 15 talented women emerged as Sacramento Kings Dancers on June 25, as the 2012-13 SKD was officially announced on Kings.com.
The distinguished group is now not only ready to entertain fans on-court but also set to represent the Kings in the Sacramento community and serve as off-court ambassadors for the team.
When they aren’t performing, dancers visit suites, deliver Kings Team Store items and interact with fans during home games. Outside the arena, dancers appear at more than 150 community events, including local fundraisers and school functions.
To fill the demanding role, SKD is made up of dancers who will positively represent the Kings both in and out of the arena.
Kings Dancers Manager Jenn Santich explains, “We want talented dancers as well as strong, intelligent and powerful women, who will act as ambassadors for the company and role models for the youth in our community.”
While the season has not yet begun, SKD has made several Sacramento-area appearances.
“Being at the Draft Party was such a fun experience,” said first-year Kings Dancer Moira recently. “All the people there were Kings fans, and they were really excited about our amazing draft pick and about getting to meet us!
“(Being a Kings Dancer began) to feel real and made me all the more excited for the season to start and to be able to perform on the court for all the fans.”
SKD thrives on Kings fans’ enthusiasm and loyalty, carrying their energy onto the court and into their routines.
Moira is one of four rookie dancers experiencing her first season with SKD, and Santich says new dancers’ roles are to “absorb it all” by learning the varied aspects of the team and the Kings organization.
The 11 veterans, meanwhile, play an important part in the development of their first-year teammates.
“I expect the veterans to act as role models for the rookies to learn from,” says Santich. “There’s definitely more responsibility as a veteran. They know what I expect of them and I count on them to show the rookies how it should be done.”
Heather, one of three SKD captains, is one such veteran.
As a fifth-year Kings Dancer, her responsibilities include learning new routines and sharing them with the team. To learn from some of the premier dancers in the country, Heather joined fellow captains Lauren and Carly at ProAction Dance Intensive in Las Vegas to learn and rehearse original routines with some of the top choreographers in professional sports.
Upon returning from the desert heat, Heather and Co. have re-joined their teammates at practices to share the new routines and to forge the ever-important chemistry that will present SKD as a united group of dancers who dance like one.
“As the season begins new relationships are forming between veterans and rookies, as everyone gets to know each other,” states the Fremont, Calif., native. “Rookies have bonded together in their first experiences joining SKD and veterans have their bonds from dancing together as a part of SKD with the many days, months and years we’ve spent together!
“As we progress further into the season, we work on forming into an energetic, cohesive team.”
Until the season tips-off at home in November, fans can be on the lookout for the 2012-13 SKD calendar and anticipate dancer performances at Kings preseason games in October.
This year, according to Santich, fans should expect the unexpected from the new-look calendar.
“I don’t want to give too much away, but it’s definitely going to be epic,” the former Kings Dancer turned coach says. “It’s not the typical swimsuit calendar you would expect from a professional dance team. We decided to think outside the box.”
With a talented group of newcomers, skilled veterans and an unprecedented calendar in production, this year’s SKD seeks to blaze its own powerful yet graceful trail.
For a sneak peek at Kings Dancers’ calendar costumes, take a look at the recently-posted photo on Instagram by @Kings_Dancers.