Playoff Prep by BD Brittany
Hi Blazer Fans! As the team pushes into the playoffs, the BlazerDancers are behind the scenes getting ready for it too! At the end of February, we spent a long weekend here in Portland at mini-camp with a couple of our favorite choreographers, Mina and Shandon, and added 8 extra routines to our season’s repertoire. And let me tell you, these routines will NOT disappoint!
Camp has become one of my absolute favorite experiences throughout my 3 years as a BlazerDancer. It gives us a chance to spend time together as a team, push ourselves to perform at a higher level, and reinvigorates our excitement for the remainder of the season! Here’s what we did:
We started off on Friday afternoon with a team lunch at Pastini. After a long week of games and work or school, it was nice to take a deep breath, catch up on each other’s lives, and get excited about what was ahead. We then headed over to our camp location and anxiously waited for our first choreography session with Shandon. There was no easing into camp… she hit us hard with 2 incredible routines that we can’t wait to introduce during the first round of playoffs! By the time 10 PM rolled around, we were spent and definitely ready for a good night’s rest…
The next morning came quickly and started off with yet another delicious meal at a Portland favorite, Slappy Cakes! After the typical comparison of bruises from the night before, the team had so much fun creating every possible version of the Blazers logo in pancake form. We were recharged and ready for what would be a long and challenging day. When we arrived back at camp, the team split into 2 groups for a friendly, yet highly competitive, round of “hot” timeout choreography. A hot timeout is when the crowd’s energy is so intense in the Moda Center that every fan feels compelled to be on their feet, cheering as loud as they can, and that energy continues through a timeout. Of course, the BlazerDancers just have to join in! Each group created about a minute’s worth of choreography that could be done when the Moda Center is on fire – and surely there will be several of those moments ahead!
Mina and Shandon joined us again for the afternoon and we were back to serious work. We normally split into multiple groups at camp to maximize the number of routines we learn, but this year we all had the chance to learn the majority of the routines together. It was so much fun! We could see all of the routines coming to life and envision how they would be performed on the court. The BDs learned a total of 3 rock and hip hop routines on Saturday afternoon. For a dancer, there’s nothing quite like learning and conquering routines that are fast, challenging, and contemporarily relevant. Get ready for some amazing performances coming your way! Our team left the day of choreography on a high, feeling so excited to see the routines perfected over the next month. We were treated to another meal at Grand Central Bowling to refuel our exhausted muscles… nothing has ever tasted so good after a long day of dancing! During dinner, we were also able to watch as the Blazers defeated the Bulls. Who doesn’t love celebrating a Rip city victory with their friends?!
On our last day of camp, our teammate Amy led us through a long warm up to get our very sore muscles ready for a few more hours of choreography. We started out learning another rock routine from Mina, and ended by splitting into 2 groups to learn another routine from each choreographer. You might have seen Shandon’s “Clap Snap” when we performed it back in March. At the end of the last round, we were able to perform our new routines for each other. It was awesome to see the improvements, energy, and strength that our teammates brought to the whole weekend. Every joint in our bodies’ were sore from working so hard… but hey – no pain, no gain, right?
It’s been a tradition at the end of mini camp to head to a local salon for team pedicures over the last several years. Sure enough, our Coach Michelle surprised us with flip-flops and instructions of where to go. We spent the remainder of the afternoon talking about everything we accomplished and everything we had to look forward to for the rest of the season: Big Blazer wins, a chance at the championship, and amazing, energetic new routines to get the Rip City fans on their feet.
As an individual, I am so thankful for every chance for the BlazerDancers to work with Mina, Shandon, and all of our other extremely talented choreographers, and to learn their intricate and creative choreography. They always push our team to be better than ever before. And, Rip City, we’re about to bring you our best! See you on the court…
– BlazerDancer Brittany
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