Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Nuggets Dancers Roster Finalized

Newly selected team consists of eight veterans and nine rookies
Roster finalized for 2011-12 Denver Nuggets Dancers
By Aaron J. Lopez, Nuggets.com, 7-25-11

The lights drop. The pulsating music begins. The adrenaline rush kicks in.
At that moment, the countless hours of repetition and rehearsal all become worthwhile.

“It almost gives you chills and brings tears to your eyes,” said Miranda, a Denver Nuggets Dancer. “You think, ‘This is so cool. This is what we’ve been practicing and working so hard for.’ ”

After two days of auditions and four training-camp sessions, Miranda was among the 17 women named Monday as 2011-12 Denver Nuggets Dancers. The team consists of eight veterans and nine rookies, including an 18-year-old two months removed from her high-school graduation.

“The girls worked extremely hard for two weeks,” said Denver Nuggets Dancers coordinator and choreographer Amy Jo Wagner. “Everyone did a phenomenal job. The 17 we chose showed they can dance in sync, pick up choreography very quickly and have the work ethic needed to make it through a long and strenuous NBA season.”


Miranda, 21, proved her ability and endurance as a Denver Nuggets Dancer during the 2009-10 season. She left the team last season after being one of four people selected from 500 applicants to teach dance in Japan as part of the National Dance Alliance.

For more than a month, Miranda spent in excess or 12 hours a day training dancers for Japanese professional sports teams in cities such as Chiba, Tokyo and Yokohama.

“We had a translator, but the cool thing about dancing is you don’t really need to talk or learn a language. You just need your eyes to learn,” she said. “It was different whenever I went out and about. There was nothing in English. I had some freak-out moments and ended up in several different cities I wasn’t supposed to be in.”

Miranda got a reminder of home while conducting clinics for children at U.S. military bases in Tokyo. She also was able to be a tourist after her teaching was complete; climbing 12,389-foot Mount Fuji was one of her favorite highlights.

“The town up there looks like a Colorado mountain town,” she said. “You walk around five or six lakes and you gradually make your way up the mountain. It took a full day. It was amazing. That altitude was pretty brutal.”

Altitude is nothing new for Miranda, a marketing and communications major at Metro State. The Arvada West alumnus grew up in Colorado and started dancing competitively at age 6.

“No one in my family can dance,” she said. “My brother was a really good wrestler, but I couldn’t pick up any other sport. I tried soccer, and it was super-tragic. I can’t run, so I just stuck with dance.”

Miranda’s career goal is to become a police department spokesperson, but she hopes to stick around the Nuggets organization for a few more years. She enjoys representing the team in the community and is determined to prove that dancers have substance to complement their style.

“I always get asked, ‘So do you think you’re better than everybody else?’ It bothers me,” she said. “People assume that you think you’re better than everybody else when the majority of most of these women are so down to earth. Some of the friendships I’ve made will last forever.”

Wagner, entering her fifth season with the Nuggets, can attest to that. She was a member of the Phoenix Suns dance team and knows that team chemistry is an important ingredient for a successful dance team.

“I’m extremely happy to have Miranda back with us,” Wagner said. “She’s an excellent hip-hop dancer, an all-around friendly girl and a great overall representative of our organization.”

Now that training camp is over, Miranda can’t wait to get started again in the fall. She will juggle a class schedule with a dance schedule that includes 10 to 12 hours of practice every week.

She will exercise, follow a healthy diet and memorize dozens of new routines.

And when the lights go down at the Pepsi Center, she will enjoy the moment when that familiar adrenaline rush kicks in.