By Josh Cohen
July 17, 2017
MAITLAND – NBA Summer League – which started on July 1 in Orlando and finished in Las Vegas on July 17 – offered fans an opportunity to watch some of the league’s young stars, including the Magic’s Jonathan Isaac.
Aside from entertainment value, though, summer competition gives unproven and unpolished players a chance to brush up on their skills, improve their deficiencies, adjust to NBA-level speed and learn from coaches and veterans.
This week dozens of aspiring Orlando Magic Dancers are participating in something similar.
With Magic Dancer auditions set for Friday, July 21, team hopefuls are at the RDV Sportsplex in Maitland perfecting their skills and absorbing as much wisdom as possible from professional dancers and instructors.
They are learning hip-hop and jazz routines from some of the brightest and most successful choreographers in Central Florida, including Nova Jay, Chris “Casper” Lupis, Taylor Hoover, Joyce Winter and former Magic Dancer, Gizelle.
While training for an audition is always nerve-wracking, preparation and confidence does a lot to reduce that anxiety. As “Casper” relayed at his pre-audition class on Monday, it’s essential to embrace the opportunity and believe in your abilities and talents.
“Don’t put so much pressure on yourself, it’s an audition, it’s an amazing opportunity,” he said. “Go in there with a great attitude. Have a good time. I’ve known girls that made it on their first try and I’ve known girls that made it on their third or fourth try.”
Pre-audition classes serve as much more than a final tune-up, however. It’s a chance to network with other dancers in the area. Some even travel from afar to try out.
“I’ve always wanted to move to Orlando and I’m a dancer so I figured this would be a great way for me to get down here and start my career down here and get to dance and live in the place I want to live,” said Alex, who journeyed down from Philadelphia, PA.
“I’m super excited to be here. What I’ve learned so far is that everybody here is so talented and beautiful and I really have my work cut out for me but I am so excited to start the process,” she added.
Many women attending pre-audition classes are trying out for the first time. Kyndle, who is from Jacksonville, is ecstatic to experience the entire audition process and showcase her skills.
“I’m expecting to have a wonderful time,” she said. “I know that I’ve been to Magic games, I’ve seen Magic Dancers and they definitely have a great reputation. I’m here (at pre-audition classes) to get as much experience as I possibly can and get a feel for it.”
Even those who have been on the squad in the past benefit from the pre-audition courses.
“I’m definitely hoping to have one more last chance to get back into the team environment, said Olivia, a 2016-17 Magic Dancer. “I’m definitely excited to get back into it in preparation for Friday.”
“It’s the best job in the entire world,” she added about her prior experience on the team. “It’s so fun. It’s a lot of hard work but it’s so worth it in the end.”
Registration for Friday’s first round audition starts at 2:30 p.m. inside the Magic gym at RDV Sportsplex. The audition promptly begins at 4 p.m. and those trying out are required to bring a headshot, full-body shot, resume and a $25 application fee.
After the field is narrowed down to 30, judges will spend the following several days evaluating each of the candidates leading up to Finals on Wednesday, July 26.
Finalists will participate in a mandatory boot camp to test their fitness and conditioning levels and they will learn jazz and hip-hop routines that they will perform in front of a live audience during Finals at Amway Center (also can be watched live on OrlandoMagic.com). In addition, representatives from the Magic will interview the finalists.
Fans will also be able to vote for who they think should make this year’s squad. Check back to OrlandoMagic.com for finalist bios, pictures, video performances and the chance to vote.