So You Think You Can Dance... For the Brooklyn Nets?
A Bloomfield dancer was among hundreds of women who competed for eight spots at an open-call audition in Brooklyn on Saturday.
Hit... Step... Lean. And repeat.
That's what more than 300 women managed to do at a grueling three-hour long open-call audition for the Brooklyn Nets' dance team in Brooklyn on Saturday.
"Being a Nets girl would be a dream come true," said Brooklyn resident Olivia Crosby, 19, who along with other hopefuls prepared to go in front of a panel of judges at LIU's Wellness, Recreation and Athletic Center in Fort Greene.
Like many others at the audition, Crosby is an experienced dancer with a cheerleading background—in her case, as a member of John Jay College's basketball cheer squad.
But that wasn't a definite recipe for success at Saturday's tryout. Led by Nets entertainment execs and coaches, the audition involved two rounds of carefully choreographed dance moves that had young ladies from New Jersey to Connecticut spiraling, strutting and splitting to the latest hip-hop and pop grooves.
"I'm still shaking," said Taylor Thomas, 18, of Bloomfield, N.J. "Before it was just nerves. Now it's because I'm exhausted."
Thomas was one of around 150 women fortunate enough to make it through the competition's first round, in which dancers performed a piece or choreography provided weeks earlier.
In the audition's second round, the pressure was on the women to learn a complicated (to this flatfooted news editor, at least) set of moves, both as a group and in teams of four dancers.
At the end of the audition process, 30 women were selected to attend a special summer training camp.
However, of that number, only eight will get the chance to cheer on Brooklyn's first home team in more than 50 years when the Barclays Center opens for basketball this autumn.
For Brooklyn Nets event marketing and community relations senior vice president Petra Pope, the goal wasn't just to get the most talented dancers, but to find a team that mirrored the borough's ethnic, cultural and linguistic diversity.
"We're going to be cutting edge...we're going to be hot...we're going to diverse," Pope said, noting that women identifying with 150 nationalities and speaking 136 languages were represented in the LIU gym.
But in the end, it all came down to the right moves on Saturday.
"First and foremost, you must be able to dance," Pope said. "Talent is still number one."
Photos by Matthew Hampton.