I had the privilege of attending two Sacramento Kings Dancers practices this week. A couple of days ago I saw the SKD Classics in action, and today I got to see the regular squad practice. This is the third regular practice I have attended aside from the summer mini-camp SKD put on before the start of the basketball season. It's always exciting to see these dance practices. They are always intense and full of images to capture. I brought all my cameras, headed to the Kings practice facility, and got down to business.
Before getting to the routines, the dancers warmed up. This part of the practice had Ariana taking the front position. The warm-up consisted of quite a few different stretches and body movements to get the dancers ready for the hours of work to come.
After warm-ups Katerina took the team through their first routine. Kat runs a tight ship and makes sure everything is just right. Just look at the intensity in her eyes in the above photo. Can't you tell she is absolutely focused? To be a dancer at the NBA level, your skill set must be at the top level. The SKD dance team has to perform to perfection each and every time on the court, so these practices must also be as close to perfect as can be.
Each section of the dance is practiced and scrutinized. Often minor tweaks and changes must be made as the dancers perform. Each dancer has to commit that change to memory and make sure it is implemented into the routine. The SKD are complete pros, and the changes made are seen immediately as the practice continues on.
Though the girls take each dance very seriously, they still know how to have fun as they work. There are a lot of smiles and encouragements as the girls go through the night. It's definitely a fun time. Through their hard work and commitment to each other, the SKD have really developed a close bond. They are teammates, friends... sisters.
There is a point during each routine where half the squad performs while a partner of theirs watches. This exercise is put in so that each dancer has someone they can work with individually on the routine. They have another set of eyes on them watching for the positive things they do as well as the things they could improve upon.
When the first half of SKD finishes the partners get together and talk about what they saw and felt. During this time I saw many dancers working on the details of the dance that needed shoring up.
It's a great time to just get on the same page with someone else. Because these girls are so bonded as a team, the advice and critiques given are taken well. Each dancer knows that each other dancer wants the best for the group as a whole. Wouldn't it be great if more jobs out there were like this? If only!
After getting the talk is done it's back to work. The routine is noticeably tightened up after that session. The dance is worked on a few more times to make sure it is the way it should be when on the court.
It definitely takes time, but by the end, the dance routine is set. The SKD will take a video recording of the dance so that they have everything down for reference. The photo above was my favorite shot of the group from the night. It's awesome just how everything comes together.
Everybody is tired and sweaty after practice, but the mood is good. Isela asked me if they smelled bad. I said that I had allergies and couldn't smell anything. AND THAT'S THE TRUTH!
I'm very thankful for this opportunity to get a behind the scenes look into the Sacramento Kings Dancers. I've said this before, but I can't say it enough... these girls work so incredibly hard. I admire what they do and respect the heck out of their talents and abilities. They are amazing.
I can't wait until this Monday when the Kings basketball team returns to town for another game. They and the SKD will be taking the court at Sleeptrain Arena. Be there!