FORT GREENE — Hundreds of kids accompanied by their siblings and parents arrived at Long Island University’s recreation center for an open call to audition for the Brooklyn Nets Kids dance team.
Parents arrived on Navy Street outside of the university as early as 9:30 a.m. with camping chairs in tow, hoping their children would be the first to audition at 4 p.m.
“Over 400 talented dancers attended the open call,” said Kimberlee Garris, Director of Entertainment Marketing for the Nets. “This was the biggest kids audition the Nets have ever held.”
Some kids were dressed to put on a show, with ribbons and glitter in their hair, sparkly leg warmers, bedazzled sneakers, and styled Brooklyn Nets T-shirts.
“There is a line down the street,” said Garris on Friday afternoon. “There is definitely excitement in the air.”
Each child signed in at the front desk and then went upstairs to stretch, work on dance moves, and tumble while their parents were left behind on the sidewalk, with fingers crossed.
“I’m just excited to show them what I got,” said Kaci Wallfall, 8, as she performed her signature dance move. “I have been dancing since I could walk.”
Members of the Brooklyn Nets adult dance team taught the little once dances moves and then broke them into two lines. Each child danced solo toward a judge halfway down the auditorium. Some danced with confidence and dynamic facial expressions while others were too shy to dance the length of the distance.
Those that fit the bill were given a number and allowed to move onto the next round. Nearly 25 percent made the cut. And the remainder, some in tears, emerged out onto the sidewalk to the supportive cheers of the collective group of parents.
“My daughter hasn’t come out yet,” said Lisa Santiago. “I can hardly stand the anticipation, but she must be doing well up there.”
After pizza upstairs, the remaining children learned a second routine. This time in groups of five they auditioned in front a panel of four judges including Garris and choreographer Tanisha Scott.
The judges called out the numbers of approximately 30 children that they liked. Polaroid’s were taken, phone numbers noted and promises made that they would receive a call within a week to let them know if they had officially made the team.
Less than a week later the calls were made. Ultimately, the judges chose 17 kids to represent the Nets during weekend home games in Brooklyn.
“Making the calls to the kids who made the team was the highlight of the process,” said Garris. “They were simply thrilled.”
Garris is more than happy with their selection and looks forwards to the start of rehearsals in mid-September.
“We have selected a group of diverse, highly skilled dancers with big personalities,” she said. “Their performances will electrify the Barclays Center this fall.”