The Boston Celtics may not have the best record in the NBA, but the dancers are a big hit with the hometown fans.
Melissa Driscoll, 22, explains what it’s like to be a member of the first Celtics Dance Team.
What was it like to perform for the first time at the Garden?
Well, for me when we were all getting ready, it was nerve-racking. I kept wondering, What are they going to think? Can I do this? Am I going to mess up? And then when I was on the court, I felt comfortable and all the nerves went away. I really took every moment in. Dancing on the court for the first time was such a memorable moment for me.
Is it difficult to perform for a struggling team?
For me, I don’t look at it as they are losing. It’s more of me dancing for a legendary team. Rather than looking at the negative, as cheesy as it sounds, it really isn’t about winning and losing; it’s about supporting the team.
Do you have any interaction with the players?
We don’t really get an opportunity to interact with them. I think they just focus on what they need to do. It’s absolutely nothing negative, strictly professional. We support them and cheer them on, but that’s about it.
How often do you practice?
We practice Tuesdays and Thursdays in Boston for two and a half hours and Sundays in Waltham for for two and a half hours with Marina (Ortega, dance team director).
So, you practice seven and a half hours a week?
With Marina, yes, but then the girls and I go to the gym and do our own training on the side.
Do you see this as a longtime commitment?
I take one day at a time, and I definitely want to try out again next year and see where it goes. Right now I am concentrating on dancing with my girls for the Celtics. I would love to audition next year again. After that…where ever the wind takes me.
So you’ll have to try out every year?
Yes, and for me I want to try out next year again. I think it’s a good idea. It shows commitment. It shows if the girls are really hungry for the spot and if they really want it.
What type of routines does the Dance Team do?
We do a jazz number and a hip hop number, depending on if it’s a Wednesday or Friday night and depending on the crowd because we have different crowds on different nights. I think Marina does a good job on deciding what numbers we do when.
Do you have a favorite current Celtics player?
Right now it’s (Gerald) Green. He has been playing so good lately. He’s amazing. He is going to be in the Slam Dunk Contest during All Star weekend.
What’s it like to be a member of the first Celtics Dance Team?
I know how big this is. Like the first time we performed on opening night; we knew it was the first time a Celtics Dance Team danced. That alone is so amazing. Knowing that you’re making history and setting the boundaries of everything, and I think that is so amazing to be a part of. We are all aware of how much this means to us and we are so thankful to be a part of it.