Monday, November 26, 2007

AHS grad lands on Timberwolves dance squad 

Posted by Sasha at 4:59 PM ET

By Rocky Hulne
The Austin Daily Herald

An Austin High School grad finally landed a part time job after three tries — and she couldn’t be happier.

After two years of just missing the mark, Jessica Vorphal, who graduated from Austin in 2004, made the Minnesota Timberwolves dance team this season.

“I was so excited that I made it and it finally happened. There was a new coach this year, so that kind of brought a little hope,” Vorphal, who is a senior at the University of Minnesota, said. “I’ve always wanted to dance for the Wolves dance team. It’s always been a dream I’ve had. Ever since I was younger I thought it would be fun.”

Now that she’s made the team, Vorphal deals with the challenge of balancing her school schedule, she is majoring in either Public Relations or Broadcasting and Communication and Global Studies, with her time on the Wolve’s dance team. The Timberwolves, play one to four home games a week, plus the dance team practices twice a week and makes appearances.

“It’s about like any other part time job,” said Vorphal, who is set to graduate from college this May. “It takes a lot of time, but it is a lot of fun.”

About 75 to 80 girls tryout for the 15-member Timberwolves dance team every year. Vorphal advanced to the third round her first try, when she was just 19, and she made it to training camp on her second try.

“This year me and a friend, where like, ‘all right one more year, we’ll try it,’” she said. “I would love to do it for at least two more years.”

Many of Vorphal’s dance skills were honed while she was on the dance team in Austin. Her freshman year she was rookie of the year, her sophomore and junior years she was appointed choreographer, and her senior year she was a captain.

Now she dances in front of thousands of NBA fans on a nightly basis.

In all, the dance team has about 10 to 15 dances it must learn to use on a given night — which helped make the first game was pretty memorable for Vorphal.

“It was really nerve racking, not only because it was the first game, but also we found out we were supposed to do a dance that day that we didn’t know we were gonna do,” she said. “We all kind of looked around and said we haven’t done that dance in so long. It worked out well, but we weren’t prepared.”

Part of the reason Vorphal became interested in dancing for the Timberwolves is her love for basketball. She became a fan by watching her younger sister Christina Vorphal, who is a junior on the Austin basketball team, play the sport.

“I really grew to like basketball with my sister playing for so many years. I just kind of got into it and I really enjoy it,” Vorphal said.

By not making the dance team earlier, Vorphal missed a chance to see a Timberwolves’ icon in Kevin Garnett, who was traded to the Boston Celtics this offseason.

“I was kind of sad, it would’ve been really cool to see him play every game. But I’m looking forward to the Boston game (Feb. 8),” she said.

Vorphal wouldn’t have gotten much of a chance to know Garnett.

“We don’t really get that close (to the players). We just see them and say hi. It’s kind of two different parts to the organization. People think we see them all the time, but we don’t,” she said.

After graduating, Vorphal hopes to eventually open her own dance studio.

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