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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Austin Grad Jessica Vorpahl Fulfills Her Dream 

Posted by James at 1:18 PM ET

By Marc Lunde
Austin Post-Bulletin
When her daughter was 3, Debbie Vorpahl took little Jessica to the Jane Taylor Academy of Dance Studio in Austin.

Little did she know that Jessica would fall in love with dancing. It even grew into a life-long dream that wouldn't be fulfilled until this past fall.

Setting her sights high, Jessica dreamed of someday dancing for the Minnesota Timberwolves Dance Team (her family, being Packer fans, wouldn't allow her to dance for the Vikings). Jessica heard about tryouts in July and made sure she could make auditions in August. The day after the tryouts, she looked for the results on the dance team's web page.

Jessica, Timberwolves Dancers

"I couldn't believe I saw my picture up there," Vorpahl said. "I kept looking over the page just to make sure that was really me. I was so excited and so happy."

Vorpahl, a 2004 Austin graduate, almost quit dancing when she was 9. But her mother encouraged her to stay involved.

"I would definitely say I kept dancing because of (my mother) and from there it grew to a passion," Jessica said. "I thank her so much for all her dedication and support she has shown throughout my dance career."

Vorpahl spends up to 30 hours a week at practices, appearances and games, all while finishing her bachelor of individualized studies in Public Relations, Communications and European Studies at the University of Minnesota.

"I've definitely had to manage my time and get all of my school work done in advance if I know there's going to be a crazy week coming up," Vorpahl said. "I think I look at my planner at least 20 times a day."

With all that careful balance of studying and practicing, Vorpahl was bound to accumulate some stress. She luckily has 13 other women to be her support group.

"It's absolutely amazing," Vorpahl said of the other dancers. "All the girls are my best friends. We're together every day so we've all become like sisters."

Vorpahl, 21, l isn't looking at this opportunity as "just another job.

"I feel this position has matured me," she said. "(It's) given me insight to other possibilities in the dance field."

Vorpahl is a senior at the Minnesota and just because she is graduating doesn't mean she plans to be done with the team.

"I would love to be involved with the Timberwolves Dance Team again. Then who knows what lies ahead. I would love to keep dancing and possibly move on to coaching,'' she said.

Jessica at Timberwolves.com

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