Friday, May 02, 2008

Dancing with Jillian 

Posted by James at 5:36 AM ET

Shakin’ it with the Automotion star

By Lester Holmes
Perhaps the best-known Palace-entertainment group is Automotion -- the dance troupe of more than 20 women who perform during home Pistons’ games -- who bring sexy back to basketball every time they step on the court.

A member of the dance team since 2003, Jillian says her love for dance and sports goes back to when she was a three year old. It wasn’t too long after that she realized that one day she would perform in front of large crowds.

Jillian, Automotion

“It was when I noticed I was no longer scared, but that I actually thrived on dancing and performing in front of a crowd,” Jillian says. “That is when it was clear I was meant to perform.”

Metromix recently uncovered a little more information about the spirit-raising Jillian.

How did you become involved with the Palace of Auburn Hills and Automotion?

I was in college and was no longer dancing at my studio or on my high school team. I heard about the auditions and expressed interest to my friend that I considered auditioning. From them I received some negative feedback and lack of encouragement due to my age and lack of professional dance experience. I in turn used this negativity to make me stronger and more confident to prove them wrong. And I did!

Why do you feel that it’s important to provide non-sports related entertainment during sporting events?
There is such a diverse crowd of people that come to watch sports, all for many different reasons, but with one goal: To have a good time and be entertained. That is where we, the entertainers, come in. The players know they have to play a great game, and the dancers try to help get the crowd involved and excited so they feel they have also played a part in the sporting experience. It is really all about reaching out to the fans and giving them the best experience possible and I believe we help do that.

What is your most memorable moment as a performer in The Palace?

Being on the team for five years, I have been able to experience something very few people can even imagine. In 2004, the Pistons won a championship, and when we were downtown attending the championship parade, it was like nothing I have experienced. So many fans came out; we were on a float between a sea of Piston fans that were so excited to see us. It was the most incredible experience.

What’s the best part of being part of Automotion?
There are so many great things about being on Automotion and every year my answer has changed to this question. I know I love performing and entertaining the crowd, being a part of a great organization, getting to sit courtside watching a basketball game, and having the opportunity to talk with fans. But the best part is how I have met and found people who are such an important part to my life. I have found lifelong friends within the other captains and our director. I wouldn't trade those relationships for the world. We have such a strong bond with great memories that will last a lifetime.

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