Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Amy Jo Wagner´s Dream Job 

Posted by James at 12:30 PM ET

Amy Jo WagnerWith six-years as a Phoenix Suns Dancer, seven as a member of the WNBA Phoenix Mercury Hip Hop Squad and two more years as a member of the AFL Arizona Rattlers Sidewinders it's not too difficult to figure out that Amy Jo Wagner was born to dance.

Throw in appearances in music videos with artists like Usher, Busta Rhymes, 112, Keith Sweat and Jordin Sparks and a stint as the Dance Team Coordinator for the Sidewinders and you'd see why directing an NBA Dance Team would be Amy Jo's dream job.

So when she heard that the Denver Nuggets Dance Team Director position was open, she thought she'd give it a shot. Amy Jo was under no illusions. She looked at this as an opportunity to get her name circulating, help prepare her for future openings, perhaps even get a free trip to Denver.

She sent in her resume, which led to a brief phone interview. Then there was a request for a DVD of her choreography, and finally that trip to Denver for a one-on-one interview with Harlan Hendrickson, Senior Director of Entertainment for the Nuggets.

The Nuggets liked what they had heard and seen, so in December they offered her the job.

But the timing wasn't the greatest. Amy Jo was in the middle of the school year; at the time she was an incredibly popular high school math teacher. She had recently purchased a new house. She asked the Nuggets if she could wait and take the job after the season ended. But already well into the season with no Director, the Nuggets weren't keen on waiting.

Faced with the decision, Amy Jo turned down her dream job and the Nuggets.

Over the next few weeks she thought a lot about her decision, wondering if she had made the right choice, wondering if she'd ever get another chance to direct in the the NBA.

Amy Jo Wagner Six weeks after she told them no, the Nuggets called. They weren't really happy with any of their other candidates, and they wanted to know if she would reconsider and take the job.

Amy Jo believes that everything happens for a reason, and decided if she was being offered the job again, it was meant to be. The Nuggets gave her a couple of weeks to tie up loose ends in Phoenix, including a heartbreaking farewell to her students. In February of this year she joined the Nuggets.

Nuggets Dance Director isn't Amy Jo's only new job. Last fall the Colorado Crush Girls Director left the position. An audition without a director proved less than successful and by the time the AFL season rolled around it looked like there would be no Dance Team for the Crush in 2008. Amy Jo and the Nuggets Dancers stepped up to fill the void and pull double duty. While the Nuggets Dancers eagerly embraced their new role in the beginning, Amy Jo concedes the combination of two long seasons may have caused a few of the dancers to have their enthusiasm wane. It's not set in stone but right now it's likely there will be separate dance teams next year.


Right now Amy Jo's preparing for the Nuggets Dancers Auditions and this year there's an extra twist. It has to do with this guy named Barack Obama. You may have heard something about him; he's running for president. Well, Obama's nominating convention is in Denver at the Pepsi Center. The same Pepsi Center where the Nuggets play and the Nuggets Dancers hold their auditions. With the Center booked Amy Jo had to go out and locate a suitable location for the expected 200+ dancers expected to turn out this Saturday. She decided on the Gold Crown Field House in Lakewood. (For full Nuggets Dancers Audition information click here.)

But finding a place for auditions wasn't the only complication. The Democratic National Committee needs office space at the Pepsi Center. So last week Amy Jo and the Game Operations staff had to vacate their offices. They'll be working in temporary offices for the next month and won't be moving back into the Pepsi Center until after Labor Day.

Amy Jo Wagner

When asked if all the extra work and distractions are adding to her stress level, Amy Jo laughs and says it's just all part of the job.

She is hoping for a big turnout at auditions this Satuday. Game Night Entertainment is very important to the Nuggets and Amy Jo is looking for Dancers with fire and determination who want to be in the spotlight. She understands that people might be a little reluctant or nervous to audition for a new director, but she's encouraging everyone to come out and give it their best shot.

Amy Jo expects to choreograph forty or about half of the eighty routines the Nuggets dancers will perform in this season. She doesn't want to trying to do it all herself and end up having the routines looking repetitive. She's hoping to bring in some guest choreographers and even have the dancers design some of their own routines. She had the same opportunity as a dancer in Phoenix and she relished the experience.

What does the new director do when in her spare time? Actually, Amy Jo says when she's at home you can usually find her on YouTube looking for new choreography. But when she's not in director-mode, she'll be reading, scrapbooking, or on the phone with her boyfriend, who's back in Phoenix, trying to convince him to come up and visit her.

And while she misses teaching and her students terribly, Amy Jo wakes up excited and ready to go to work at her dream job every morning.

[Denver Nuggets Dancers]

[Nuggets Dancers Auditions Information]

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