Friday, July 25, 2008

Nets Entertainment Manager Kimberlee Garris 

Posted by James at 4:00 PM ET

Kimberlee GarrisKimberlee Garris was high school valedictorian, captain of the math team and scored a 1530 out of 1600 on the old-style SAT, so it was no surprise that she was accepted to Harvard. But she was also a accomplished gymnast and dancer. So while she studied neuroscience at Harvard, she also was Captain of Harvard's recently founded Dance Team. She was extremely focused on taking her team to the next level, and says the felt more like a Dance major than a Neuroscience major.

After graduating summa cum laude with a BS in Cognitive Neuroscience, she went to work as a clinical researcher investigating bi-polar disorders. But she missed dancing and tried out for the Knicks City Dancers in the summer of 2002. Out of hundreds of dancers, Kim made it down to the final three women up for the "fan vote" spot on the team. She didn't end up winning the spot, but she was thrilled to have made it that far. Over the next year she worked hard to get in better shape and to improve her dancing and tumbling.

The next summer she went to the open call again, and made the team. Kimberlee danced for the Knicks for two season (2003-05).

During that time she moved had switched jobs, at one point performing in a play and then working in marketing a global pharmaceutical company. But what Kimberlee really wanted was a job where she could incorporate her love of dance and performing. And she got her chance in the summer of 2005 when she was named the new Nets Entertainment Manager.

In her new position Kim became responsible for the Nets' in-game entertainment and fan experience operations, including the video production, the dance team, music, lighting and team's special events.

Kimberlee Garris
Kimberlee with Petra Pope, Nets Vice President of Entertainment and Event Marketing

In her position Kim oversees some 70-80 performers. Of course, there are the Nets Dancers. There are the 6 to 13 year-old Nets Kids. Team Hype was a previously a hip-hop squad, but Kim has transformed them into a co-ed stunting crew. She created the Nets Drumline. Her latest addition to the Nets Entertainment line-up is the 60+ NETSational Seniors.

With a 40+ game schedule and weeks that can have three home games and from 2 to 4 practices, it's no wonder the turnover in NBA Dance Team Directors is as high as it is. But as she starting her 4th season with the Nets, Kimberlee says she has no intention of leaving. Spending all day in the office and then the evening at rehearsal she says 12-14 hours days are not uncommon, but she wouldn't trade it for anything in the world.

Kimberlee Garris

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