Kassandra is in her fourth season with the Dallas Mavericks Dancers. She received the ultimate honor this year as she was selected to represent the Dallas Mavericks organization on the NBA-AllStar Dance team at the NBA All-Star Game in New Orleans.
The team kept it a secret and unveiled it during one of the Mavs Dancers’ performances in the Mavs-Sacramento Kings game on Dec. 18th.
— MavsDancers (@MavsDancers) December 18, 2016
When she returned from New Orleans, Kassandra gave us a few minutes to discuss the weekend that she described as a “dream come true.”
PDC: Congratulations on being named as an NBA All-Star Dancer! Talk about how you found out that you’d be going to the game and representing the Mavs.
KASSANDRA: The day was basically a normal game day for me and then our second dance, I was center and Mallory (Dallas Mavericks Dancers Director Mallory Mills) switched the formations around so that I wouldn’t know. We were doing our dance and then they all stopped and there was cheering, so I turned to the back and I noticed that they were all standing there in a line and I was very confused. So it took me awhile to figure out what was going on, and on top of that, Mallory had me doing all kinds of things that day in order to distract me from what was about to happen. My first thought was that no one told me that we were presenting something, so I tried to casually walk to the line and the girls were like “No, stay there.” I’m like, I’m not getting proposed to, so then I saw Mallory and a couple of the girls had the sign that says NBA All-Star 2017 and some flowers, so I went through all kinds of emotions, but it was very exciting at the same time. And it all happened in front of 18,000 people at the American Airlines Center.
PDC: Was this pretty typical for all of the girls on the NBA All-Star Dance Team?
KASSANDRA: Not at all. When we first arrived, the other girls had seen it on social media and were like “are you the one that got announced at the game?” I smiled and said, ‘yep, that was me.’
PDC: So you had roughly two months to get prepared for the NBA All-Star Game and traveling to New Orleans. Did you do anything special to get ready for the big occasion?
KASSANDRA: Since we are in the middle of the season, I am already on a pretty strict diet and workout routine, so I just had to make sure and stay on track through the holiday season
PDC: Was this your first time to visit New Orleans?
KASSANDRA: I have been to New Orleans, but we knew this week would be more crowded with the NBA All-Star Game being the week before Mardi Gras
PDC: Crystal, the 2017 NBA All-Star representative from the Cavalier Girls, is a former Mavs Dancer. Did it make it easier knowing someone there already?
KASSANDRA: It was great to have someone that I already knew so that we could go through that experience together.
PDC: So the NBA All-Star week arrives, when did you go down to New Orleans and what was it like when you got there?
KASSANDRA: The week of, I actually had a Mavs game on Monday night, so I was able to take a later flight (like 11:00) to New Orleans. I arrived at the hotel, we stayed at the Hilton Riverside and I met my roommate, Jenny from the Thunder Girls. Then we got to hang out and get to know some of the other girls and that night, we had practice. Prior to arriving, the directors Latrice Gregory from the Los Angeles Clippers and Sarah Mtichell, who dances with Britney Spears, had sent us three dances to learn and they were pretty fast paced.
PDC: Do you find it difficult to learn a routine from a video?
KASSANDRA: Actually, before I was a Dallas Mavericks Dancer, I was on the Texas Legends and that’s actually how they did their training camp, so I was ready for it from that experience.
PDC: Once you got settled in, was everything surreal or was it like a regular dance week with different faces?
KASSANDRA: It was different in the sense that with the Mavs, we basically already know most of what we are doing and practice can be a lot of fine tuning. For All-Star, every girl had a different style, since we are all from different NBA teams so we all had to mold into a unit in a matter of days. There were definitely similarities, but overall, it was different.
PDC: The weekend arrives, run us through what that was like
KASSANDRA: So Friday morning, there was an open practice at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome for fans to come and watch and we performed there. That was fun for us too, because we got to see the players and it actually hit me that this was happening! Then that night was the Celebrity Game and that was a lot of fun too!
PDC: So Saturday was a big day for the dance team?
KASSANDRA: Saturday morning was the craziest of all. We had to get ready for the big All-Star Saturday Night, which meant that morning, we had to go over all of our routines as well as the halftime dances with Fat Joe and Remy and DJ Khaled.
PDC: How did Saturday night go for you?
KASSANDRA: Saturday night was really fun, but it was also the craziest night of my life. They are moving us in all different directions and we had so many different skits and time out performances and we also did a player intro for the skills challenge. The slam dunk was great and there were so many celebrities there, like everywhere you looked. We also got to stand on the side and see all of the slam dunks during the contest.
PDC: Sunday, game day, is finally here, what was that like for you?
KASSANDRA: Sunday, we prepped for the game for most of the day, making sure everything was good to go with the dances and tags. We got our makeup done professionally and had to be ready by 6:00 because we got ready in the Superdome and walked over to the Smoothie King Center for the game. One thing that I will never forget is in the fourth quarter, we did tags and I looked straight ahead and saw Beyonce right in front of me.
PDC: Did you stay Sunday night or have to come back to Dallas?
KASSANDRA: We all got to hang out Sunday night and say our goodbyes because the next day, we all had our own flights back home. We do have a group text so that we can all stay in touch, and the girls from the Texas teams have a group text and we talk everyday.
PDC: Did All-Star week turn out to be everything you had hoped it would be?
KASSANDRA: It was the best week of my life from meeting new people and experiencing things I had never dreamed of doing, I tried to take it all in, but the week went by so fast. It was such a huge honor to get to represent the Dallas Mavericks organization on such a big stage and it’s something I’ll never take for granted.