She joined us at a recent Dallas Mavericks home game at American Airlines Center for PDC Meet the Dancers:
PDC: Talk about your dance background and what brought you to the Dallas Mavericks Dancers.
TORI: I started dancing when I was three, my mom had been me in dance at a studio and I’ve been in dance training ever since. From five until 18, I did competition dance. I was a cheerleader in high school for three years. In college, I made the Texas Tech Pom Squad and I was there for four years.
PDC: What did you study at Texas Tech?
TORI: I was a Psychology major and a Kinesiology minor and I am planning on going to occupational therapy school.
PDC: What are some of your best memories from your time on the Texas Tech Pom Squad?
TORI: Being a part of the team and everything involved with Texas Tech and the spirit was great. Some of my best memories are from going to the bowl games and the annual Texas Tech-Baylor at AT&T Stadium was so awesome. The Big 12 basketball tournament was also a fun time. And, of course, winning the national championship in D1A Jazz during my senior year in the NBA competition in Daytona, Florida. We drove all the way from Lubbock to Daytona and when we won, I’d say that is one of the best things I have ever been a part of when we got our national championship rings.
PDC: What did the team do to win?
TORI: We hit all of our formations correctly and we had a really difficult dance. Everything just worked that year and it was really cool to see the transformation from my freshman year to my senior year. We had been competing each year and we got so close, getting third, second and second and then we won, so it was really cool.
PDC: What made you want to audition for a spot on the Dallas Mavericks Dancers?
TORI: I’ve watched the Dallas Mavericks all my life and my dad has taken me to games since I was a little girl. At the games, I would always watch the Dallas Mavericks Dancers and I loved their fun style and how they get the crowd involved. It was the perfect fit for me to continue my dance career.
PDC: Did you do anything special leading up to auditions to get ready for the process?
TORI: The way I got ready for auditions was really being on pom squad. I was fresh out of pom when the auditions began and I actually graduated in August after I made the team. I was constantly training and working out to make sure that I was as prepared as I could be. I also drove back to Dallas to take a few of the prep classes so that I would be familiar with the style.
PDC: When auditions arrived, were you nervous or anxious leading up to the big day at the Hilton Anatole?
TORI: Honestly, I was excited. I’ve been watching the Dallas Mavericks Dancers since I was a little girl and I knew a couple of people going into it, so that helped with the nerves. It definitely got a little more nerve wracking toward the end during training camp because you are so close and you want it so bad. Getting that letter at the very end just made it all worth it.
PDC: You mentioned training camp, how difficult is it from the dancer’s perspective?
TORI: It was actually fun getting to know a lot of the other girls. We did our tryout dance that we had learned during auditions and we learned another dance and a tag. There’s a lot of things put on you in short time, but it also shows your hard work when you let go and dance while becoming that much closer to being a Dallas Mavericks Dancer. In a situation, like training camp, you just have to stay positive.
PDC: So you find out that you’ve made the team from the letter. How did that go?
TORI: I went straight to my car and I was literally speechless. I kept opening the letter multiple times to make sure it was real. It’s weird how things happen and the thought process was suddenly that I was going into a completely new journey in my life.
PDC: Shortly after the team is announced, you are back where it all started at the Hilton Anatole for the Mavs Dancers Swimsuit Calendar Shoot. Have you done anything like before and what was it like?
TORI: We did photo shoots on Texas Tech Pom, but it was very conservative. But it was really fun to have a new experience like that and getting to know some of the other girls while we were getting ready. I’ve also never been pampered like I was with Osgood and TiGi, getting your makeup and hair done. It was a completely new experience for me. Everybody involved made me feel really comfortable and it was a cool thing to do before the season got underway and it was kind of like a teaser for what was yet to come.
PDC: What are some of your favorite memories you’ve made so far during your rookie season with the Mavs Dancers?
TORI: Every time we get to go dance out on the court is great!When they are announcing us, I still get the butterflies. I don’t really get nervous, but I feel like there’s a build up of adrenaline and I get really excited to perform. When we all run out together onto the court and all eyes are on us where all of our hard work is out out there on the court for the fans to see.
PDC: What are you most looking forward to as the season goes on?
TORI: These girls are becoming my friends, we have so much fun together and I just love dancing with all of them. We come from all of these different backgrounds and dance training, but we are all doing what we love together, so I am really looking forward to more experiences with my teammates.
PDC: Moving away from dance, what are some of your favorite foods?
TORI: I love Italian food! I love pizza and fettuccine alfredo. I’m such a foodie and I could probably eat pizza everyday.
PDC: What are some of your favorite restaurants?
TORI: Grimaldi’s is a great place to get pizza. Maggiano’s Little Italy is great for Italian food in general. I also like Gloria’s for Mexican food. I also love little lunch places like Panera Bread, I could live off Panera Bread. Real simple and easy, I’m not too hard to please.
PDC: Do you have a favorite vacation spot?
TORI: I actually recently went to Mexico, to Punta Mita, we stayed at the Four Seasons. It is gorgeous, like a dream vacation. Everything was so beautiful, like an escape from reality for a little bit.
PDC: Anywhere that you have not been that you would like to go?
TORI: I have always wanted to go to the Bahamas and I would like to visit Europe. I had wanted to study abroad, but was never able to, so I would really like to go to Europe and backpack round there.
PDC: Do you have any favorite movies?
TORI: My favorite movies are actually the Star Wars movies. All of them, but my favorite one is episode five, The Empire Strikes Back. Not really into Star Trek or Harry Potter, but I love Star Wars.
PDC: Do you have any favorite TV shows?
TORI: I love That 70s Show, New Girl and Gossip Girl.
See pics from the Dallas Mavericks Dancers Calendar Release Party in the PHOTO GALLERY below: