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 led you to the Dallas Mavericks Dancers
JANAE: I’m from El Paso, Texas. I started dancing when I was three years old, starting with ballet and tap. Then I moved on to professional competition in middle school and high school and ended up traveling all over the country to places like L.A. and Orlando. In college, I went to the University of North Texas and was captain of the North Texas Dancers for three years. After graduating, I auditioned for the Dallas Mavericks Dancers and have been here for three years.
PDC: What made you pick the Mavs Dancers as the team you wanted to try out for?
JANAE: I love the Mavs Dancers style, the performing on the court and how powerful the choreography is with this team.
PDC: You’re now in your third season. Talk about your first year and what it was like the first time you danced out on the American Airlines Center court and how it differs from now.
JANAE: My first performance was the Mavs Fan Jam and it was unreal being out on the actual court, on the Mavs logo and looking out and seeing your friends and family. It was amazing! It was also nerve-wracking, but it is fun to have new experiences and that’s what my rookie year was all about. Moving on to your second year, you’re more familiar with the experiences and are able to perfect them and by your third year, you are really having fun and helping lead, influence, encourage and motivate the younger girls.
PDC: Is it fair to share that the leadership role is the biggest difference from the beginning to now?
JANAE: Absolutely, you already know what is expected and there aren’t that many surprises. I love being a third-year vet, answering questions, being able to help, lead by example and let the rookies know mistakes that I have made to help them not make those in the future.
PDC: Is the audition process tougher when you are a veteran?
JANAE: It never gets easier because they never want to see you get too comfortable and you always have to be on your best game. I think every year is just as hard if not harder than the first year. Part of the reason that it becomes more difficult is that you’ve been there and you know what’s at stake and what you have to lose as where your first year, you are just excited for everything. When it’s your second or third year, you know what you need to do to ensure that this happens and to cross the finish line.
PDC: What are some of your highlights form your time as a Dallas Mavericks Dancer?
JANAE: I went to China, so that was probably the biggest highlight. I was an absolutely amazing experience. The NBA is really popular in China and they were celebrating the NBA Finals. They had us go over there and we performed, went on tours, did appearances and they loved us. It was great to be able to touch people around the world and you have no idea that you are influencing people that you have never met.
PDC: Being one of the longest-tenured members of the team, do you get to participate in any of the choreography?
JANAE: One of the highlights of being a veteran is getting to help with the choreography and Mallory (Mavs Dancers Director Mallory Mills) has been very generous in allowing us to help with the choreography and individual routines. For me, there’s no better feeling than getting to dance your own choreography on the court in front of 20,000 fans.
PDC: What are you favorite foods?
JANAE: My favorite food is Italian and I absolutely love pasta. I also really like Thai food.
PDC: Any favorite restaurants?
JANAE: I love BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse. They have a little of everything. I also love Sabaidee, it’s off Lemon and they have the best Thai food.
PDC: What would be your dream vacation?
JANAE: I would love to go to Bora Bora, I love how clear the water is to where you can see down to the bottom. Really anything tropical where I have a beachfront condo or hotel and can just put on a bathing suit and relax. That’s what I’d love.
PDC: Speaking of tropical, talk about your experience with this year’s Mavs Dancers swimsuit calendar shoot
JANAE: I love the calendar shoots, it’s fun and especially this year getting in the water and play around. It’s a way to just be yourself, I feel like nothing reflects yourself more than pictures. My shoot this year was scheduled as a morning shoot, so I arrived at 4 a.m. and we had a huge storm that morning, so I actually didn’t shoot until 4 p.m. that afternoon. We did a few retouches, then when I went out, I got to shoot in the pool and a few outside of the water and the entire thing is a huge team effort. You have people fixing your hair, your makeup, adjusting your swimsuit and the process is so rewarding when you get to see the finished product.
PDC: What are some of your favorite movies?
JANAE: My absolute favorite movie is Think Like a Man with Steve Harvey, Gabrielle Union and Kevin Hart. I like Pretty Woman, Girls Trip and The Perfect Match. I’m definitely into chick flicks, quality time with the girl, really love going to Studio Movie Grill.
PDC: What about TV shows?
JANAE: I’m currently watching Star on FOX. It’s about singers and performers and is right up my alley. I used to sing and went to regional performances, it’s kind of my hidden talent, but dance just kind of dominated things for me. I also really like How to Get Away With Murder. Those are my probably my two favorites at the moment because I don’t really have time to watch a lot of TV.
PDC: What are some of your hobbies away from dancing?
JANAE: I love to draw, I love to paint, but it is hard to find the time because it takes a while when you get into it. I love to look at a picture or think of one and draw it. It’s very relaxing, kind of like you are away from life, like serenity.
PDC: What would your dream job be once your professional dance career is over?
JANAE: As cliched as it may sound, I would love to travel the world and be a motivational speaker. I feel like so many men, women, boys and girls everyone just needs to hear things that will help them move on to the next day and I feel like everyone wants to do certain things and the just need to be told that they can. I feel like all of us on the Dallas Mavericks Dancers is a perfect representation of anything can be done. I don’t think at five years old, any of us thought we would be on an NBA dance team as a professional dancer, but we made it happen.
See pics from the Dallas Mavericks Dancers Calendar Release Party in the PHOTO GALLERY below: