Catching Up With Magic Dancer Legends Prior to 25th Anniversary Reunion
During the game on Sunday, March 2 the Orlando Magic Dancers will be honoring the past while celebrating the present by bringing together 110 Alumni and the Current Team for a total of 130 Dancers performing at halftime! Read below from Original Magic Dancer Cindy and current Team Manager Jeanine, for reflections of their time with the Magic!
Original Magic Dance Team Legend Cindy (6th from left in top row)
What was it like being a member of the Original Magic Dance Team?
As one of the Original Orlando Magic Dancers we started as an NBA promotional dance team that help build this organization from the ground up. We asked for nothing and gave everything. Every dancer that has come after me has worked just as hard as I did and continued to evolve into what the Orlando Magic Dancers are today. I am proud of each and every one of them who continue to represent the Orlando Magic.
What are you looking forward to during Reunion Weekend?
Performing with my peers and catching up with everyone.
What is your favorite memory during your time as a Magic Dancer?
Dancing at the NBA All-Star Classic Weekend held here in Orlando in 1992.
It was an honor to be chosen for 5 consecutive years while managing a full-time career, a marriage, game, rehearsals and promotional events schedule.
Tell us more about the inaugural season…
We were chosen one year before our 1989 NBA Season Debut. We marketed the team to the Orlando fans to sell the 10,000 season tickets we needed to be awarded the franchise from the NBA. We did promotional events at car dealerships, radio stations, golf tournaments, restaurants - you name it. The Orlando Magic Dancers worked in tandem with former Globetrotter Curly Neal and Stuff the Magic Mascot. Inspired by Pat Williams, we went everywhere across the tri-county area promoting the Orlando Magic. We were part of the foundation of a most wonderful organization and were priviledged to watch it grow. We rehearsed at an empty office building on Livingston Avenue with a jam box, one mirror and an unfinished concrete floor. It was bare bones but we loved it and made it great! Once the arena was built, players were chosen from the expansion draft, fans bought their tickets and the 1989 Inaugural Season began. We won our first game in that arena defeating the NBA Champions - the Detroit Pistons. The arena was electric, the fans were on their feet and the Orlando Magic was on their way!
Current Dance Team Manager & Magic Dancer Legend Jeanine (3rd from left on bottom row)
Is a reunion put together every year for the OMD or is this the first year doing it because of the 25th Anniversary Season?
This is actually the 2nd Official reunion! I coordinated a Reunion during the 20th Anniversary Season and we had 110 Dancers in attendance (90 Alumni and 20 on that season’s team) that year including 14 of the Originals and every Coach/Asst. Coach from across all 20 years!
If it’s put together every year, what has been your best memory of the OMD Reunions?
N/A ** This is too much of a beast for me to do every year, my hair would be bright gray
What are you looking forward to the most about this year’s Reunion?
The part I anticipate the most is catching up with old friends and reminiscing about some of the best years of our lives dancing together at Center Court! It’s amazing the PRIDE everyone has about their team and the lifelong friendships that were created while they were dancing together!
Having been here for 19 of the 25 years as an OMD and as the OMD Manager, in what ways has the team changed?
I think the biggest visual change you will see is the evolution in style, hair, costuming, music and dance trends in general!
What is your favorite OMD memory as a dancer or manager during the 19 years you’ve been here?
Wow – so many!
As a Dancer…I remember at my very first audition in ’95 my # wasn’t called in the final cut so I gathered my things and walked out to the parking lot…I was starved and was actually excited to finally go eat J I got in my car, had started backing out of the parking space, and all of a sudden from my rearview mirror I spot one of the Judges running and screaming out of the building like a mad woman “Come back in, there’s been a mistake, come back in…you’re supposed to be in there…”. So while still starving, I was thrilled to go back in and ultimately secure a spot! While on the team quite a few things stand out…cheering loudly for Michael Jordan the first time we played the Bulls and getting yelled at by my Captain “Jeanine…you’re cheering for the wrong team” (whoops – but it was MJ), pre-season games in Tokyo 1996…at this point in my life I had only been out of the country twice and both times to Tokyo (what are the odds), being 1 of the first dancers in the NBA to rappel from the rafters to ‘Mission Impossible’.
As a Coach…every single Dancer that has ever worked for me and every single moment they’ve made me feel like a Proud Mom, securing our first overseas Armed Forces tour (and then 3 more to follow), creating the first Dunking Dancers team in the NBA, the 2012 NBA All-Star Game, and I could probably go on for an entire novel on this topic!
Most recently seeing my daughter as a member of our Jr. Dance Team, the Magic Minis, has been surreal…she says she wants to take my job when she grows up