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Cheers times two! Our reporter parties, then tries out for the Brooklynettes • Brooklyn Paper

Cheers times two! Our reporter parties, then tries out for the Brooklynettes

Jaime Lutz, in the modest gray shirt, didn’t become a Nets dancer. She did have fun, though.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

Most journalists want to someday write the great American novel, but few have the ambition to dance in front of a roaring crowd at the Barclays Center.

Well, one does.

So when I learned that the Brooklyn Nets holding open auditions for the “Brooklynettes,” the team’s cleverly named intermissional troupe, I made a b-line for the Barclays Center with my tutu in tow.

The prerequisites were simple: eight years of technical dance training (check, I did my time at the Monroe Dance Academy in Connecticut between the ages of 4 and 18), an outfit that showed my midriff and legs (check, although it is difficult to find an outfit that shows your navel when you’re only five feet tall), and performance hair and makeup (Finally!, a chance to use my new Paul Mitchell Express Ion Smooth!).

Once I was sure I fit the bill, I told everyone — from my editors to my best friends — that I was going to be a Nets dancer. And at 3 am the day of the auditions, I told everyone in the bar that would listen that I would soon be a pom-pommed citizen of the cheerocracy.

I was up at 10:30 on the morning of the big day to get ready for the noon tryouts, and conditions were not optimal. My makeup bag was mysteriously gone from my purse, and was probably on the floor of the Triple Crown Ale House. My head was aching. My hair, despite Paul Mitchell’s best efforts, was unkempt.

I had a quick breakfast of peanut butter from the jar, got a smudge on the only crop top I own, and took the Q train to the dance diva palace that was the Wellness, Recreation, and Athletic Center of Long Island University.

I have never seen so many potential Disney Channel Original Movie stars in one place. Everyone was smiling, pretty, sparkly, and athletic. The room smelled like Lady Gaga. I’m pretty sure I smelled like scotch and cigarettes.

The competition seemed tough. Suddenly, it occurred to me that I might not become a Brooklynette after all.

Jenna Velichko, from Pennsylvania, is part of reporter Jaime Lutz’s intimidating competition at the open auditions for the Nets’ dance team.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

The throng of 200 former prom queens quickly picked up a dance routine that involved leaps, spins, and sass. I struggled with all three. My head screamed so loudly for coffee that the others auditioning probably heard it.

“Eugh,” was a sound I made.

Much too quickly, it was finally time to perform. Those who made it to the next round of auditions would receive a ticket from the judges at the end of the routine. The speakers blared and Fergie sang “A Little Party Never Killed Nobody.”

Sure, it didn’t kill me, but what about my dreams!

Somehow, I remembered all the moves. I did the best I could. But, alas, there was some magic missing: sass. I noticed it, and so did the ticket-dispensing judge, who did not run over to me, distraught, to thrust a ticket into my sweaty hands.

I guess the dance I did atop the bar the evening prior didn’t count for anything here.

Their loss, I say.

And the literary world’s gain.

The short one in the middle without makeup and with sweaty hair is the reporter. The glamazons are potential future Nets dancers.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

Reach reporter Jaime Lutz at jlutz@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-8310. Follow her on Twitter @jaime_lutz.

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