Rockets Power Dancer Willy: A Stellar Talent
One of the reasons I love the NBA is how fast-paced games are. There’s always something exciting happening on the court, especially if you’re in Houston and get to see James Harden play on the regular. But the beard-man isn’t the only reason to get excited at a Rockets game – you’ve also got the powerful and exciting Rockets Power Dancers (RPD). Take a look at my one-on-one exclusive interview with Willy — she has my vote for best hair in all of the NBA.
If you love a girl with wild, curly hair, a passionate and motivated dreamer and someone who truly getsbasketball, Willy’s your girl. Not to mention she’s a rock star and has the moves to claim such a title. Don’t believe me? She was a backup dancer for Beyonce during the Super Bowl XLVII halftime show.
Now do you believe me?
Man Cave Daily: Where are you originally from?
Willy: New Orleans, LA–born and raised.
MCD: Occupation or school?
W: I am currently a student studying Business Administration with a specialization in Entrepreneurship. I am also a dance instructor at a local elementary school, and I assist the Rockets Entertainment Manager as a coach for the Rockets Space City Seniors… I like to stay busy!
MCD: Years on team?
W: This is my 2nd season with RPD and I made it my first try! Before moving to Houston, I was a member of the New Orleans Hornets Honeybees for two years however, I didn’t make it my first time auditioning there. I almost gave up, but decided to try again the following year, and I made the team!
MCD: Tell me about your dance background? You have moves I wish I had; I know you didn’t just learn them…
W: Oh no! I definitely did not just learn to move this way! I’ve been dancing since I was four. I’ve never been technically trained or attended dance school. I learned from music videos and by performing with dance teams. I gained my experience from these teams, and by performing as a backup dancer for several different artists, including Beyonce, during the Super Bowl XLVII half time show. I love performing and the moves just come natural to me! RPD’s style of choreography is definitely a challenge and I have to push myself! I try to take dance classes when I can just to continue improving and learning.
MCD: Hardest part about being an NBA Dancer?
W: The schedule!! We perform at 41-plus home games (excluding playoffs). Not only that, but we have practice twice a week and a certain number of community appearances we have to attend. And to top it all off, we all have to maintain another job or be full-time students (most of us do both)! It’s not all fun and games, we definitely work hard!
MCD: Have you ever gone onto the court and forgotten your routine?
W: Yep! But, because I practice so much the muscle memory saves me! We push to perform new choreography at every game, and we rarely repeat routines so I have a crazy amount of dances in my head. It’s very easy to forget the first move, but I try not to make my mistakes noticeable.
MCD: Favorite NBA player?
W: Dwight Howard–He’s a great player, but it’s what he does outside of basketball that is
inspiring. His “Block Out Violence” campaigns have been a way for him to reach out to kids and encourage them to stop violence and bullying. It says a lot about a person that cares to give back, and help our youth and the community.
MCD: Best part about basketball?
W: The entertainment of course! Besides that, the fourth quarter is always the best part of the game. The intensity of each team determined to take the win is what keeps fans on their feet. It’s also the time that the fans, including myself, are either the happiest or super stressed! We want our ROCKETS to win!
MCD: Coolest thing about the Toyota Center?
W: We have a Tundra Suite with a real Toyota Tundra Truck inside…so cool! I’m always amazed when I visit that suite.
MCD: If you had a Real Housewives intro…
W: “I’m more than just a housewife, check my resume!” (And to add the dramatic effect, I would snap my fingers.)
MCD: Miley or Taylor?
W: Taylor Swift.
MCD: Biggest misconception about NBA dancers?
W: We are not “ditzy cheerleaders!” We are real dancers/performers, and education is actually a requirement to join any team, so yes, we are knowledgeable human beings! Also, we do not date the players!
MCD: Favorite music to dance to?
W: I love dancing to ’90s R&B and rap music!
MCD: What song instantly puts you in a good mood?
W: Anything by Aaliyah. My favorite is “Try Again.” It pushes and motivates me to keep going and to not give up. If at first I don’t succeed, I dust myself off and try again. It applies to every aspect of my life.
MCD: Dream vacation?
W: I want to visit Egypt one day! I’m infatuated with Egypt’s history and would love to see the Egyptian pyramids.
MCD: Most embarrassing thing in your Google history?
W: Myself! I’ve googled myself to see what comes up under my name. No I’m not self-centered, just wondering what pops up when I type my name in Google. I was simply curious [winks]
MCD: Most random thing in your purse?
W: A straw… I hate drinking from a can without using a straw!
MCD: Fan of selfies?
W: I’m a fan of hair selfies. I love showing my wild curly hair in pictures, so I take selfies just to focus on my hair.
MCD: Favorite thing about Houston?
W: Galleria Mall–it’s huge, and I love the ice skating rink inside. Plus, all of my favorite stores are in the Galleria!
MCD: When I say the letter “W” what’s the first word that comes to mind?
W: My name of course… Willy!
MCD: What app do you use most?
W: It’s a tie between my Rockets app and the Google Maps app. I check the Rockets app everyday to stay updated. I use my Google Maps app to get around the city; I have a terrible sense of direction!
MCD: If you could go to dinner with any celebrity, who?
W: Laurieann Gibson! She’s had a very successful career as a dancer and choreographer and I would love advice from her.
MCD: Homebody or an adventurer?
W: Definitely a homebody. A wild Friday night includes watching Lifetime in bed. But, I did say that this year’s resolution would be for me to be more adventurous! So far, I haven’t committed to that idea…but hey, I still have 9 more months!
MCD: Most adventurous thing you’ve done?
W: I’ve climbed the Great Wall of China! It was a long walk, and very hot, but I did it and I learned a lot!
MCD: Tell me something people would find completely out of character?
W: I turned down my acceptance into nursing school to focus on my passion for dance and to pursue avenues in entertainment. It’s the most courageous thing I’ve done, but was definitely out of character for me because I have never wanted to disappoint my family, and they were all “pro” nursing school! I’d like to think I made the best decision. Follow your dreams people!
To see the original article which ran on CBS Man Cave Daily in the sports section, click here. You’ll also hit the jackpot with more photos of Willy!
A big thank you to Willy for giving us an exclusive interview and a big thanks to Ideal Protein Houston for sponsoring this fun series. Ideal Protein is a medically developed protocol only available from qualified professionals and provides one-on-one weight loss coaching for educational support and motivation as well as weekly weight and body measurements analysis (and much more!).