The arena for entertainment is one that spreads across many planes. More specifically for dance, that arena can span anywhere from a one-room studio to some of the biggest stages in the world. One aspect of dance entertainment that has stood the test of time is sports entertainment. As spectators watch a football or basketball game, it is the entertainment quality at halftime that keeps them hyped and ready for the rest of the game. There is no denying that both pro and college sports teams are not only known for the great players but also for their team dancers and cheerleaders.
How do these pro and college dance teams end up with such great crowd-pleasing routines that keep everyone entertained in the stadium or while you watch at home? Here, the Ortega twins, Marina and Mina, tell us about their innovative approach to sports entertainment and choreography with Pro Action Dance.
For the Ortega twins, there was always a passion when it came to choreography for NFL and NBA dance teams. With their love for sports entertainment, Marina and Mina went on to eventually coach dance teams. With Marina coaching the Boston Celtics dancers and Mina coaching the USC Trojan Dance Force, there was a need to keep up momentum and a repertoire that would keep the attention of those attending games. While there were dance conventions that they could take their teams to, there was something missing.
“We would take our teams to conventions, and they were given choreography, but not the full package in regard to their routines and music selection,” Marina reveals. “After taking our teams to various conventions, the idea came up to create a convention that would provide pro dance teams with choreography for their season.”
It was this particular idea that sparked Pro Action Dance and set a precedent for the world of pro sports and college dance teams. Because some directors of these dance teams are not necessarily choreographers, Marina and Mina set out to equip team directors with the materials they needed in order to deliver great routines that would be crowd-pleasers and overall staples to the teams involved. Along with delivering great routines, Pro Action Dance would specialize in providing a variety of music and choreography that is special in its own right and readable from any distance. This dream soon became a reality for the Ortega twins, and it wasn’t long before directors from NFL and NBA teams were bringing their dancers to Pro Action to learn new and catchy material for halftime performances.
“Our motto is ‘No fluff. Just great routines,’” says Marina. “It’s about giving these teams short, dynamic routines that will grab a crowd. Pro Action Dance has that pro feel that you won’t get at a normal dance convention, and these dancers are getting everything they need and walking away with choreography that they can perform in any arena.”
As it has progressed over the years, Pro Action Dance has broadened its horizons to reach even more dancers who are a part of their college dance teams as well as pursuing positions on pro sports dance teams. Broadway Dance Center has served as a home base for Marina to hold preliminary auditions for the Boston Celtics dancers for many years. In the spirit of inclusivity of pro sports as a whole, Marina decided to switch things up this past June by having a Pro Action workshop that was open to some of the top colleges, along with well-known NFL and NBA teams rather than just the Celtics. By hosting this pro dance workshop of sorts at BDC, there was a chance for young dancers to be educated further with a mixture of dance and mentorship, while also opening up the parameters for those pro sports dancers to experience something new.
“We don’t want to limit dancers,” Marina explains. “On behalf of Pro Action, we held two classes and brought the Celtics dancers to help as well as take class. We even had a Q&A session for those younger dancers in college who may want to join pro sports teams after they graduate.”
Hosting this workshop proved to be great for the dancers involved and for the mission of Pro Action Dance as a whole. Not only has it been able to build amazing dancers and teams, but it has also built choreographers in the process as well. With 13 choreographers on the roster this year and talent that is through the roof, Pro Action Dance has been able to continue to flourish and expose young dancers to the best of the best.
As their program continues to grow, the Ortega twins have set their sights on continuing to up their game. By focusing on their market, they plan on taking chances and further evolving the Pro Action Dance brand by starting a second location and widening their reach in the pro sports entertainment world. Without skipping a beat, the Ortega twins have already set their sights on the future of Pro Action Dance in connection with BDC as well.
“We would like to go back to BDC in March at the beginning of the year and do a couple of classes before the NFL season starts,” Marina shares. “We’d like to make a splash and change things up a bit by adding in pom poms and having dancers bring boots so that we can capitalize and prepare dancers for different realms of pro football and cheer. I want everyone to make the team. You never know what you’re capable of.”
To learn more about the Ortega twins and Pro Action Dance, visit www.proactiondance.com.
By Monique George of Dance Informa.