Jes is a five-year veteran and co-captain of the Swarm Performance Team. She graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in dance and a Master of Education. Jes works as a high school dance teacher, coach and director at a local high school.
Jes enjoys yoga, softball, editing music, painting and spending time doing new things!
Jessica Baltes from the Swarm recently caught up with Jes.
Baltes: This is your fifth year as a member of the SPT and your second season as the co-captain of the team. How does this season compare to your previous years with the team?
Jes: This year is very special. Being co-captains with Ginger is so much fun. We really enjoy working together. With eight returning veterans from last year and two amazing rookies, our team has become really close. I respect this team so much and everyone is dedicated which makes the atmosphere at practice, appearances and games that much better. I think I’ve grown as a performer over the last five years and now I can really enjoy every moment and really push myself to be my best. Every year has been different. I have really enjoyed being a part of the Minnesota Swarm and the Minnesota Swarm Performance Team.
Baltes: Like you said, this season eight of the ladies from last season’s team returned. It must have been nice to have so many familiar faces back.
Jes: It’s been so wonderful. We have become so close and everyone works so hard. I’m really enjoying this season, and I can’t believe how fast it is going. This is truly an amazing season so far.
Baltes: In your time with the Swarm thus far, you have had the opportunity to participate in a variety of appearances ranging from radio interviews to post-game parties. What do you like about helping out with events and have any of them been particularly memorable for you?
Jes: I love doing appearances. It’s so much fun to meet with our fans and continue to promote professional lacrosse and the Minnesota Swarm. Appearances give us an opportunity to get involved in the community and one that is memorable to me is the visits to the Children’s Hospital. I’ve gotten the opportunity to visit twice already and it made a huge impact on me, and I’ll never forget it.
Baltes: In addition to performing for the Swarm, you are also a dance teacher and coach. How do the experiences compare? Do you get to utilize your choreography skills very often for the SPT?
Jes: Getting to perform is very different from coaching. Being on the SPT I get to focus on my own abilities and what I can do to continue to grow and improve as a dancer and member of the performance team. I love every minute of it. As a coach I’m working to help others improve and push them to reach their best. In both capacities I learn so much about myself, and I am blessed that I have the opportunity to do both. I definitely get to utilize my choreography skills in both places. I really enjoy choreographing for the SPT and helping the dancers that I coach to put together their dances as well.
Baltes: The SPT gets together once a week to practice for the upcoming game routines. Do you spend much time outside of the team practice perfecting the moves by yourself?
Jes: I do. I try to review dances every week and just before gameday I really work on the dances that will be performed that night so I’m really ready to go.
Baltes: The SPT is fortunate enough to have a number of wonderful sponsors who help keep the team members looking and feeling their best. For instance, you received a makeover prior to the start of the season from Sanctuary Salon Spa and the team also participates in a yoga class once a week. What is it like working with the sponsors?
Jes: The sponsors are so important to us. Sanctuary keeps us looking good and fresh for the season. Being able to take yoga classes at Corepower is essential to our fitness and keeping us flexible and in shape for the games and appearances. We are very lucky to have the sponsors we have and appreciate everything they do for us!
Baltes: During the long break in between home games, how is the SPT staying prepared and ready to go for the team’s returns home on March 30?
Jes: We still practice every week, get in workouts and meet up for extra practices if needed. That way we are ready to go when the Swarm returns home!
Baltes: The Swarm will be heading to Buffalo on St. Patrick’s Day this Saturday to take on the Bandits for the second time this season. Do you have any St. Patty’s Day plans of your own? Sporting any green Swarm wear perhaps?
Jes: Not sure what I’ll be doing for St. Patty’s Day but I will be sporting my Green Swarm Lacrosse shirt and watching the Swarm win!