Katie is a first-year SPT member with a full plate of creative spirit. She designs, she coordinates, she envisions, she develops … she does it all. If a full-time job and a spot on the National Lacrosse League’s best performance team wasn’t enough to keep her busy, perhaps a Champion’s Cup will.
Katie has been dancing for 20 years, including time spent with the Minnesota Vikings, but her first season with the Swarm has made fans feel like family, a truly unique experience for any professional performer. She spoke with mnswarm.com about the talented women she works with and her dream job on “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.”
Paitich: What was your first impression of the Swarm when you joined the SPT this season?
Katie: I was pleasantly surprised with just how welcoming and nice everyone was. Andy (Swarm Co-Owner and Vice President Andy Arlotta) comes to some of our appearances and he’s just so great getting involved with us. So everything from top management all the way down; everyone is so welcoming and involved. I think that’s a really great part of this organization; you don’t feel so separate.
As far as being new with the SPT, I love the women I’m dancing with here. They’re all wonderful, talented ladies and I think there was an immediate bond with all of us. I really love that, too.
Paitich: I’ve had the pleasure of speaking to every member of the SPT this year. Each week, one of you tells me how special your chemistry is …
Katie: We were talking about this last night at practice, actually. We just have a very unique, special team this year where we all happen to get along really well and have the same goals in mind and interests and it’s fun because we come to practice and we have fun. We work hard but we also have fun doing it. I think it’s because we’ve all danced professionally in the past and just know how to come in, get it done and enjoy each other’s company more than anything. All the women have great personalities and are easy going. We all kind of have a unique characteristic on the team that kind of sets us apart and brings the team together, if that makes sense. Acacia is kind of our jokester and Jes is kind of our leader – it’s like that.
Paitich: You danced for the Vikings before you came here. Here are two very different organizations in size, style and atmosphere. What do you like most about being with the Swarm?
Katie: Just being in a smaller setting, I feel closer to the fans. There’s more of an opportunity to get to know our fans, versus the Vikings, because it is so big and you don’t see the same people as often. Here, you see the same people so often that it kind of becomes a family with the fans. I think that’s a unique feature and makes it really fun.
Paitich: What do you do outside of SPT?
Katie: What don’t I do outside of SPT? I just love getting involved in so many different things and having so many different interests. As far as a career, I’m in product design and development for a Fortune 500 company. On the side, I coached the Minnesota Vikings Cheerleaders All-Star Team this year, which are young ladies ages five to 14. We compete with them all year long, so I’ve done that for the past three years and then I also teach group fitness on the side. I teach a hip-hop dance class. I also do different choreography for studios and things like that throughout the metro area.
Paitich: How did you get into teaching the hip-hop?
Katie: I love choreographing. I had been taking a few classes from instructors. One day I knew they were looking for someone to take over a new class, and I thought, “Well, I’m just going to give this a shot.” I truly love it. I love my class. I can throw anything at them and challenge them in different ways and they let me lead them wherever. It’s fun to be creative and I set it up kind of like a music video; I turn down the lights and make it a fun atmosphere.
Paitich: You mention having all this creativity and you’re in product design. What are you working on?
Katie: In my specific area, it sounds boring, but it’s bath products. So I do soap pumps, tissue holders, things like that along with towels and shower curtains and we kind of coordinate them to match. It sounds boring but it’s fun because there are a lot of different products. And on the side I do some interior design work when I get a chance, because that’s what I went to school for. So, I kind of get my creative outlets in different places.
Paitich: You would consider yourself a very creative person then?
Katie: I think so. I like using that side of my brain a little bit more often.
Paitich: Is there one place, one building or one room in the world that you would really love to design one day?
Katie: I don’t know if this goes along the lines of your question but my dream job would be on “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” or a show like that where I can give back to the community, yet use my creative background to kind of design fun spaces for kids or comfortable spaces for families who have maybe had rough times or rough experiences.
Paitich: So Acacia is the jokester of the group, eh? She always up to no good?
Katie: I would say Acacia or Betsy. They’re kind of our fun-loving jokesters. I just feel like whenever the team is kind of too serious or in the moment, you’ll turn around and they’re doing something silly. They’re just wearing funny socks, wearing their poms on their head and making people laugh. And you need that on your team.
Paitich: Obviously the teams and players are under a lot of pressure during the games, but that must be the same for you ladies, too …
Katie: Yes. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to have the best performance. We’re only out in front of the fans on the field for maybe three minutes total when you add up both of our routines. We have just a small amount of time to make a big impression and we want to do the best that we can. There is kind of a lot of pressure there, so it’s nice to be light-hearted about things and not take yourself too seriously and I think they definitely help coach us in that department.
Paitich: Do you like doing the Pub Stings?
Katie: Yeah – I think they’re a fun, creative way to get out there and interact with the fans or people who are not familiar with the Swarm. It’s a great way to get them excited about a newer professional team in the Twin Cities area. It’s a good way to educate and bring some excitement to the community.
Paitich: Last home game of the year against the Orlando Titans this Saturday at 7:35 p.m. CST at Xcel Energy Center. Your thoughts?
Katie: We’re going to win. I hope it’s an exciting game for the regular season to end on because we know we’re going to go far in the playoffs anyway. Jes and I choreographed the “Shut It Down” routine for this weekend, so we are super excited about that, too. Don’t miss it.