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Girl of the Week

01/06/2011, 7:11pm CST
By Jessica Baltes

Q&A with Jes from the SPT!

Jes is a four-year veteran of the Swarm Performance Team (SPT). This season, she became one of the co-captains of the SPT.

Dance is an integral part of her life. She is a high school dance teacher, coach and director of the Eastview Dance Department, in addition to being a member of the SPT and a choreographer/instructor for Just for Kix.

Jes took time out of her busy schedule to answer some questions for mnswarm.com before the start of the 2011 Minnesota Swarm season opener this Saturday, Jan. 8 at Xcel Energy Center.

Congratulations on becoming one of the co-captains of the SPT this season! Any additional responsibilities that you have to take on?
Keeping team members updated on practice schedules, locations, choreography and any other miscellaneous things that may come up. Anything we do, Ginger and I work together to keep all of us on schedule and ready to go!

This is your fourth year as a member of the SPT. You are now the most veteran member of the team. What keeps you coming back?
I love it. I really love the Swarm organization and performing for the lacrosse fans. I have always loved to dance and this fits perfectly into my life right now. SPT has the best coaches and the team members are amazing!!! All of us have become really close and I love that part of it. All of the ladies are very professional and just really good people to be around.

This season, there are 5 newcomers and 5 veterans. How’s the mix working out?
Great! It works well to have some returning dancers and it’s always fun to have new members on the team! Everyone works hard and brings something to the table. Even as a veteran dancer, I work to improve and get better every year and the other dancers on the team push me to work harder.

What made you try out for the team four years ago? How did you find out about the tryouts? Were you a lacrosse fan…?
I was dancing in California and got a job offer back in Minnesota. Since I knew Tami (SPT coach), she sent me an email about this dance team that performs for lacrosse. I had never seen a lacrosse game, so my dad and I bought tickets and came to see them in action. It was great! High energy and I really enjoyed watching the dancers. I knew a few of them and they loved it, so I decided to go for it! I’m so glad I did! And yes…I am a huge lacrosse fan now!!!!

As a member of the SPT, you participate in a number of appearances. What are some of your favorites?
Appearances are great! They are all so different that it’s hard to say a favorite. I love post-game parties, you get to see the fans and talk about the game. Last year, I had the opportunity to go to the Children’s Hospital in St. Paul, and it was a wonderful experience. I enjoyed chatting with the kids and talking about dancing for the Swarm with them. Anytime you get to meet a Swarm fan, that’s always a great appearance!

You clearly love dance…you teach, you perform. What do you like to do outside of dance?
I like to spend time with my family and friends. I enjoy yoga and taking walks. I’m a huge movie buff, and recently I have felt the need to travel more. I want to see the world!

You used to perform for the Timberwolves…how does the experience with the Swarm compare?
It’s different. I danced for the Timberwolves a long time ago when every game was sold out and we made the playoffs, so that was an awesome experience. I like how fast moving lacrosse is and I get a chance to talk with fans more, so I really enjoy that part. Both have been fun. I just love dancing and performing!

Is there anyone who has really influenced your dance career?
I have been blessed all my life with the support I’ve had around me for dance. My parents have been my number one fans all my life. My mom would drive me to and from dance practice for years, and my dad is always one of the first fans in the door at any game I’ve ever danced at. When I wanted to move to LA to dance they were behind me 100 percent and supportive. It meant the world to me.

I have also danced with and been coached by truly amazing people. I’ve been with Just for Kix Dance Camp for 17 years now, my second family every summer. My teachers in college were outstanding, and all the women I have ever had the opportunity to dance with in my professional career have inspired me to be the dancer I am today. I have been inspired by the best of the best.

Who decides what songs and dances you perform? As co-captain of the team, do you get any input?
Anyone on the team can make suggestions. I’m on the music and choreography committee, so I get the chance to mix some of our music!

For the second year, the team got to do a calendar shoot. What was that experience like?
Awesome! All of us loved the opportunity to be in a calendar, and this year some of the funds are going to a great cause (the Randy Shaver Cancer Research & Community Fund), so that means a lot! We are very honored and proud to have a calendar for the SPT! Everyone needs a calendar!

The first game of the season is coming up this Saturday. What do fans have to look forward to from the SPT?
You’ll get a chance to meet our rookies and see us dance our solos! We will also be selling our 2011 calendars, so look for that!!! A few of us, including myself, will be at the first post-game party! Hope to see you all there! Go Swarm!!!

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