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What Warriors Wear: A conversation with Sabrina Chaudhry-Ellison of the Golden State Warrior Girls

Sabrina Chaudhry-Ellison is a warrior.

And now, she’ll lead the Golden State Warrior Girls in the 2012 season as the team’s new Dance Team Director.

With nearly two decades’ worth of professional dance experience, Ellison plans to cultivate a dance team with talent, heart and a whole lot of style.

This year also marks the start of Ellison’s new business, Sideline Ready Pro Dance Consulting. In this venture, Ellison works with professional dance hopefuls and veterans alike. Ellison aims to empower women to gain self-esteem, knowledge and skill to audition and perform successfully.

Join DA Designs as we chat with Ellison about her passion, expertise and hopes for the professional dance industry.

DA: You recently started coaching the Golden State Warriors Girls. What do you hope to bring to the team?

SCE: I want all my dancers to walk away forever changed by being a Warrior Girl.  I try to offer my dancers an environment where they can grow as a person and gain friendships. I believe it’s important to train my team in dance skills and performance quality, but to equally teach them to embrace their intelligence and showcase their inner beauty as a modern day woman.

What can fans expect for the 2012-13 season?

Our routines will be cutting edge, but will incorporate more styles and genres. I think costuming will also play a key part.  Branded Warrior Girl costumes are a standard, but for this coming season I see the Warrior Girls adding some fun themed costumes and routines — more than ever before.

Has the dancewear evolved with the professional dance industry? How?

In the NBA, a majority of the teams have traditional two-piece outfits. However, I do see a lot of teams thinking outside the box and adding pieces that showcase what’s taking place in the pop music scene.  NBA dance teams get to play around a little more and add a few more outfits. For example, you might see anything from unitards, dresses, shorts, short jumpers, cargos or fun-themed jackets, hats, etc.

Why did you choose DA Designs Dancewear as your dancewear company for the Warrior Girls?

DA Designs does a great job of customizing its outfits so that when you’re auditioning with 500 dancers, you still feel like your outfit is unique and one-of-a-kind.  So when I started coaching, DA designs immediately came to mind as the designers to work with for my team. On top of their custom outfits, they’re a joy to work with and they make my life easier because they’re dependable and customer-focused.

What should business owners and team leaders look for when picking a new uniform and designer?

You want a designer that’s innovative, creative and knows how to give each team a distinct look based on the dance team’s market.  In addition, it’s important to have a designer that understands dance team costumes and the material that “pops” on court/field. This material should compliment a dancer’s movements so they’re comfortable dancing full out, and is durable enough to last the entire season.

Tell me about the new Warrior Girls’ outfits by DA Designs. How are they enhancing the Warrior Girls’ image?

I think costumes are the identity of a team, and DA did a great job giving us costumes that were indicative of professional dance teams, yet distinct.  The dancers love them because they make them feel professional, and the costumes really make them stand out in front of our audience.  The past uniforms were missing the “bling” factor, and these new outfits really have addressed this for us.

One of our costumes, which we call the “Wonder Girl,” looks glamorous with the shiny material and arm cuffs to give it that sexy edge.

We also have our three-piece “hoodie” costume.  DA used a jersey material with our team colors, which brought the basketball feel with a sexy and girly twist. It’s the perfect costume that allows the girls to let loose and do more hip-hop style routines.

The new direction with the Warrior Girls costumes has given us an image of glamour and professionalism, which is where I want this dance team to go.

Your business Sideline Ready specializes in preparing women for impeccable auditions. What advice do you give performers picking out the perfect outfit for an audition?

I think it’s smart to stay away from team colors because a lot of girls tend to wear those colors at auditions.  The goal with your costume is to differentiate yourself, so pick a color, style and pattern that you love and brings out your personal features. Most importantly, you should feel confident dancing in it when you’re at auditions.  I think to stand out that it’s 100-percent necessary for dancers to get a custom outfit.

What inspired you to launch Sideline Ready? How is your new business making an impact in the professional dance industry?

I launched Sideline Ready for two reasons.  When I looked back at my journey of auditioning for the pros, it took me several auditions to finally make a team.  I never had an idea on what I needed to work on to help me improve. Secondly, as a coach I had several ladies that would reach out after auditions asking what they could do to prepare and all I could tell them was take dance classes.  However, going pro requires many other skills (e.g. interview skills, performance skills, hair and make-up, etc.). I thought it would be fun to help the next generation of dancers prepare for their journey and give them the guidance needed for this specific industry.

In addition to developing professionally, you’ve truly emphasized community and giving back throughout your career. Why should dancers be involved in the community?

When I danced professionally, I was so touched that my love for dance provided an opportunity for me to touch other people’s lives.  Every time I did an appearance at a hospital or in the community and brought a smile to someone’s face, it made me realize that being a pro dancer was a powerful tool.  In life it’s all about people guiding you and then giving back by guiding others.

What are your expectations for your future as an ambassador in the professional cheer and dance world? 

I believe as a coach you have a key role to produce a first-class performance team that fans connect with through performances, in game interaction and community events.  I also feel a big part of my job is to create a positive environment for my dancers to grow as people and to cultivate the talent on my team to reach their potential. In terms of Sideline Ready, I want to be a key resource for the next generation of dancers to have a place to train on the specifics of being a pro dancer, while also providing pro dance coaches in the league a place to network and train their upcoming talent.

Do you have any last words of wisdom for women looking to cultivate their talent?

To be a professional dancer/cheerleader you have to train and push yourself similar to other pro athletes.  You must hone your craft and never give up!

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