Shelley native becomes Utah Jazz dancer
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SHELLEY — A Shelley native has danced her way to the basketball court onto a team performing in the NBA.
Lexie Westergard, 19, is one of the newest dancers for the Utah Jazz. This is Westergard’s first time being on a dance team like this but it is not her first rodeo when it comes to competition.
“I was three-years-old when I started dance because I couldn’t sit still when I was younger, so my mom was like, ‘We are going to put her into dance!’ Then when I was five, I started doing competitive dancing and did it until I graduated. I did three years on the Shelley High School drill team and was a three-time state champ winner,” she said.
Growing up, Westergard would go to conventions around the nation and compete in dance competitions.
“I love lyrical, contemporary but also my heart goes to hip-hop. Those are my top three (favorite types of dance) I would say,” she said.
Westergard moved to Provo, Utah in June 2020 and started going to school at Mountainland Technical College where she is currently studying to become a surgical technician.
Last season, she went to a Jazz game. One of her friends was a Utah Jazz dancer at the time.
“I saw her at the game on the sidelines cheering and I was like, ‘Oh my goodness! I really want to do this.’ I spent most of the game watching the dancers instead of the actual game and I just fell in love because it looked so fun,” said Westergard.
Westergard decided she was going to audition for the Utah Jazz Dancers. She began audition prep in June 2021 and went to audition in July. She explained to EastIdahoNews.com there were about 125 people who tried out for the dance team.
“There was combinations you needed to learn. There’s an interview process, there are routines you needed to learn, we had to take pictures,” she said.
Westergard made the cut last month.
According to the Utah Jazz Dancers director Ashley Kelson, there are 24 dancers on the team – 18 women and six men. It’s the first season that they have had men on the team.
“It’s been great. It’s so awesome to have co-ed. The energy the guys bring – it’s awesome,” said Westergard.
She performed recently at her first basketball game for the Utah Jazz.
“It felt so surreal. Like walking onto the floor during halftime and cheering and hearing all the fans, it feels like a dream. I feel like I am in a movie,” she said.
Westergard explained that she practices two times a week for a total of eight hours with the dancers on the team.
“With our training, we get a personal trainer through the Jazz. We have to go on a strict regiment nutrition plan that’s specific to what we need, which I am so excited for that!” she said.
Westergard explained that if she wants to be on the team for continual seasons, that she will have to go through the audition process each season which she plans to do.
Though she never dreamed she would be a Utah Jazz dancer, it’s an opportunity that she is grateful for and a team that she wants to stick with for a long time.
“Just be grateful for every moment you’re put in because you never know what moment and what experience is going to take you somewhere in your life,” she said.
Click here to see who is on the Jazz Dancers team.