The Luvabulls perform at every home game, and although only 10 Luvabulls dance per game, all Luvabulls are responsible for knowing the choreography and they must audition for each game. They are constantly under pressure to be the best that they can be every time they step on the court.
While preparing the halftime show, which includes creating, choreographing, auditioning for the roles of the divas, selecting costumes, lighting, arranging additional rehearsal time and space, as well as holding down full-time jobs, the Luvabulls also worked to learn and perfect their routines for the games.
The Luvabulls are synonymous with talent and beauty, glamour and glitz, as well as hard work, dedication and commitment. Their routines include hip hop, jazz, and rock ‘n’ roll styles of dance, and take hours of practice and preparation.
When Erika is not dancing for her favorite team, she’s the Marketing Director for a Senior Living Community. Luvabulls veteran Erika, now in her ninth season, shares something that most people do not know about her and recalls travelling to Beijing with other members of the squad.We chatted with Erika, the only Asian gal on Chicago’s Luvabulls!
ASIANCE: How did you know that you wanted to be an NBA Cheerleader?
Erika: Having been trained in dance since a young age has allowed me to find a passion and comfort in performing in front of large groups of people. I wanted to challenge myself on a professional level, and the Chicago Luvabulls have always had a great reputation in the city for their hard-work and intricate choreography.
ASIANCE: What training do you have and do you think one needs to become an NBA Cheerleader?
Erika: I have had many, incredible opportunities to dance on several dance teams, and I am grateful for all that I have learned and shared from many talented teammates. I’ve had studio training in tap, ballet, jazz, and pointe. I believe having dance training, determination and confidence is beneficial in becoming an NBA Dancer.
ASIANCE: What did your family think of you pursuing a different career path besides the traditional Asian careers our parents push us into?
Erika: My family has always been supportive of my desire to dance and perform. My mom was the one who enrolled me in my first dance class! Dancing for the Chicago Luvabulls is a passion and a pastime. My full-time job is at a Senior Living Community in Chicago as the Executive Director.
ASIANCE: When did you realize that you wanted to be a Luvabull cheerleader?
Erika: I attended my first Bulls’ game with my family during their championship run in the 1990s. I realized I was focusing more on the dancers as opposed to the actual game. At that moment, I dreamed of becoming a Chicago Luvabull one day.
ASIANCE: Who is your current favorite Bulls player?
Erika: Derrick Rose. I admire his talent, motivation, hard-work and humbleness. His athleticism and unselfishness on court makes him an incredible team-player.
ASIANCE: Who is your favorite basketball player of all time?
Erika: Growing up a Bulls fan in Chicago allowed me to witness six exciting championships, led by Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. This amazing duo was the prime example of teamwork on and off the court, which I admire.
ASIANCE: What qualities do you look for in a boyfriend?
Erika: Everything my boyfriend portrays: Humor, honesty, understanding and determination to succeed.
ASIANCE: Name three words that describe you.
Erika: Trust-worthy, hard-working, energetic
ASIANCE: What is your favorite activity to do in Chicago?
Erika: Enjoying a day at the beach or walking along Lake Michigan, observing the beautiful skyline.
ASIANCE: What is the most adventurous thing you have done?
Erika: Skydiving on a first date!
ASIANCE: What is the best part about being a Luvabull?
Erika: I am grateful to be part of the Luvabulls’ dance team, where I have made lasting relationships and friendships. I am fortunate to have had the opportunities the team has given me over the years, and the memories to last a lifetime, such as performing around the world, being in a national commercial and dancing during the most energized time, the playoffs!
ASIANCE: Do you think that Asian/Asian American Women are finally making strides on the professional cheerleading squads?
Erika: Yes, throughout my experiences with the Luvabulls, I have been fortunate to dance with a very diverse group of women, including Asians. I feel that an NBA dancer should portray “the entire package”, not only having dance ability, but being able to represent the NBA in a professional manner.
ASIANCE: What is the greatest accomplishment in your life thus far?
Erika: I am most proud of being recognized for my hard-work and being promoted within my job to Executive Director of a Senior Living Community. It is a very rewarding job and I look forward to many challenges that will allow me to grow and develop within my career.
ASIANCE: Where do you hope your NBA Cheerleading experience will lead you to?
Erika: My experiences and lessons that I have already learned while being an NBA dancer have already taken me places I never thought I would be. I hope it will allow me to continue to grow as a dancer and as a person, in order to accomplish personal and career goals.
ASIANCE: How do you manage to look so perfect throughout the game?
Erika: Lots of hairspray and red lipstick!
ASIANCE: Do you have any “beauty secrets” that you can share with our readers?
Erika: Don’t line the inside of your eyes. It will make your eyes appear smaller. Instead, line just at the lash line and smudge just a bit. An obvious line doesn’t look natural. And, fake eyelashes should be your best friend!
ASIANCE: What advice do you have for young girls aspiring to become NBA Cheerleaders?
Erika: Dance with all your heart and tell a story through your dance by connecting with your audience. Take advantage of every opportunity given to you. Stay humble, work hard and never give up on your goals. Don’t ever underestimate your capabilities and always dream big!