Julianne is a Korean American Jersey Girl whose guilty pleasure, besides dancing for the Miami Heat, is shoe shopping. Most people call her Jules or Julie, but if you happen to find yourself in the middle of a flash mob, don’t be surprised if it was choreographed by the one and only Julianne. She organized a student flash mob during her graduation from high school. Most people could not say they accomplish that….or became an NBA cheerleader for that matter.
Julianne knew from the minute she stepped into her first ballet class that she wanted to be a dancer. Growing up and training under a director who used to be a Knicks City Dancer, Julianne learned how amazing her teacher’s experience was pursuing a professional dance career. This was the first time Julianne’s eyes were opened to the possibility of being an NBA Dancer.
Although her parents weren’t thrilled with Julianne pursuing a dance career, after making the team, her family has come to love the HEAT and love the fact that she is living her dreams!
We were so proud to speak with Julianne!
The arena is always extra packed on our games against the Knicks. With “Linsanity” in full gear when our second home game against the Knicks arrived, the atmosphere was extra crazy. The fans on both sides were in full swing and the close game had us all on the edge of our seats!
ASIANCE: What training do you have and do you think one needs to become an NBA Dancer?
Julianne: I started with ballet and moved on to train in Jazz, Hip-Hop, Lyrical/Contemporary, Tap and Pointe, all styles that have helped to shape me as the dancer I am today. To become an NBA dancer, I think one needs strong jazz and hip-hop training above all other styles these days, but more importantly, I think above any sort of training; just a general enthusiasm for dance and performing for crowds is really the key being a great 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?
Julianne: Though my family has always supported my dance education and training, they’ve never really supported the idea of dancing for a living. For years my parents have tried to convince me to pursue a career outside of dance. Like traditional Asian parents, they’ve suggested entering the corporate world, medicine, law… all of which I never found to be something that I wanted to do for the rest of my life. When I first told my parents that I was planning on auditioning to be a HEAT Dancer they didn’t object to me trying out because as my mom later revealed to me, “Making the team is like grabbing a star, a one in a million shot, I didn’t think you’d actually make it!” After making the team though, my family has come to love the HEAT, love the fact that I am living my dreams and are proud to say that I am a dancer!
ASIANCE: When did you realize that you wanted to be a Miami HEAT Dancer?
Julianne: I realized I wanted to be a Miami HEAT Dancer when I came down to Miami for school. While attending the University of Miami, away from my home studio for the first time, no longer competing with my company, no longer cheering with my high school squad, I missed the hours of rehearsals, performing, dancing and cheering on a crowd. Searching for dance opportunities outside of school, the Miami HEAT Dancers seemed like the perfect opportunity for me to do everything that I loved! And of course, after looking into the HEAT Dancers and watching their performances, I literally exclaimed to myself, “This is what I want to do!” The girls on the team seemed perfect, beautiful, talented; people that fans could connect with and women that could inspire the young girls of our generation. The fact that I enjoy basketball and love the HEAT didn’t hurt either!
ASIANCE: Name three words that describe you.
Julianne: Joyful. Diligent. Dreamer.
ASIANCE: What is your favorite social activity to do in Miami?
Julianne: My favorite social activity to do in Miami is going to the beach. There is nothing I enjoy more than relaxing with friends while getting some sun.
ASIANCE: What is your best feature?
Julianne: My best feature is my smile, I don’t go anywhere without it.
ASIANCE: What is the most adventurous thing you have done?
Julianne: The most adventurous thing I have done is going on a mission trip to Africa. I traveled to Cote D’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) the summer following my sophomore year in high school for 20 days bringing medical supplies, medical attention, and Vacation Bible Schools to different villages in the country. It was definitely one of the most incredible and memorable experiences of my life.
ASIANCE: What is the best part about being a Miami HEAT Dancer?
Julianne: The best part about being a Miami HEAT Dancer is being surrounded by my amazing HEAT Family. The people in this company are the best around and you spend so much time together, you become a family like none other. The girls especially on the team are all hard-working, talented and beautiful people, inside and out, all at different crossroads and points in our lives. Regardless of where we are on our personal journeys, one thing we share is our love for dance and our love for the HEAT! The girls have become some of my closest friends and so having this opportunity to make lifelong friends is the best part about this entire experience alongside the thrill of stepping out onto the court. There’s nothing quite like running onto that basketball court and dancing for the fans.
ASIANCE: Do you think that Asian/Asian American Women are finally making strides on the professional cheerleading /dance squads?
Julianne: I think that Asian/ Asian American Women are making greater strides on the professional cheerleading/ dance squads today as the generations are changing, however, I think there is still a long way to go for the Asian community.
ASIANCE: What is the greatest accomplishment in your life thus far?
Julianne: Making this team has definitely been my greatest accomplishment in my life thus far. I don’t think I have ever worked harder for anything in my life before this team.
ASIANCE: Where do you hope your NBA dancing experience will lead you to?
Julianne: I hope that my NBA dancing experience will mold me into the best dancer I can be and lead me to more dance opportunities in the future, furthering my career as a professional dancer.
Pitbull and the Miami Heat dancers join The Rock
ASIANCE: How do you manage to look so perfect throughout the game?
Julianne: All of us work hard to look good for the games, lots of working out when we aren’t on the court to keep us in top shape, to have the endurance to perform and look our best for the full entirety of the game. Throughout the actual game, we constantly touch up our make-up and hair and always look out for one another to make sure we don’t step out there with a hair out of place or lipstick on our teeth.
ASIANCE: Do you have any “beauty secrets” that you can share with our readers?
Julianne: Sleep. I always feel more beautiful when I wake up energized and glowing. Starting the day on a high note helps to make me feel better about myself for the entire day, and that always starts with getting a good night’s sleep (something that is rare as finals for school are fast approaching, I may or may not have been up for over 36 hours now).
Eat well and exercise. When I eat healthy and get my daily hour of cardio in, I feel more beautiful than on days I indulge on junk food that makes me feel sluggish and bloated.
Tan!!! A little bronzing goes a long way 🙂 It helps to make everyone look more toned, and usually compliments all outfits!
There is power in extensions. Eyelash extensions. Hair extensions. Quick ways to make you feel a little extra beautiful!
ASIANCE: How about the game against the Knicks with Jeremy Lin? What was the atmosphere like?
Julianne: The arena is always extra packed on our games against the Knicks, there are lots of Knicks fans in Miami. With “Linsanity” in full gear when our second home game against the Knicks arrived, the atmosphere was extra crazy. The fans on both sides were in full swing and the close game had us all on the edge of our seats!
ASIANCE: What advice do you have for young girls aspiring to become NBA Dancers?
Julianne: Work hard, Train hard and Dream Big. Don’t give up on your aspirations. You only live once, so don’t settle for anything less than what you want. Give your heart to dance and I promise it will return the love.
Photo credit David Alvarez/Miami HEAT.