The moment crystallized in Brooke Schmidt’s memory: the lights blackened, the music thumped, and the announcer called the names of the Dallas Mavericks lineup. But for a young Schmidt, whose family attended the games to watch her babysitter perform as a Mavericks cheerleader, it wasn’t the players who left the biggest impact.
At one such game, she turned to her dad and declared that she wanted to be a Mavericks cheerleader, too.
“My dad said, ‘Heck no!’” Schmidt says with a laugh, “but once he saw how dedicated I was in my dance classes, he supported me.”
By the time she was 18 years old, that dedication landed her on the Dallas Mavericks cheer roster for the 2012-2013 season.
“It was so surreal … it didn’t hit me until I was actually performing the Mavericks dance intro [the same intro that she had watched her babysitter perform years earlier] that I was a professional cheerleader,” Schmidt says.
This season, Schmidt is taking time off from the Mavericks to study business management so she can open a dance studio someday. In the meantime, she brings her passion and experience to neighborhood children as Town North YMCA’s new jazz, ballet and hip-hop dance instructor. Schmidt discovered her love for teaching while helping at Mavericks cheerleading camps.
“I remember looking up to my dance teachers as a little girl like they held the world,” Schmidt says.
In her late teens, she attended Dance FX Studio, an award-winning dance school in Garland that offered workshops, including one by the choreographer Shane Sparks from the popular reality TV competition, “So You Think You Can Dance.” Schmidt also trained in contemporary, ballet, jazz and hip-hop techniques at the studio, earning numerous awards at national dance competitions.
Schmidt wants to teach her students at the Y to focus on the fun side of performing. She says that from her experiences as a professional cheerleader she has learned that it’s important to not lose sight of that.
“These days, little girls have so much weighing on them in society,” Schmidt says. “I want to remind them that dancing is about having fun and not worrying about what everybody else thinks.”
Visit ymcadallas.org to learn more.
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