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Always In The Spotlight

by Staff Writer / Florida Panthers
Editors note. This piece was originally written for NHL.com for the NHL's celebration of 30 teams playing on one night, the only time that will happen this season.


While the Panthers players get most of the attention in South Florida for their on-ice play, they aren't always in the eye of the fan on a game day at the BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Florida. That title belongs to the Panthers Ice Dancers. A unit of 18 women, who almost from the time they get to the arena until after the game, are out in the public acting as ambassadors for the Panthers organization.

Having one stage to dance on in Section 127 at the BankAtlantic Center, squads of eight usually "work" an individual game.

But it's more than just dancing all night for these very diverse group of women who are originally from all over the world. At any point in time during the game, they're out visiting suites, conversing with the fans in the concourse, promoting programs that the Panthers might have going on and adding to the game presentation and the overall atmosphere.

Although it would be tough being out in the public for hours upon hours and upholding the Panther standard for anyone, it's worth it for them.

In The Spotlight: Ice Dancers
So even though these women aren't in action on the NHL's busiest night of the season, Saturday night, it wouldn't be right to not recognize them for their time and efforts in helping make going to a Panthers game an experience.

The following is a small timeline of what a day consists for an Ice Dancer on Friday when the Panthers hosted the San Jose Sharks. (All times approximate)

Friday, Oct 24, 7:00am - 4:30p.m.: Work or school. Besides dancing, all girls hold a full-time job or attend school. As an example, Nichole is a dance teacher at a private school in South Florida.

Friday, Oct 24, 4:45-5:00 p.m.: Arrive at the BankAtlantic Center where they start to prepare for the game, curling hair, putting on make-up, etc.

5:15 p.m.: Ladies go through the three dance routines for first time, practicing in a small room just off their locker room.

5:30 p.m.: Take a short break where continue to put on make-up, do hair, etc.

5:40 p.m.: Make way up to stage by Section 127 where go over dance routines with Game Presentation

6:00 p.m.: Get something small to eat, put finishing touches on wardrobe

7:00 p.m.: Out on concourse conversing with fans, waiting to go on for first dance.

7:20 p.m.: Go out on stage for first performance

After first performance, two dancers go up to Game Presentation area to help with PA Announcer pumping up of the crowd while other six remain on stage for the period, dancing during stoppage in play, posing for photographs with fans, etc.

8:10 p.m.: First Intermission - All dancers out on the concourse where they take pictures with fans and sign autographs in the Publix Kids Corner outside Section 126.

8:25 p.m.: Out on stage for second performance.

After second performance, and for second period, two girls make way to game Presentation to PA area, two patrol the concourse, making Suite visits and the other four remain on stage, dancing for the 20 minutes of play.

9:05 p.m.: Second Intermission - Dancers back out on the concourse, taking pictures and signing autographs throughoug the arena.

9:20 p.m.: Back out on stage for last performance

For the third period, two girls go up to the PA Announcer table while the other six are out on stage dancing, throwing t-shirts during stoppages in play, and helping with contests and give-aways.

10:00 p.m: Game over. Ice Dancers celebrate with fans the Panthers 4-3 victory over the Sharks.

10:30 p.m.: Home. After changing into their street clothes and over a 12 hour day if you include their full-time jobs or school, they are finally done for the day. Five hours of it spent on their feet in high heeled boots...
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