Dancing for the Pros

August 15, 2010

This summer, Ana de Matos became one of the newest Knicks City Dancers. The 23-year-old Brazilian beauty started dancing in her home country when she was two years old, doing national styles like the samba. When Ana moved to Weston, FL, at 10, she began training in ballet, tap, jazz, modern and lyrical. As a mechanical engineering student at
Ana de Matos
Duke University, Ana spent four years on the college’s dance team. Now, she’s one of seven new dancers on the 20-member KCD. Ana talked to DS about what it takes to make it to the pro team level.

Dance Spirit
: Why did you decide to audition for the Knicks City Dancers?

Ana de Matos:
I enjoyed Duke’s team so much and I wanted to have that experience again. I was also excited about the thought of performing at Madison Square Garden.

: How did you prepare for the audition?

I did the KCD workshops and audition clinics. The clinics were crucial because they were geared toward teaching you the style of the team’s choreography. And you get an inside perspective from girls already on the team. I also took gym classes because I knew I needed to be physically fit and resilient.

: What was the audition like? What did you have to do?

The audition was five days long. First they wanted to see our technique, so we went across the floor doing battements, turns and leaps. Then we started learning choreography and being put into groups and getting cut. On the first day, it went from 500 to 35 girls. The second day the 2009-10 KCD girls joined us, and Gil Duldulao taught choreography. After that round we were cut to 29 girls who made it to the training camp. We spent the next three days cleaning choreography. They wanted to see how quickly you process corrections and how aware you are of your spacing. On the last day, a personal trainer did a bootcamp. I had to give that one final push, which was incredibly difficult. After the bootcamp, they announced the team. The same day, we jumped right in, getting ready for our first appearance.

: What was your reaction when you found out you’d made the team?

I was thrilled! And I was in shock–it took a whole week to process that I’d made it that far.

: What are you most excited about?

Getting to know these girls. I’m also looking forward to learning a lot of new choreography and to expanding my dance background.


Fun Fact

Ana speaks three languages, Portuguese, Spanish and English!

Photo of Ana de Matos courtesy Knicks City Dancers.