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Local Pistons dancer livin' a well-deserved dream

A performer since the age of 4, Canton resident's hard work pays off


From performing tap and dance routines in front of family and friends as a 4-year-old, to executing high-level choreographed moves before up to 20,000 fans at Detroit Pistons home games, Miranda Richards' dance career has skyrocketed.


A graduate of Central Michigan University, Canton High School and a former student at Plymouth's Allen Elementary School and Central Middle School, Richards has defied the odds that come with turning a passion into a career.


"Looking back at the first Pistons game I performed, I felt a mix of adrenaline and extreme nervousness before the game," said Richards, who was a member of the dance teams at CMU and Canton High School. "I had never danced in front of that many people before, so naturally I'm thinking, 'Don't mess up! Don't mess up!'


"But after the first half of my first season, I realized I had what it took to perform at this level. It becomes super-fun, hearing the crowd and dancing to the loud music."


Entering her fourth season as a Pistons dance-team member, Richards reflected on her first tryout, which harvested a few nervous moments.


"The tryout process is pretty intense," she said. "There were probably 100 girls there my first year. You start out with warm-ups and conditioning, then you learn a jazz routine for the audition. After the first and second auditions, there were cuts, which are pretty scary.

"Once they cut it down to about 30 girls, we attended a two- to three-day bootcamp, where we learned more pieces and went through more conditioning. Right before the final cut, it was pretty nerve-wracking because they call up the girls that made it, one by one. I was sitting next to a friend and we were saying, 'Oh my gosh, will one of us make it, both of us make it, or neither?' The moment they called my name was when I realized all the hard work and training I put into it had paid off."


In order to perform like the fine-tuned team Pistons fans have come to expect, the dancers practice anywhere from two to four days a week, depending on the time of year and number of home games approaching.


"The practices last anywhere from three-and-a-half hours to five-and-a-half hours, depending on the schedule," Richards said. "The practices can be a little tedious at times because we have to learn the choreography, but we do whatever it takes to get it done."


GROWING INTEREST IN HOOPS


Admittedly not a huge hoops fan before joining CMU's dance team her freshman year, Richards said her appreciation and understanding of the sport has grown the longer she has danced for the Pistons.


"I'm a bigger basketball fan now than I've ever been," she said. "When I made the Pistons dance team I made it a priority to learn more about the sport and watch more games on TV. I love it now and can't wait until the Pistons make the playoffs. I think they have a great chance this year."


Richards makes it a point to acknowledge her parents -- Jim and Mary Jane -- before the games they attend at Little Caesars Arena.

"They tell me where they're sitting and I try to find them and wave," she said, smiling. "I think my family and friends are proud of me. They know. how much time and training I've put into dancing since I was 4, so they think it's cool I've made it at a professional level."


When her Pistons schedule allows, Richards works gigs for 7 Stone Management, a modeling and entertainment business.


"Along with modeling, we'll attend certain events and dance," she said. "For instance, a couple months ago we danced at a prom."


Richards, 24, majored in entrepreneurship and minored in dance at CMU.


If you have a story idea for SocialHouseNews.com, please contact Ed Wright at 734-664-4657 or edwright@socialhousenews.com.












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