Following your dreams isn’t just an idea for BlazerDancer Cristi, to her it’s a mantra. An eternally optimistic spirit, she strives to be a role model for youth and to teach the importance of pushing yourself to do what you’re passionate about. For Cristi, that’s bringing excitement and joy to the jam-packed Rose Garden crowd with every swing of her hips during Trail Blazers games.
Cristi didn’t have a traditional dance upbringing like BlazerDancer Kelly. She didn’t find her passion for dance until her sophomore year at Tigard High School when she became a ‘Tigerette.” Similar to many passions in life, you’re not sure what it is until you happen upon it and since Cristi found dance she hasn’t stopped moving.
“I had friends on the team and I saw them do a dance at a basketball game and I thought ‘I want to do that!’”
Motivation is a driving force in Cristi’s life and when she set her sights on becoming a Tigerette there was nothing to stop her. Sleepovers with friends took the shape of attic dance clinics and one-on-one tutorials. Three years later she was ready to take her love of dance on to college and a bigger stage.
Cristi continued her dance journey as a member of the University of Oregon Dance Team. With her skills still raw, Cristi spent four years and countless hours working with coaches and fellow teammates to hone her technique. During her years as a Duck Cristi created vision boards filled with pictures of her goals as motivation. Among them was a board filled with dancers from professional sports teams.
Still living in Eugene after college, Cristi made the drive up to Portland to audition for the BlazerDancers. After two weeks of the grueling audition process Cristi danced her way to a place on team and achieved one of her dreams. And in the world of the Portland Trial Blazers her timing was excellent.
“My first year was the year they made it back to playoffs, the hype got started back up so it was really exciting,” Cristi said of the excitement of her rookie season. “Everything was like Disneyland to me, every single game.”
As an ambassador for the NBA in her second season, Cristi travelled to Hong Kong and Taiwan to promote the NBA on the continent, representing the organization with five other BlazerDancers. As if that experience couldn’t be topped, she was the face of the Ford Lifestream blog last season and shared behind-the-scenes details on being a BlazerDancer with fans.
As Cristi enters her fourth season she looks forward to another year of being a role model for Portland area youth. She likes to use the words of Will Smith when she describes how she wants kids to think of her.
“I don’t want to be who someone else wants to be, I want to represent an idea,” said Cristi. “If you keep your eye on where you want to be you can get there, it doesn’t matter where you started.”
As an ambassador to the community and an entertainer during games she’s an example to us all. There’s no dream you can’t achieve when you’re motivated and compelled to put in the work.