Marysa Carr will realize her own hoop dreams when she takes the court at the Staples Center in Los Angeles as a member of the famed Laker Girls dance squad.
She will literally be following in the footsteps — not to mention the high kicks and spins — of choreographer and former “American Idol” judge Paula Abdul and “Falling Skies” actress Moon Bloodgood, both former Laker Girls.
“I was so excited. It was like I was on a rollercoaster,” said Carr, 25, recalling the moment she learned she had made the 22-member team.
This was the second time Carr auditioned for the Laker Girls. She tried out last year, making it to the final round before being cut.
“I was really bummed for a while but I got over it and I decided to try again,” said the Kamehameha Schools and University of Hawaii graduate.
Her selection this year came after an intense audition process in mid-July involving two days of dance and two days of interviews, competing against about 500 other women at the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo, Calif.
“You’re just in awe because you’re in the Lakers practice gym and you look around and there are just so many girls and they all look amazing, so it’s definitely a lot of pressure,” she said.
Carr, who graduated from UH in 2013 with a degree in marketing and management, is now busy rehearsing with the team and looking for additional employment. Laker Girls are paid per appearance — 41 regular season home games, as well as preseason and postseason games, if the Lakers advance to the playoffs, and other public events.
Carr was captain of the dance teams at UH and Kamehameha and danced with Kaneohe-based 24-7 Danceforce. Her training at UH came in handy for the auditions, but she knows she’ll have to take it to a different level for the Laker Girls, considered one of the elite squads in sports entertainment.
“I think our style at UH was a little bit more contemporary, and the style of the Laker Girls is a little bit more sharp with their movements,” she said.
She’s looking forward to the Lakers’ upcoming season, hoping to watch an injury-free Kobe Bryant lead a young team, and is throwing herself into learning the Laker Girls’ routines.
“We’re just working really hard,” she said. “I didn’t realize how hard the Laker Girls work to perfect their craft.”