Athletics News
Former FAU Dancer Enjoys Being a Member of the HEAT Dance Team
Allen danced for FAU and is now a Miami HEAT dancer.

Allen danced for FAU and is now a Miami HEAT dancer.

April 3, 2009

- Ashley Allen, a Florida Atlantic University junior communication major, was invited into an exclusive club. For a young gypsy of sorts, it was the opportunity of a lifetime and the culmination of years of work and dedication.

Much like all athletes, Allen began training at an early age. She often moved, living in 16 different houses, until she settled in Boca Raton. She used dance and gymnastics as the common element at each new school or community.

The Spanish River High School graduate longed for stability when selecting a college. She knew the Boca Raton area and liked the idea of staying put, the FAU campus and the familiarity of the area.

Upon entering FAU her next stop was to try out for the FAU Dance team under the direction of Dyanne Loput. Allen made he team as a freshman and was an integral part of a team that has done tremendous outreach to the Boca Raton community and has brought awareness to the University and athletic community.

Two years later Allen aspired for more. She had enjoyed the FAU dance team and the family atmosphere it offered but, like most athletes she was looking for more and elected to tryout for the Miami HEAT Dance team.

"I have always loved to watch the HEAT dancers," said Allen. "I loved the dynamics of the HEAT. I loved the style. I just looked at it as the next step after being on a collegiate team. I figured why not try now instead of later."

Allen did try and was selected to the squad. that has no guarantees from season to season requiring a tryout each season. She made the squad and could not have anticipated the work the next three months would entail. There is practice everyday and if they are not practicing or performing at a game they are at a promotional event which is anywhere between one and four appearances a week.

While working fulltime as a Heat dancer and taking 13 hours a semester as a fulltime FAU student Allen has learned the art of allocating time and moved home to help with the financial aspect of fulfilling a dream.

"We work very hard as a HEAT dancer and the team is a group of really intelligent women who are attending law school, working in public relations or who have already obtained their master's degree. For me, the environment is great and it gives me an opportunity to network and build relationships with people working in television, which is where I want to be. I have met people with Heat TV, Sun Sports, PR firms and now I can also include Sports Illustrated."

As a rookie, Allen has become used to representing the team at various events and attending practice in full uniform and makeup. So when asked to bring in swimsuit photos and attend practice in full game attire she thought nothing of it. It was at that practice that she was told that a Miami Heat dancer had been one of 10 NBA dancers to have photos in Sports Illustrated. It was not until she arrived in New York, coincidentally a city she had once called home, for the photo shoot that she discovered that not only was she one of 10 selected she was the only rookie. Allen also discovered the photos would be for the swimsuit edition, the highest selling magazine of the year for SI.

The issue hit the stands in early March and while the trip to New York and the photo shoot was outstanding it is being on the court for a HEAT game that thrills Allen.

"The first time I was on the court for a game has probably been my best Heat experience, to date," Allen added. "You feel the arena, American Airlines Arena. Everyone is excited. It's a new year and you are looking forward to a new year, and for the Heat to have a great year. It is experiencing the Heat game on the court."

Note: FAU also currently has another former student-athlete with a professional team. Amy Madill, a '08 FAU graduate, is a member of the Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders.