SACRAMENTO — The Sacramento Kings Dancers have greeted and entertained fans for more than 30 years.
“We as a team poured everything into this and we absolutely loved what we did,” dancer Morgan said.
Hopes and dreams faded after the Kings announced last Friday that they will be switching from the traditional dance team to a co-ed hip hop group.
The decision left some of the women on the team disappointed and upset.
“It was a shock when we found out, especially since we found out because they accidentally posted it on the website the night before we were scheduled to have a conference call,” Morgan said.
The Kings issued a statement on how accidental early release of the announcement:
We deeply regret that a test of the announcement was posted online in advance of our scheduled call with members of the dance team. We apologize, thank them for their dedication and service, and hope that they will try out next month.
“To get rid of it in this way is just hard, there are many different ways they could have gone about this,” dancer Angelica Steed said.
“We deeply regret that a test of the announcement was posted online in advance of our scheduled call with members of the dance team,” the Kings wrote in a statement. “We apologize, thank them for their dedication and service, and hope that they will try out next month.”
The new team, the 916 Crew, will feature men and women, and they will focus on hip-hop routines.
The Kings organization says it wants more inclusivity.
As entertainment around the league and dance styles evolve, we took this opportunity to create an inclusive dance crew and look forward to next season. Our goal with this announcement is to have a team with equal representation. …
At the Kings we are focused on creating an inclusive environment for all and are excited about broadening our reach by evolving all our entertainment teams to be gender inclusive.
“Adding men was never anything that we were against,” Steed said. “We actually thought that that’s what the future was going to hold for us.”
Other NBA teams like the San Antonio Spurs, Dallas Mavericks and Cleveland Cavaliers are making similar changes.
“At the Kings we are focused on creating an inclusive environment for all and are excited about broadening our reach by evolving all our entertainment teams to be gender inclusive,” a Kings spokeswoman said.
“I guess everyone has to evolve and change,” former dancer Faith Kappenberger said. “I’m sure they want to stay on top of their game and go with the changing times.”
But for some of the dancers, the loss goes beyond the Kings. Some moved to Sacramento just for the opportunity. Others saw the part-time job as a career move, one that could open other doors in the dance and entertainment industries.
All of them took pride in the Kings, cheering along with fans for the hometown team.
“You train your whole life for this. This is your dream since you were a little girl. To finally get to this level and to experience it, it’s amazing” Morgan said. “And to have it ripped out from underneath you so quickly is just … it’s life-altering.”