As a Buffalo Bandette, I’ve danced at the KeyBank Center countless times, but this time was different.
I walked into an arena with no lacrosse players, no turf and more lights than I’ve ever seen in my entire life.
And the experience was one I will never forget: dancing on stage with New Kids on the Block.
I don’t think anything I do from this moment forward will top that feeling.
It all started just a week before the show, when my coach texted our group chat, asking if any of us 12 girls were available on June 21.
Without telling us why.
Instead, she sent an ambiguous message: “If you can be available, you’ll want to be, and if you aren’t, you’ll want to make yourself available.”
We all started gossiping separately, wondering what the message could mean. We were all clueless.
Days later, we received another message that read, “We were asked to dance with New Kids on the Block at their concert on Friday!”
I couldn’t believe what I read. I already knew, in that moment, any obligation I had on that Friday night no longer mattered. There was no way I was going to miss an opportunity to be a back-up dancer.
My other boss scheduled me to serve on the night of the show, but I told my manager I wouldn’t be there, and if they kept me on the schedule that Friday, I’d be calling in. He understood
Being a back-up dancer was something I had always dreamed of. And this summer, that dream came true when I shared the stage with NKOTB.
I danced in front of thousands of ‘80s babies falling head over heels for Donnie Wahlberg. I couldn’t have smiled bigger if I tried.
The “Mixtape Tour” also featured Salt N’ Pepa, Debbie Gibson, Tiffany and Naughty by Nature –– even though I would have rather danced with Salt N’ Pepa during “Push It,” New Kids on the Block was just fine. NKOTB asked cheer and dance teams from each city they performed in to join them during “Boys in the Band.” We danced on stage for the entire song and during an ‘80s medley of songs like “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” and “Pour Some Sugar On Me.”
The group chose the Bandettes because –– with the Buffalo Jills gone –– we are the only professional dance team in Buffalo.
Once we officially got the job, we had to keep our gig a secret until after the performance. The rest of my team and I found time in our hectic schedules last minute to practice the routine.
When we got to the arena, we ran through the routine twice on stage and then got to watch the show in a suite until we were called down for our performance. And finally, the moment came.
Once we got down to the stage, we all lined up and ran out. It felt like two seconds went by before we were running off stage. The performance of our lives was over, just like that. The moment went by way too quickly, but was still the best, most surreal moment of my life.
It still doesn’t seem real. For the rest of the night I was on such a high.
And now, I have a new fun fact for life.
Because yes, I have two golden retrievers, was once a magician’s assistant and have traveled to Thailand, but I also danced on stage with New Kids on the Block.
And nothing will top that.
Brittany Gorny is the senior news editor and can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter @BrittanyGorny.
Brittany Gorny is the senior news editor.