In 2008, Karissa Peterson went to her first Clippers game at STAPLES Center, where she performed before the game with the Saugus dance team.
Little did she know, she’d be taking that floor countless more times within the next six years as part of Clippers Spirit.
Peterson loved being a part of her high school dance team, so much so that the thought of dancing professionally was on her mind. She attended an open call audition in 2012 and made the team.
She was able to fulfill her desire to dance and forged important friendships that still stand strong today.
“It is really something special to be involved in something bigger than yourself, with an empowering group of individuals all working towards a common goal,” Peterson said via email. “I keep coming back to be inspired and pushed by those around me. It truly is such a unique job to be a part of.”
Rehearsals, appearances and games take up most of Peterson’s agenda during the week. The team rehearses two or three times each week, then has anywhere from one to three games to perform at per week.
Dancers will make appearances at events before games or on their “off” days and spend plenty of time working out in their spare time.
Peterson also finds time to give back to her alma mater as a coach for the Saugus dance team alongside fellow professional dancer Kara Hess.
“I love that I get to take all my knowledge gained since graduating, dancing professionally with the Clippers, and give back to where my passion for dance was first ignited,” Peterson said. “It was with the Saugus dance team that I decided I wanted to continue to pursue dancing after graduating, so it really has come full circle.”
Working with the team has helped Peterson achieve her ultimate objective when it comes to dance: inspiring and motivating others to be their best by working her hardest to be the best dancer and person she can be.
“The entertainment industry is such a roller coaster, you truly just need to stay committed, stay inspired and believe in yourself,” Peterson said of the advice she’d give aspiring dancers. “It’s all about always remembering why you love it and why you started. I’d say continue to work hard and never stop until you reach your goals.”