Q&A with Deanna Frick: Dancing her way toward a doctorate

Deanna Frick joined the Pacers Hype Crew during her first year at Butler. Photo by Riina Korri

SARAH HOHMAN | SPORTS EDITOR | shohman@butler.edu 

Dancing professionally is no easy job, and for sophomore Deanna Frick, it is not her only one. The health sciences major is not only pursuing a pre-med track, she is also on the Indiana Pacers Hype Crew. 

Frick grew up in the greater Milwaukee area where she danced for the Milwaukee Boys and Girls Club and began dancing for the Milwaukee Bucks her junior year of high school. Now in her second year dancing for the Pacers, Frick manages to balance an already-challenging workload with the demand of being center stage in Gainbridge. 

The Butler Collegian sat down with Frick to discuss her life as a dancer along with her future plans. 

THE BUTLER COLLEGIAN: How did you get into professional dancing at such a young age? 

DEANNA FRICK: My coach from the Boys and Girls Club ended up coaching for the Young Bucks, and then he just introduced it to me. I tried out my first year, and I didn’t make it. And then I did it again and I made it. And then I ended up making it to the older team, which is the 414 Crew after their year that they won the championship, so I did it my senior year [of high school]. 

TBC: What was the tryout process like to join an NBA dance team? 

DF: For the Bucks, it was really long. It was like a four-to-five-hour process — super long. We learned a routine in 30 minutes, and they were cutting people. We learned part of a routine, or half of a routine in 45 minutes. But for [the] Pacers, I think from the auditions to when we found out [who made it] was two and a half weeks. 

TBC: You’ve tried a lot of different styles of dance. How did you decide what you liked best and wanted to pursue on a professional level? 

DF: I feel like with ballet, all the assumptions were [that] it’s not very good for your mental health or like, physical health. I didn’t really enjoy it that much. I met really great people, but it wasn’t for me. I was really stiff at the end of the day, and I wanted to be more free with my movements. And I feel like the stories that came along with [hip hop], and the people that I met, these are how people get out of their bad situations is dance. I don’t do this for a living, I do this more for fun, but it’s a good release from school. 

TBC: When did you know you wanted to dance on a professional level? 

DF: Dancing for a program that had a lot of influence on me, I saw kids like me also doing NBA and professional, which is really, really cool. I wouldn’t expect someone to do that of my magnitude or their magnitude. Not saying they couldn’t, it’s just really difficult and you don’t expect kids to do that from an underprivileged program. So, I decided to try out for them. 

TBC: What is your favorite part about performing? 

DF: My favorite part of performing is being able to challenge myself and being able to be surrounded by a whole bunch of other people [who] also challenge me along the way as well. 

TBC: You are involved in many things including being a full-time college student, sorority life and dance. How do you balance a schedule like this? 

DF: I time-manage a lot. I don’t have a lot of downtime, but I try my best to make time for everything because I’m a social butterfly, but I also am an extroverted introvert. So I need to be inside and outside at the same time, but I think my downtime is literally just dancing, which might sound like a lot of work to some people, but it’s not a lot of work for me. I have a lot of people [who] also help me, which has helped me with meeting new people. I did it in high school, and I like stacking [my schedule] a lot, which kind of sounds crazy, but I like being busy. I don’t want to be sitting. 

TBC: What does your schedule look like on a weekly basis? 

DF: I’m currently taking 17 credits. I have two mandatory practices a week [for the Pacers] which are [on] Tuesdays and Thursdays. They’re from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m., but it’s a 35-minute drive away from here, and I like to be a little bit early as well. But granted on game weeks, it could be games [on] Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, so I don’t sleep, I don’t have a lot of time — but I’m a night owl. 

TBC: What’s your role at the hospital you work at in Milwaukee? 

DF: I actually work at the neuro ortho floor. I work the graveyard, which is the 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. [shift]. I worked with a lot of dementia patients and people that have brok[en] their hip or have gotten [into] accidents. It’s really cool because people are still people at the end of the day. I feel like I’ve learned a lot from them, I’ve gained a lot more patience from it and a lot more understanding about people. 

TBC: Is that something you want to do in the future? 

DF: I want to be a pediatric cardiologist when I’m older. I have a little brother that has a heart defect. He has a little hole in his heart. So it kind of influenced me into what I want to do. I love working with kids. 

TBC: Would you like to be able to incorporate dance into your future, even if it is a challenge? 

DF: I want to go to medical school. You don’t hear a lot of medical students [who are] NBA dancers or are able to manage it. I might be doing a gap year, so I might do it [then]. I’m hoping I can go back to the program that I was [with], the Boys and Girls Club. And once I’m hopefully [in] medical school, I [can] go back and be able to teach them or help volunteer during the summer and teach dance there as well. So, I still want to have dance in my future. I just don’t know if it’s completely going to be [with the] NBA.


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