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Beats, rhymes, tykes: Nets youth dancers are stars at Barclays Center

Brooklyn Daily

The young talent at the Barclays Center has won the borough’s support thanks to theatrics on the hardwood — and the most amazing thing about this new crop of stars is that they’re all under the age of 14.

Sure, the Brooklyn Nets are impressing hoops fans with their solid play, but many spectators say the stadium’s biggest standouts are the members of the Brooklyn Nets Kids dance team.

The young troupe, made up of dancers between the ages of 7 and 13 years old, have emerged as perhaps the best — and certainly the most adorable — attraction at the arena as other sideline entertainment offerings have taken flak from critics.

Team representatives say it’s no surprise the tykes are fan favorites, and that the squad only got better after its move from New Jersey and a huge audition that brought 400 adolescent dancers to Long Island University this summer.

“There are such talented kids here in New York,” said Kimberlee Garris, the director of entertainment marketing for the Nets. “They’re just a stronger level of choreography and talent.”

Despite the low ages of the nine boys and eight girls who make up the squad, Garris said the company’s operations are nothing less than professional.

The kids, who hail from all around the metro area, practice once a week in Brooklyn or Manhattan, and receive a stipend for their participation.

They perform during timeouts about twice a game, breaking out three songs when the Nets are at home including a dance to kid rap tune “Hot Cheetos and Takis,” a crowd favorite.

And they even have their own locker room.

Coach Tanisha Scott — a Flatbush-based choreographer who has worked with mega-stars including Rihanna, Sean Paul, and Mariah Carey — says the kids hold their own against grown-up dancers.

“They dance better than adults in the sense that they have this idea of no holds barred; if you tell them to do something they will do it and go beyond it,” she said.

The kids say they’re having a blast.

“I like showing people how I dance, and I like supporting the team,” said Flatbush 12-year-old Jahi Nimmons, an IS 62 student who was so excited when he found out he made the team that he died his hair in the Nets colors — black and white.

And they’re not the only ones who are excited.

Fans and pundits alike are digging the Brooklyn Nets Kids, a troupe that has earned praise unlike other components in the Nets’s entertainment package including the awkwardly spelled mascot “BrooklyKnight” (whose name sounds like an adult film star), the not-so-fashionable Brooklynettes dance team (whose getups took heat earlier this year), and musical acts such as Slick Rick (who got booed during an air ball of a half-time show).

“Brooklyn Nets Kids Dance Team [is greater than] Brooklynettes,” wrote a fan on Twitter.

Reach reporter Eli Rosenberg at erosenberg@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2531. And follow him at twitter.com/emrosenberg.

Updated 6:47 pm, December 5, 2012: Story corrected to clarify the fact that Nets mascot BrooklyKnight spells his name differently than an adult film star with a similar moniker.
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