Bits ‘n Pieces: Coach steps up for Volcanoes

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The Vancouver Volcanoes season begins in April. Learn more at the team's website.

The Vancouver Volcanoes season begins in April. Learn more at the team’s website.

Vancouver Volcanoes Dancers coach Desiree Goode isn’t a fan of limits.

Whether it’s pushing the team to excel during practice or encouraging her girls to seek out big opportunities, the former Portland Trail Blazers dancer believes in the transformative power of hard work.

“We want to be professional, we want to be elite,” Goode said.

Since helping to found the semi-professional dance team in 2007, which entertains audiences during Vancouver Volcanoes basketball games, Goode has seen around 40 proteges move on to higher-profile squads, including not only the BlazerDancers, but the Seattle Seahawk’s Sea Gals and the Portland Winterhawks Rosebuds.

She is incredibly proud.

“I get to see the growth with each dancer I work with,” said Goode, who lives in Camas. “This organization has been a stepping-stone.

“That’s what I love about what we do,” she said. “We take girls with potential that just need a chance and give them the tools and the fundamentals for them to build on to make them the best dancers they can be.”

She’s also seen the organization experience tremendous growth, as well.

When it first started, the dance team, typically made up of college-age women from around the Northwest, had little in the way of funding so they took to the court in homemade outfits.

Now they have uniforms and sponsorships from local organizations which provide the dancers with perks such as chiropractic care, hair stylings and spray tans to help them glow even when the sun isn’t shining that bright.

The Vancouver Volcanoes, part of the International Basketball League, will begin its 11th season next year.

The first round of auditions for the Volcanoes Dancers was held Saturday, and after a trial period, the final lineup should be set in late February before the season starts in April.

Goode said the dance team has an important role — to entertain the crowd at Volcanoes games and help inspire an energy to help the basketball players also excel. The dancers also serve as public faces of the basketball team, attending fundraisers, promotional events and hosting summer dance camps for kids in the community.

“We’re here to support the team,” Goode said. “These girls just want to dance. It’s not about being No. 1. It’s something they love.”

Goode knows from experience attending sporting events that don’t feature entertainment such as dancing that, for some fans, something is missing.

“Sometimes it gets boring,” she said. “We need someone shaking something, we need sparkles, we need entertainment.”

Goode is looking forward to another year of helping the dancers reach their potential and bond with each other, an experience she cherished when she was a dancer at sporting events before she retired to become a mother.

“When you get a lot of women together you get a lot of personalities and ways of doing things, but the common bond you have is the absolute passion for what you’re doing,” Goode said. “It bonds you for life.”

Bits ‘n’ Pieces appears Fridays and Saturdays. If you have a story you’d like to share, email bits@columbian.com