Silver Star alum shines as Clutch City Dancer


Photo submitted by Kaitlyn Gonzalez/Photo by Logan Riely

Former Silver Star Kaitlyn Gonzalez (second from right) dances with her teammates at the Houston Rockets vs Los Angeles Clippers game earlier this season.

Kaitlyn Sitton, Design Editor

Kaitlyn Gonzalez endured a grueling tryout process just to see what would happen. As she continued through the rounds she realized she might actually have a chance at making an NBA dance team.

Clutch City Dancer Kaitlyn Gonzalez struts down the court during a break in action between the Rockets vs Bucks game. The former Silver Star is going to school full-time and dancing for the Rockets. (Photo submitted by Kaitlyn Gonzalez/Photo by Logan Riely)

Finally, when the final round came to an end, Gonzalez was brought to tears as she found out she was going to be a Clutch City Dancer for the Houston Rockets. 

“I started bawling,” Gonzalez said. “I literally could not believe it.”

Becoming a Clutch City Dancer wasn’t always the plan for Gonzalez, who was a three-year member of the Silver Stars during high school. She originally wanted to try out for the Pom Squad at Texas Tech but nothing seemed to go as planned. 

The audition dates at Texas Tech were the same day as her senior prom. In addition, she wasn’t able to apply for as many scholarships as she’d hoped she would. 

“I feel like that [was] just a sign that that’s not the route [I was] supposed to take,” Gonzalez said. 

As Gonzalez took her senior pictures in May, her photographer asked what she thought about trying out for the Rockets dance team. This question was what changed everything.

“That didn’t even cross my mind,” Gonzalez said.

By August 2022, Gonzalez found herself surrounded by more than 100 other hopeful dancers. On the first day, she made it through two rounds of learning different styles of choreography. She then endured three days of boot camp where the tryout group worked out for hours, weeding out those who couldn’t handle the pressure. 

Gonzalez handled the pressure with ease and ended up being one of the 14 women to make the team.

“It was insane,” Gonzalez said, “it literally feels like a dream.” 

Pullquote Photo

I put in the extra hard work and time and effort because I love it and it fuels my soul.

— Kaitlyn Gonzalez, Clutch City Dancer

Through the audition process, Gonzalez was paired with Melissa Compain, who has been a Clutch City Dancer for five years. When it was announced that Gonzalez made the team, Compain was so excited to see what she’d become.

“I was standing right by her and cried more for her than I cried for myself,” Compian said. “I was so proud of her for making it after seeing her growth throughout the entire audition journey.”

When Gonzalez is not dancing, she is a full-time student at Lone Star College studying Marketing. As a Clutch City Dancer, you are required to either be a full time student or have a full time profession. Being on the team can not be your full-time job.  

“We literally have like a space engineer on the team, a teacher and literally everyone on my team has a different occupation,” Gonzalez said. 

The team practices twice a week and performs at every Rockets home game. On a typical game day, Gonzalez tries to relax in the morning to save her energy for the game that night. Gonzalez then goes to the Toyota Center for court practice to make sure all their dances are game day ready. 

“I put in the extra hard work and time and effort because I love it and it fuels my soul,” Gonzalez said.

Out of all the exciting things that happen on game day, Gonzales most enjoys getting ready with her team. She is always excited to hear about how everyone is doing and what is going on in their lives before they step out on the court.

“I feel like those are definitely the moments that bond us together,” Gonzalez said.

When Gonzalez does step out on the court, she often has supporters there just to watch her. 

“Watching someone that I looked up to so much dance on the court at an NBA game was so inspiring,” sophomore Silver Star Emma Frazier said. ”She shined so bright and truly brought the spirit to an NBA game.”

Gonzalez said the pressure and spotlight has definitely increased since her high school dance team experiences. 

After Gonzalez learned a routine earlier this year, the Clutch City coach saw how good she was doing and placed her in the front. This was nerve wracking for Gonzalez as she started to struggle with the team behind her. 

After the practice, her coach pulled her aside to talk. She told Gonzalez how good of a dancer she is and why she got picked for the team. She also told Gonzalez she needed to believe in herself the way she believed in her.

“After that, everything changed.” Gonzalez said, “And from then on, I’ve been a totally different dancer and person. It’s changed my whole perspective on everything.” 

Even though Gonzalez has already made a professional dance team, her dreams go beyond the court. She hopes to one day move to Los Angeles and become a professional backup dancer.

“I would want to do it because I love it.” Gonzalez said, “and it’s always been a dream of mine since I was little.”

Even though Gonzalez has been a part of the Clutch City dancers for around six months now, it is still a shock every time she steps onto the court to perform. It seems unreal to Gonzalez that something she has always hoped to become is what she is actually doing now.

“I think even still to this day,” Gonzalez said, “I’ll walk into the Toyota Center like, oh my gosh, this is real.”