Sunday, October 21, 2018


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Martin Dancing for Sixers
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer

            Whenever Hayley Martin takes the floor at the Wells Fargo Center, she feels an adrenaline rush. According to Martin, the positive energy is palpable.  "It's such a great feeling," she said " Everyone in the stands is so excited."

            A 2016 graduate of Upper Perkiomen High School, Martin is currently in her first season with the Sixers Dancers. The unit performs during halftime and timeouts at every Philadelphia 76ers home game. The members also make personal appearances at various events throughout the Delaware Valley.

            "So far, it's been a great experience," said Martin, who turns 20 in January. "This is an amazing organization. Everyone has been so nice."

            Ashley Nuel, the Philadelphia 76ers Entertainment Teams manager and coach, described Martin as a great teammate and performer.  "Hayley has been a great addition to the Sixers Dancers this season. We feel lucky to have her," said Nuel, according to a statement provided am organizational spokesperson.

            Martin auditioned for the team at the suggestion of Juli Kell, her dance coach since 2008. Kell wasn't surprised her student made the cut.  "Hayley loves dance, and she has the passion, drive and talent for it," said Kell, the owner of Juli Kell's Dance Center, located at 145 Main Street in Pennsburg. "She is very talented."

            As one of the youngest performers at the audition, Martin was not expecting to make the team. "It was very tough," she said. I was very surprised. I did my best."

            According to Kell, the judges were likely drawn to Martin by her excellent stage presence and solid technique. The East Greenville resident has trained extensively in contemporary, jazz, tap, ballet and hip hop dance.

            Martin has never shied away from the spotlight, according to Kell. She said her student was always first in line to perform in events connected to the studio. "A lot of people who say they want to be a dancer don't follow through," Kell said. "Hayley is willing to go on auditions. She really puts herself out there.

            One of those auditions in 2016 earned Martin a spot on the Precious Metal Dance team, a group affiliated with the Lehigh Valley Steelhawks, a professional indoor football team based in Allentown. Currently, she is balancing her classes at deSales University, where she majoring in dance, with performing for the local NBA team.  "This experience will look great on Hayley's resume," Kell said. 

            Martin envisions a future in dancing, though she's not sure if she will end up as performer, teacher, choreographer, administrator or studio owner.

            Kell says Martin, who aspires to be a Rockette, has the drive and ability to become a professional dancer.





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