Sacramento Kings

First, the Kings changed their dance team to a coed group. Now they’re making moves

Here’s what new Kings dance choreographers are looking for in coed team

Sacramento Kings 916 Crew studio choreographers talk about the plans for their new dance team on Tuesday, June 4, 2019 at the Golden 1 Center. The team is billed as a "gender inclusive hip-hop" group.
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Sacramento Kings 916 Crew studio choreographers talk about the plans for their new dance team on Tuesday, June 4, 2019 at the Golden 1 Center. The team is billed as a "gender inclusive hip-hop" group.

The Kings took steps toward gender equality with their entertainment last month when they announced the Sacramento Kings Dancers, long a female-only group performing at games, would become a coed dance team called the 916 Crew.

Now they’ve announced their partners in the transition to the 916 Crew, a group of men and women which will put on routines with a heavy emphasis on hip hop.

The Kings will step into their future with three area studios – Dance Elite All Stars, HYPE Dance Studio and KAST Academy of the Arts – to choreograph routines.

“We’re thrilled to have the region’s most creative minds and talented dancers create one-of-a-kind performances for 916 Crew,” John Rinehart, the Kings’ president of business operations, said in a statement Tuesday morning. “All three studios bring with them decades of experience as dancers and choreographers, and their unique expertise and distinct styles will create many wow moments throughout the season for our fans.”

The owners of the studios are former Kings dancers who look forward to working with the team again.

“As a former Sacramento Kings Dancer, I’m proud to help build a more inclusive dance crew,” said Faith Knappenberger, owner of Dance Elite All Stars in Rocklin. “Diversity is a huge part of what makes Sacramento unique and I’m eager to create entertainment that reflects that.”

Sarah Schneeweis, owner of HYPE Dance Studio in Chico, is also happy with the change, as well as being able to work with the team again.

“I had the great pleasure of choreographing the Sacramento Kings Dancers for 15 years and this trend toward coed dance teams is exciting,” she said. “I am thrilled to partner with the Sacramento Kings to bring this crew to life.”

The Kings last month said they’re aiming for the group to be a “50-50 split” after more than 30 years of going with all women, but some of the team’s previous dancers expressed their frustration with how the change happened.

Sacramento isn’t the only NBA team making the transition this offseason. The Dallas Mavericks will employ a new entertainment team and the Cleveland Cavaliers are making the change from the Cavalier Girls to the Cavs PowerHouse Dance Team. According to the Kings, the San Antonio Spurs, Toronto Raptors and Washington Wizards made similar changes last year.

Another former Kings dancer and her husband, Summer and Keith Turk, own KAST Academy of the Arts in Elk Grove. They’re excited to work with 916 Crew.

“Coed dance teams give us more options in our choreography and bring more mass appeal to our performances,” they said in a joint statement. “We can’t wait to hit the court and put on an incredible show for Kings fans.”

A free class led by the three studios tips off June 18, with auditions coming at the end of the month. For more information, visit Kings.com/entertainment.

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Noel Harris is a sports reporter for The Sacramento Bee, with a focus on the Kings. He’s been in professional journalism for more than 18 years. His roles have included sports editor at The Modesto Bee and news editor at two smaller California newspapers, as well as online producer and copy editor.

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