Q&A with Laker Girl Ani Rosen ‘19

Windward Communications

Can you describe your journey after graduating Windward in 2019?
When I graduated from Windward in 2019, I was filled with both gratitude for my time there and excitement for my next chapter at UCLA to begin. At UCLA, I studied Dance, Entrepreneurship, Film, Television, and Digital Media, and I was a four-year member and senior captain of the UCLA Dance Team. I cheered on the Bruins at football and men’s/women’s basketball games, and it was a dream of mine to dance for the NBA/NFL. I am now working for the Los Angeles Lakers, and I am beyond grateful for this opportunity to pursue my dreams of dancing at the professional level. 

How was the transition from the UCLA Dance team to becoming a member of the Laker Girls, and what has that experience been like for you?
As a member of the UCLA Dance Team, I learned so much that would ultimately set me up for a career in dance and beyond. My experience as a student-athlete pushed my ability to stay driven to achieve my goals both in and out of the classroom, and I learned critical skills including hard work, time management, teamwork, self-discipline, and leadership. I also learned the importance of representing a brand as large as UCLA, and it was these skill sets that helped me be successful as an NBA Dancer. It has been a dream come true dancing for the Lakers organization – and I even get to share this experience with my sister Sydney (Windward ‘16) who is also a Laker Girl! 

What inspired you to come back to Windward to coach our cheer team?
When I was a Windward student, there wasn’t a cheer/dance team, so I started the Windward Dance Crew as a Senior – an entirely student-run dance team which later evolved into the Windward Cheer Team. It has been incredible watching the program grow throughout the years, and I am thrilled to be a part of that growth as a new coach and give back to the school that helped me get to where I am today. As a Windward alum, I hope I can be a mentor for the students and inspire them to pursue their dreams. 

What advice would you give to a fellow alum pursuing a career in dance?
It is a big responsibility dancing professionally. My main piece of advice is to be a sponge – take in as much information as you can, learn about the history of your company, ask questions, stay organized, and continue to set and achieve new goals. It is important to be reliable and responsible as a professional dancer, so take lots of notes, practice on your own time outside of practice, and learn what it takes to be a good teammate and hard-worker. Finally, you have to believe in yourself. Growth is not linear, and it might take a few setbacks and some adversity before finding success. 

How did your Windward experience have an impact on you?
Windward prepared me immensely for the academic rigor of UCLA and I will forever thank the English department for teaching me how to write an essay. Beyond academics, I made connections that will last a lifetime. I will always be grateful for the Windward faculty – sharing their intelligence and providing me with an immeasurable amount of support while I was a student both academically and personally. It was teachers and mentors like Alesia Young and Julie Friedrich, specifically, who made my experience on the Windward Dance Company so incredible and helped pave the way for my dance career after Windward.