By John Collins
DRACUT -- Dancing with skill and passion had vaulted lifelong Dracut resident and UMass Lowell senior Nichole Cincotta, 21, far beyond her hometown's borders, even before she retook her hard-earned spot last month as a member of the 2013-14 Boston Celtics Dancers for her second straight season.
In 2005 as chronicled by The Sun, Nichole's proud parents, David and Michelle, permitted their then-13-year-old daughter to travel with six teammates from the Lisa Pilato Dance Center to Germany to represent the U.S. in a world championship competition.
These days, there are the adrenaline highs from dancing for at least 30 games per season on the TD Garden parquet before thousands of wildly receptive Celtics fans; there was a star-treatment visit to Newport, Rhode Island to shoot her glamorous "Miss July" page for the 2013 Celtics Dancers Calendar; and coming in September, Nichole will fly to Italy as one of only six Celtics Dancers invited to represent the squad on the team's pre-season trip.
But of all the unusual places that dancing has and will take Nichole, there was one embarrassing "trip" in particular which she wishes she had not taken, as the Celtics dancer with the starry nickname explains in our 10 questions.
Q: You're the pride of Dracut. Did you dare dream this when you were younger?
A: I'd actually thought about going to (college) for dance, but then felt like it'd be too hard to make a career out of it. So I just kept dancing on the side, and I was looking into other dance auditions for other jobs, and everything is usually out of New York. I really liked this (Celtics tryout) because it was held in Boston, and it's my favorite basketball team.
When I first had the opportunity to try out for the Celtics (in June 2012), I just took it, even though I really didn't think I was going to make it.
Q: Do you remember the moment you found out you made the team?
A: I'll never forget it, or my expression. You can see it on the video of the (2012) auditions. There were 30 of us left and (the judges) were deliberating on picking the final team of 18 dancers for about 90 minutes while we all sat down, nervously waiting. We lined up, one through 30, and I was number 25 in the back, and wasn't expecting it.
My mouth drops when they call my number because there were so many great girls there. Then my dad started calling everybody like I just got elected president.
Q: Is green really your favorite color?
A: Well, it has to be now, doesn't it. Green and yellow.
Q: You have a nickname on the team?
A: My only nickname is Selena because everyone thinks I look like Selena Gomez.
Q: Any funny unusual incidents happen to you during a Celtics game?
A: We do an opening number just after they've introduced the players, while the refs are on the floor, kind of stretching out there. We do a (dance) section where we cross lines, then cross back, and as I was crossing back there was a referee bent down behind me -- but I couldn't see him. So I tripped over him, and rolled on the floor. He didn't say anything to me, and I didn't say anything, I just got right back up and continued dancing to get as far away from (the fall) as possible.
Q: Can a dancer eat whatever she wants?
A: Usually you can when you're really young, up until a certain point when your body starts changing. I used to eat candy with every meal, and now I can't do that, obviously.
Q: Your guiltiest non-healthy food pleasure is?
A: Chocolate ice cream.
Q: Seems you don't have much of it, but what do you like to do in your free time?
A: Camping, rock climbing, skiing, whitewater rafting. I like outdoor activities, and I love being active.
Q: You're on the dean's list at UMass-Lowell, studying criminal justice. Any specific career plans?
A: Not right at this moment. I just feel like my Celtics work schedule is so unusual -- for games, we have to be there three hours early -- that to do something in my career field I'd have to have a really lenient boss. I've said that in 10 years I see myself being a lawyer, happily married, and still dancing.
Q: How long do you want to be a Celtics dancer?
A: For as many as they'll have me. I get to do what I love for my favorite basketball team. It really doesn't get much better than that.