Dani seitz, Founder of LadyBallerz

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In a city like New York, it can be difficult to put yourself out there and meet new people. Dani Seitz, the founder of Lady Ballerzz, is trying to change that through her open community of women who ball. Lady Ballerzz helps the women of New York City step outside of their comfort zones and get to know others through learning the fundamentals of basketball. Read more about Dani and her community of ballers below.

Dani, can you share what motivated you to start Lady Ballerzz and how it has made a positive impact on your life?

I grew up playing sports but had to give them up when I began modeling. Traveling alone more and more for work created a void where I missed the community aspect sports brought me, especially basketball. I started attending Downtown Girls basketball a lot and loved it, but wanted to compliment what Aria McManus had already created with her Downtown Girls' basketball by adding a practice component. That’s how Lady Ballerzz was born! NY is like a whole new place for me, simply by having a community; I couldn’t be happier!

As the founder of Lady Ballerzz, how do you ensure the community remains diverse and authentic?

Lady Ballerzz honestly happened organically! Diversity is very important to me and to make sure that we we are able to have a diverse group of women I use Instagram as my platform. Most people are on it and it makes it easy for women to reach out as well as tag friends and pass it on to others who might be interested in joining. Another great way was teaming up with other female communities. Indoor Hoops, Ladies Who Hoop and Lady Ballerzz collaborated last September to organize a tournament with all different skill levels. We had such a blast and definitely had girls from the other communities come out to our practices vice versa. I love the idea of collaborating with other communities because at the end of the day we all want the same thing - more women’s ball!!!

In New York City, there are pockets of little communities everywhere. And although it is amazing to have so much diversity, we can often become stuck in our own little bubble. How do you think Lady Ballerzz is helping women step outside their comfort zone and expand their social network?

Bubbles.. this is one thing I really wanted to make sure to break out of. It’s so important to get out of your usual circles and meet new people! Of course it can also be uncomfortable so we really try to make sure girls feel welcomed and know it’s super fun and light-hearted. If a girl hasn’t played before we make sure to give them a lot of help and support. Coaching and instant feedback during a game can solidify the basic fundamentals and other players are patient while they learn. Once they score their first hoop, you know they are addicted because success and fun are shared with everyone there. It's like a group of supportive sisters.

How has playing basketball, for the most part a male-dominated sport, helped you with your own journey to self-confidence? And in what ways have you seen it help the Lady Ballerzz community?

I was so nervous to start because in America I feel like the sports vibe is: go hard or go home. In Canada (where I grew up at least), it was very much so about having fun, or maybe that’s just the approach I took haha.  I did play on school and select sport teams but didn’t always love the pressure. I loved the camaraderie and teamwork, but having coaches who pushed too much, was not always easy. I wanted to create the opposite of that. I think as I meet more males who understand what Lady Ballerzz is all about, they gain some respect for the fun aspect because a light-hearted approach to basketball is really missed in New York. This is why many people don’t play. It just gets too competitive and there are enough aspects of life where we always have to hustle and be are very best.

Lady Ballerzz started and continues to be a passion project for you. Why do you think it is important as young adults to continue to explore other interests outside of our day to day routines?

We let our work lives overcome us because that is what (most of us) feel we need to focus on for a successful life. If this is what we are doing a majority of our lives, where is the fun?  Getting out of our heads and letting loose, especially with the work out aspect, is an important aspect of life! We are adults but we still need to play like kids!

Dani, what can we expect from Lady Ballerzz in the future? Do you have plans to expand the community?

I have been jumping back and forth to Chicago a lot because my boyfriend lives there now, so I am really hoping to expand to Chicago. Keeping this community growing is important to me. I would also like to host Lady Ballerzz more than once per month, because my work is very sporadic it can quite hard to schedule dates. Gyms need to be booked ahead. I missed the last 2 practices because I had to work, which killed me! So, once I build a team that can help run the group with me, with the same philosophy, I promise there will be more opportunities! :)

Looking to join the Lady Ballerzz community? Get in touch with Dani on Instagram, @daniseitz, to learn how to join. And follow @ladyballerzz for updates and news on upcoming practices.

Interviewed by Renée