When Colts cheerleader Brittany H. was growing up in Fort Wayne, Indiana, her parents tried to get her into sports.
"I remember crying when my dad signed me up for basketball. I didn't want to play it. And I think it certainly wasn't my thing," she says.
She had already taken her first tap and ballet class – and decided that dance was her thing.
"I think it was one of those things where your parents want to put you in everything and see what sticks. And dance is what stuck for me. You know you love something when the hours pass and you don't even notice it. It's just how I feel most alive."
Early on, she got her first taste of performing at a sporting event.
"My teacher at the Fort Wayne School of Ballet danced for the Fort Wayne Fury at the time, which was a D-league basketball team in Fort Wayne. And she let me dress up, do all the hair and makeup and put on a little outfit and go down on the court with her. I still have a photo of me down on the court with my dance teacher and I just remember it being the most exciting thing ever."
It launched a dream that for Brittany never died.
"I kept pursuing dance, did it all throughout high school. I danced for a company in college at Indiana, two dance teams, and then minored in modern dance choreography and performance," she says.
After graduating from IU, she went down to Florida to get her masters degree in marketing at the University of Tampa. Even while she was doing that, she danced and performed with a company called VYB.
When she was about to become an aunt, Brittany decided it was time to come home to Indiana.
"I knew I wanted to continue my dance career, so at that point, I tried out for the Pacers – like two weeks after I moved back. So, I danced for them for two years and in that time, I came to a Colts game and saw the cheerleaders on the field and just said, 'Wow. What an awesome experience and I really want to be a part of that."
Now in her second season with the Colts Cheerleaders, it gives her an opportunity to do what she loves. But Brittany sees a bigger purpose in being a cheerleader.
Highlights from Brittany's 2017 Colts Cheerleaders Swimsuit Calendar Shoot. (Michigan City, IN)
"We create joy and we create a positive experience for those around us and we take it very seriously," she says.
From working with the junior cheerleaders to visiting with a woman in hospice, it's been a multitude of different experiences and emotions.
"But they all kind of have the same thing in common and that's to spread joy and love in our Indianapolis community and even internationally – going to London, going to Hong Kong. That's what I consider my job to be and what a cool job it is."
Now, her life's mission is to open that same opportunity to other girls. Her teammate, Jessica R., had the same goal. So they started a business, ProMotion Dance.
"I think for both her and I, we want dance to be a part of our life forever. And we also have had an incredible experience dancing for both the NBA and the NFL in terms of what it's brought to our lives."
And she wants to use that experience to touch as many lives as possible.