Stephanie Mincone was born a dancer. As a toddler, she never stopped moving about in her Syosset home when music was on. Growing up, she studied at Nancy’s Dance Factory in Levittown as well as World Class Performance Center in Plainview. Today, Mincone can be found center court at Madison Square Garden as a new member of the Knicks City Dancers.
“The Garden energy is unmatched, especially with the 360-degree view of fans screaming for you,” says Mincone, 26. “The routines we get to do are really special and challenging to perform with a tight knit group of girls that are constantly inspiring each other to be better. We’ve created a real sisterhood and support system for each other.”
On opening night, Oct. 25 when the Knicks played the Boston Celtics, Mincone made her debut. The Knicks City Dancers performed a mash-up of Beyoncé’s “Cozy,” Miley Cyrus’ “Flowers” and Victoria Monét’s “On My Mama” in motocross-style outfits. Their second performance was Barbie-themed in pink blazers and skirts to the sounds of Nicki Minaj’s “Barbie World.”
“It was so fun. I was trying to imagine it in order to prepare myself,” says Mincone. “But, taking the first steps onto the court, I think I blacked out for a second from excitement.”
Mincone had her parents, Salvatore and Donna, her grandmother whom she calls “Mimma,” her boyfriend, Zeus, and a group of friends cheering her on.
“I managed to find them in the audience as we exited for the first performance,” says Mincone, who grew up going to Syosset staples like Ralph’s Italian Ices, Bagel Master and Arata Sushi. “They were all standing up and screaming. It made me tear up.”
Mincone first submitted a reel of her dancing and then was selected to perform an in-person audition. After going through a three-day tryout process, she was chosen from hundreds in July to be part of a team of nine that makes up the Knicks City Dancers.
“You can’t take your eyes off of her. She is super energetic and engaging to watch. It’s clear that she has a lot of experience with the camera and working in teams,” says Alyssa Quezada, manager of event presentation and performance teams for the NY Knicks. “Off the court, she’s the sweetest person who hugs everybody in the room.”
Surprisingly, this was not Mincone’s first time at the Garden — danced as a Knicks City Kid when she was 11 for a season.
“Back at that age, I was fearless. I think I still am, but it was a different level back then,” says Mincone. “It’s been cool to have the perspective once as an 11-year-old and now as a 26-year-old.”
Since that time, Mincone has developed a strong professional resume performing on tour with Derek and Julianne Hough, Sia and even Taylor Swift.
“Taylor’s ‘Reputation Stadium Tour’ in 2018 was a crazy time of my life. I got to travel and experience the world. Performing in front of that amount of people was immeasurable,” recalls Mincone. “Taylor’s awesome, just a boss who is business-oriented but also passionate, intelligent and inspiring as well as kind and generous. Every night stepping on that stage was a shock. You never get used to it. It felt like a dream.”