What she does: Marilu Harman makes a living by getting Houston to dance, whether in the Houston Press parking lot on National Dance Day or out on the sidelines. Harman is the coach of the Dynamo Girls, where she choreographs and drills routines.
How she got here: Harman began her dance career at Texas A&M, where she founded a dance team that performed at Aggie basketball games. She had a stint with the Dallas Mavericks and then moved to Houston, intending to go to grad school. But happy feet called, and she was recruited by the Houston Rockets to revamp their dance team. "They wanted to change it from being more than a cheering squad," Harman says. "They wanted to raise it to the bar of LA and New York." Harman refueled the Rockets for ten years, and then the WNBA was incorporated. She was hired to create a dance team for the brand-new Houston Comets, so she formed a hip hop-based co-ed squad. "It was an America's Best Dance Crew before its time," she says. And then in 2006, the Dynamo rang. "They called me up and said, 'What do you think? Do you think a dance team would go over well with soccer?' I said, 'In Texas, you could have a dance team for golf. As long as they have cute outfits and can really dance!'"
What inspires her: Harman is like a heat-seeking missile for wannabe dancers. "I get my joy from inspiring other people that they can do this," she says. "Getting out there and encouraging other people to dance feeds my soul." It's what led her to audition for MTV's MADE as the dance teacher for Leighann, a tomboy who wanted to join her school's drill team. Harman landed the gig -- and although Leighann didn't make the team, she's still dancing. Harman keeps in touch with her via text. "She never imagined she could ever be a dancer," Harman said.
Her proudest moment: Harman holds auditions on a regular basis, where she meets a lot of aspiring dancers. Sometimes out of nowhere, one will stop her on the street and tell Harman she inspired her to dance. "They're people you meet for one day," Harman says. "The results of that one day and one connection was that they pursued their passion. It almost makes everything worth it."
What's next: Whatever project the dance world throws at her next, Harman's ready for it with a high kick and a smile. But secretly, she misses performing. "The girls keep bugging me to jump out there and dance with them," she says, laughing. "One day I might do it. Camouflaged, no one will know."
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