University of Washington

The Pondexter rule: Ballet, yes; tutu, no

Quincy Pondexter wants to make one thing clear. He won't be wearing a tutu.

This much the Washington Huskies senior guard knows.

Tights? Yes.

Tutu? No.

So no matter what his teammates’ or any else’s preconceived notions are about ballet, the people that participate in it and the attire they wear, he won’t be wearing a tutu when he performs in the Pacific Northwest Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” on Dec. 23 at McCaw Hall at the Seattle Center – a day after the Huskies host Texas A&M.

Of course, that hasn’t stopped his teammates or the UW training staff from suggesting things.

“Some of the trainers photoshopped some pictures of me in a tutu,” Pondexter said with a chuckle. “It’s not going be that type of ballet. It’s going to be a bit more masculine.”

Of course, Pondexter only knows that because he did some research about “The Nutcracker” after agreeing to participate.

“I’ve YouTubed it a lot in the last week,” he said. “I never had a chance to see it before. I’ve been ... trying to get some kind of feel for it before I go out there and embarrass myself.”

Some of his teammates think embarrassment will be an inevitability, since Pondexter isn’t known for his normal dance moves, let alone something as disciplined as ballet.

“He definitely can’t dance,” joked teammate Isaiah Thomas said. “Good luck to him for going out there, but he can’t dance. He has no rhythm whatsoever. And then with him in tights, that’s going to be crazy.”

While some of the Huskies have asked Pondexter to get them tickets, Thomas doesn’t think he’ll be attending.

“I’d laugh the whole time,” Thomas said. “I know I’m supposed to be supportive. But with the dance moves he’s shown us, I just can’t go up there and watch him.”

Pondexter seems to have no anxiety about the teasing. There is some about performing. Even with the research, he’s still not certain about his role as the grandfather.

“I don’t know what to expect,” he said. “I heard I just have to do a little quick dance with this little girl. There’s not too much background on that, but I’m hoping it’s a ton of fun.”

Pondexter won’t be the first local athlete to participate with the Pacific Northwest Ballet. A handful of Sonics and Seahawks have also taken part. That fact left him humbled.

“I can’t believe that they asked me to do it, especially when I heard all of the other people who have had the chance to do it like Vin Baker, Gary Payton and some of the top Microsoft executives,” Pondexter said. “I’m just Quincy Pondexter from Fresno, California. It was such a big shock to even be invited to something as remarkable as this.”

Remarkable enough his family is flying up from Fresno to watch him perform.

Perhaps Pondexter will start a trend of Huskies players participating. Would Thomas consider following in Pondexter’s dancesteps – rhythmically challenged though they may be.

“Yeah,” Thomas said. “I have the most rhythm on the team.”

Tickets may be purchased from the PNB box office at (206) 441-2424, online at or in person at the PNB box office at the Seattle Center.