The Oklahoma Thunder Girls have a new foreign exchange student, In fact, the dancer traveled all the way from Japan to cheer on the wood for the big playoff game, two years running.

Kei Hirata 1

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Born in Tokyo, Japan, and raised in Chiba, Kei Hirata began taking dance lessons when she was only three years old.

“My mom took me to classic ballet classes. And I continued to dance until I was 17.”

Kei has been a professional dancer for about eight years. Before she joined the Thunder Girls, Kei danced for a professional baseball team, soccer team, and a football team in Japan. source

Kei Hirata 2Kei, who grew up with her parents and sister in a city with a population of more than 900,000, had an even bigger dream.

TG-Kei-2“I’ve always dreamed of becoming a professional dancer in the U.S. since I was a kid,” said Kei. “I often watched NBA games with my friends when I was in Japan.”

To realize this dream, three years ago, Kei traveled from Japan to the U.S. to search for her favorite NBA team. After meeting some Thunder fans at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Kei decided that she wanted to cheer for the Thunder.

“At the Thunder game, I met some Thunder fans. They are amazing. They told me about the team and how much they loved the team.” Kei said.

The Thunder Girls was the first team Kei auditioned for in the U.S. Even though she made it on the team.

“I’m living my dream,” she said.

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