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'It was so special': How the viral Jazz Dancer proposal came together

Jazz Dancer Danielle Bush is proposed to during Utah's game against Charlotte on Monday. (Shafkat Anowar, Deseret News )



Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Jazz dancer Danielle Bush was standing near the center of Vivint Arena living out her worst nightmare.

Midway through a routine she thought she had mastered, the music suddenly switched. What was worse, as she looked to her left and to her right, she realized she was the only one confused. All her dancer teammates were flawlessly performing a routine she didn't know.

She wasn't unprepared. Turns out, she wasn't supposed to know the routine.

Bush tried to play it off as best she could, sliding away from the front and trying to copy the dancers around her. Then things started to come together. The song switched to "Marry You," by Bruno Mars, and yes, that was her boyfriend Brandon walking onto the court. She put her hands over her mouth as Brandon got down on one knee.

The surprise proposal, which has since gone viral, began earlier this month when Jazz Dancers director Ashley Kelson was asked by Brandon if it was possible to do it on the court. There's been countless proposals through the years of fans using a break in the action to ask for a hand in marriage. But this one couldn't be like those. If they were going to do it, they were going to make it an event.

"I wanted to make it big and special for her for sure," Kelson said. "Making it a part of the routine was so much fun."

Choreographing the proposal was the easy part; actually practicing it was a bit more tricky. Kelson ended up scheduling Bush for a community event during a practice slot to ensure that she wouldn't be present. The team had just that one practice to make sure everything was down from the routine to Brandon's big entrance.

All the other practices leading up to Monday's big event, the team ran through the original routine — likely with a lot of knowing smiles from the rest of the group.

"It was an honor to plan with Brandon and be a part of their special moment and just proud of my team for keeping it a surprise," Kelson said. "It definitely was a team effort."

And yes, they knew what they were going to put Bush through by changing the music mid-routine. Kelson admitted she was nervous to do it but thought it would be well worth it to have such a surprising moment.

Based on Bush's reaction, Kelson was right.

"It was all to surprise her and make the moment special," Kelson said. "So I know as a dancer, you're kind of like, 'What is going to come next?' It was just a highlight and make her day special."

It's hard to imagine something better coming next.

As the team put it together, they were hoping it would have a positive reaction from the fans and community. They didn't anticipate, though, doing media interviews and seeing the routine all over the internet.

"I knew it was going to be big and special, but to see the response from the community and just the people, the crowd, it got a huge response," Kelson said. "The sports world in general has had an awesome response to it — that was a surprise for me. But the joy that we all saw from them, it was so special. So for everyone to come together and celebrate that with her was just so awesome to see."

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