(Photography by Danny Fulgencio.)

Cristin Caulfield still remembers the night Britney Spears stole her bra.

The Casa Linda neighbor was go-go dancing in Los Angeles when Spears came to the club to celebrate her secret wedding to Kevin Federline. While Caulfield and the other dancers were performing, Spears went into the backstage dressing room and came out wearing their clothes.

“I still love her, for the record,” Caulfield says. “I want her to be OK.”

Caulfield has more questions than answers from that night, but that can happen when you share a professional life with Hollywood’s rich and famous.

For more than four years, Caulfield worked as a dancer and choreographer in LA. Prior to the bra-stealing incident, Caulfield worked with Spears on “The Hook Up” for her Onyx Hotel Tour and “Bubble Pop Electric” for Gwen Stefani’s Harajuku Lovers Tour. She also performed with Carmen Electra in front of thousands of fans and paparazzi at the opening of the Tangerine in Las Vegas.

“Anytime I’ve ever performed, nothing compares to it,” Caulfield says. “It’s such a rush.”

Caulfield grew up dancing on the drill team at Highland Park High School. After she turned 18, she auditioned for the Dallas Mavericks, when Michael Finley and Shawn Bradley still played in Reunion Arena. She danced at every home game and traveled with the team to an exhibition game in Mexico City. It was there that she attended dinner at the ambassador’s house and sat at a table with Charles Barkley.

After about two seasons with the Mavs, Caulfield moved to LA and started auditioning for shows, including Janet Jackson’s infamous Super Bowl performance.

“Growing up, Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson were my favorites,” she says. “At the audition, they made us freestyle, and I am not a freestyler. I was like moonwalking out the door, thinking, ‘I’m going to leave,’ when a girl grabbed me and said, ‘You have to do this.’”

She stepped on the dance floor, shook her booty once and then went into full drill-team mode. It sent the crowd of contestants, including herself, into a fit of laughter.

(In case you were wondering, she didn’t get selected for the show.)

Caulfield was admittedly bad at auditioning. At one point, she dyed her hair pink and black to stand out from hundreds of other dancers competing for a limited number of tour spots.

“The dancing was really cutthroat,” Caulfield says. “I was young, but I felt old. Everyone had been out there for so long.”

When Caulfield moved back to Dallas, she started teaching spin and barre classes at ZYN22 in Uptown. It was there that she found her passion for teaching and began formulating a plan to start her own dance fitness studio. In October, she opened Caulfield’s Dance Fitness in the Casa Linda Plaza. The business offers dance cardio, sculpt and choreography classes to children and adults.

“The hardest thing is getting people past dance being scary,” Caulfield says. “You can come in here having never danced before and get a ton of benefits.”

This is the second time a member of the Caulfield family has opened a business in East Dallas. In the 1980s, her father, John Caulfield, ran a restaurant for more than 10 years at what is now Halcyon on Greenville Avenue. The eatery was attached to Stan’s Blue Note, which he also owned for 30 years.

John Caulfield and Stan’s owner, Dorothy Shipley, became such good friends that they cut a hole in the wall between their businesses to serve both sets of customers. When Shipley sold Stan’s in 1987, John Caulfield took over and expanded the business to the size it is today.

Caulfield found inspiration in the family business when opening her own space. She had planned a different name for the studio, but when a lawyer from a company in Houston threatened to sue for name infringement, Caulfield had to change course. 

“I was really struggling with the name,” she says. “I just decided to go with Caulfield’s and make the logo similar to the old Caulfield’s logo. We’re bringing back a 1980s’ thing in aerobic dancing, and my dad had a bar called Caulfield’s in the ’80s. If you mix the two, it kind of makes sense.”

Caulfield channels that ’80s vibe at her studio, which is painted in bright, neon colors. The walls are decorated with images of women dressed in leotards with leg warmers scrunched at their ankles and sweatbands around their wrists. On the front desk sits a retro Garfield phone.

The funky feel is a perfect fit for Casa Linda.

“I like that it doesn’t feel very Dallasy over here,” Caulfield says. “When I was thinking about where I wanted to do this, there were options in Uptown, but it’s just a little more funky over here. I like the excitement of new things popping up everywhere.

“And let’s be real, The Goat is here.”

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