Pair of Dance Dawgs Goes Pro

by Nathan Sorensen
The Red & Black

Two of the Dance Dawgs will not be dancing for the University basketball games next semester.

Reneau Kadis and Bristen Mann became the two newest members of the Atlanta Falcons cheerleading squad after auditioning for four days in Atlanta.

Bristen Mann and Reneau Kadis, two University Dance Dawgs, have been selected to serve as new Atlanta Falcons football cheerleaders.

Both dancers said the try-outs were a rigorous experience.

“It was definitely nerve-racking, but exciting at the same time,” Mann said.

Kadis, a senior and captain of the Dance Dawgs, said her four years on the squad helped her with the move to the Falcons.

“It’s definitely prepared me for the next level,” she said. “I have seen so much progress in the four years I’ve been in the spirit program.”

The Atlanta Falcons’ five-day audition hosted more than 250 girls who performed in front of 15 judges, said Ashley Clark, dance coordinator for the Dance Dawgs.

“That week is really kind of hectic for anybody,” said Clark of the audition week. “You know you can dance and you know you have a good body, but you never know what the judges are looking for.”

With eight out of the 32 total cheerleaders on the Falcons squad coming from the University, the Dance Dawgs have a “rich tradition” of sending members to the Atlanta Falcons, Clark said.

“We’ve had at least 10 to 15 Dance Dawgs make the Atlanta Falcons,” she said.

Kadis, who has danced and cheered since an early age, said she was more.than nervous to move onto the Falcons.

“It’s kind of scaring me to go to the next level,” she said, “but it’s a really exciting opportunity.”

Mann said she agreed making the Atlanta Falcons was a thrill.

“I’m finally going to get paid to do what I love,” she said.

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Bristen Mann and Reneau Kadis, two University Dance Dawgs, have been selected to serve as new Atlanta Falcons Cheerleaders.

Wings Angels Season Finale

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Last Friday was the final game of the season for the Philadelphia Wings Angels. Originally, the game was to be played in February, but a massive snowstorm caused the game to be re-scheduled.

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So the atmosphere was a bit like the last day of school or graduation day, and things got silly!
Continue reading Wings Angels Season Finale

Denver Broncos start search for 2010 cheerleaders

Click here to check out a ton of photos from Saturday’s open call.

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MDC Auditions Underway

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(MiamiDolphins.com) The first and second rounds of the 2010 Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders Auditions took place on Saturday, April 24, at Sun Life Stadium. Over 250 candidates were vying for a shot to move on to the next round. At the end of the day, 70 ladies were selected to move to the next phase which includes a one-on-one interview with the Director and dance clinics.

2010 2010 Cheerleader Auditions Photos

The 22 returning Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders will join the new candidates in this phase of the audition process in hopes of gaining their spot back on the team. On May 8 at the Final Auditions at the Aventura Mall the returning and new candidates group will be cut down to just 80 candidates performing for their spot on the 40 member squad.

Check back next week to see the final 80 candidates. Your vote can help your favorites make the team!

Texans Cheerleader Finalists at the Draft Party

The 41 finalists for the 2010 Houston Texans Cheerleaders made an appearance at the Texans Draft party last week.
Click here to see photos from the Texans website.
Click here for photos on KTRK.com

And stay tuned: On Tuesday, April 27, at 7 p.m. CT, visit HoustonTexans.com to watch the live streaming video of the announcement of the 2010 Houston Texans Cheerleaders.

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Eagles Cheerleaders Draft Day Debut

(This is a bit in reverse, since I haven’t posted the Eagles Cheerleaders Final Auditions from last Tuesday, yet.)

With the new three-day NFL Draft Format, the Eagles changed things up a bit and held their Draft Day Party on Thursday, instead of the traditional Saturday date.

But the tradition of unveiling the new Eagles Cheerleader squad at the party was kept intact.

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Here’s my co-worker Josh with a few of the Cheerleaders who walked around signing autographs and posing for photos.

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Here’s Jamie. Around 8:30pm the entire squad was introduced to the fans.

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Here are a few of the this year’s rookies.

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Fans were also treated to four performances.

I gave Josh one of my cameras and he took a few photos. Also reader Mike sent us a few of his from Draft Day. They are all in the gallery.

[Draft Day Gallery]

[Video Intro of the new squad]

The Jills at the Buffalo Bills Season Ticket Holder Draft Party

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Phil of the Buffalo Pro Cheer Blog was present on both Friday and Saturday for the Jills appearance at the Season Ticket Holder Draft Day Parties.

[Report and Video]

[Friday Photos]

[Saturday Photos]

Rams Cheerleader Tryouts Draw Enthusiastic Crowd

By Doug Moore
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

ramsaudsThere was hair. Lots of it. Smiles right out of a toothpaste commercial.

And, yes, with a stage full of pretty young women vying to be a St. Louis Rams cheerleader, there was on display an ample supply of what brought many of the men to this tryout.

For the first time, the Rams invited the public to be a part of the selection process. Everyone who came to the Pageant last week got a ballot to vote for their favorites. Those results were factored in to the final tallies by the six judges.

It was the Miss America pageant meets “American Idol.” And it was the Rams reaching out to the public, a way to generate interest for a team that in the last decade has gone from one of the best to one that offers little to cheer about.

So why were these 36 finalists trying so hard to become a cheerleader for a team that was 1-15 last year, the worst record in the NFL? A team that hasn’t had a winning season in seven years? A team that saw more and more seats filled by fans for the opponents as last season wore on?

“I’m always hopeful,” said Shannon Ward, 23, who was selected for her third year as cheerleader. “I’m a very positive person.”

There is excitement building. The Rams had the first pick in the NFL draft Thursday and selected Sam Bradford from Oklahoma. Such a quarterback with a marquee name could provide the on-field leadership needed to turn the team around — and the kind of hype the Rams hope will bring back fair-weather fans.

And as the Rams’ ownership gets sorted out, it appears both men in the running want to keep the team in St. Louis.

All good things to cheer about.

Theresa Mancini, Rams cheerleader coordinator, says there is more at stake here than shaking pom-pons on the sidelines in the Edward Jones Dome for $75 a game.

The women, many of them college students, are ambassadors for the Rams, making more than 500 public appearances a year at golf tournaments, grand openings, awards banquets, corporate sales meetings and fundraisers. The cheerleaders have met with troops in Iraq and entertained on a Caribbean cruise.

The women at Tuesday night’s tryout were judged first on poise and ease of public speaking based on a question by host D’Marco Farr, a former Rams player. The questions ranged from basic (“What was your first job?”) to abstract (“What makes you happy?”)

They were then critiqued on how they looked in a two-piece swimsuit (red, brown, pink and white were popular colors) and how they danced (there were some missteps but no mishaps).

It must have been assumed that all the women have team spirit. They were not asked to do any cheers.

The crowd of 1,500 — labeled a sell-out although the tickets were free —included supportive family members, many holding signs and clicking photos. And there were guys such as Brandon Stewart and Jason Hudson, both of O’Fallon, Ill. Both football fans. Both appreciators of beautiful women. The cheerleader tryouts dovetailed those interests nicely.

Shelly Harris and her friend Traci Basden, suburban moms, seemed a bit out of place — until Harris introduced her son, Nicholas.

“I like hot girls,” Nicholas, 13, of St. Charles said. Basden’s son, Clay Goodman, 14, expressed the same sentiment with head nods and giggles.

Both women were in the good graces of their sons, but unsure if they themselves deserved the moniker of Mother of the Year.

“I can’t believe we’re doing this,” Basden said.

The first of the 25 women selected to be a member of the 2010 team was Emily Spriggs, 19. The announcement brought a loud, prolonged celebration of fist pumps and whoops from proud dad Don Russell standing down front.

“You OK? Don’t have a heart attack,” Farr said to Russell, of Eureka.

After Russell’s excitement settled to a simmer and he had a little time to think about it, he said he was suffering from “apprehensive fatherhood.” As a Rams season ticket holder, Russell can’t wait to see his daughter cheering at the Dome. But he also knows there will be men there ogling the cheerleaders.

“About 70 percent of males go to watch the cheerleaders,” said Jeff Kannel, whose sister-in-law, Jayne Cox, was among those selected.

Kannel’s comment will do little to ease Russell’s anxiety. But a winning season, the first since 2003, would surely help.

Former NHS Cadet Makes Final Cut

Mayle one of 66 vying for Colts cheerleader spot

By Jason Moon
The Brazil Times

colts383Fans of Northview guard should take note as a former cadet is a finalist for the 2010 Indianapolis Colts’ cheerleader squad.

Mara Mayle, a 2008 Northview High School graduate, is one of 66 women to have made the final cut.

“This year, we’re planning on 32 (cheerleaders),” Colts’ cheerleader coordinator Theresa Pottratz said. “It’s not definitely set in stone, but it will be pretty close to that.

“It varies (from year to year). It depends on different things.”

Pottratz is in her fourth year as the coordinator. She said the squad has cheerleaders from across the Midwest. She added one of the finalists has been traveling back and forth from West Virginia.

Approximately 230 women tried out this year and the final night of cuts was April 22.

Pottratz said the first day of auditions took place April 10. Since then, cheerleaders have met on Tuesdays and Thursdays for three-hour practices.

The final list of cheerleaders will be determined at Plainfield High School Wednesday, May 5.

The 66 finalists will take part in the public audition, beginning at 7:30 p.m. Doors open to the event at 7, and tickets cost $10.

Tickets are available at www.colts.com.

The final tryout is a show performed by all 66 finalists.

In addition, residents of Clay County have the opportunity to vote for the cheerleaders by going to the website and accessing the cheerleader page. From there, choose profiles of the finalists from a pull down menu and click on the profile to vote.

Mayle’s picture is on the site. All the finalists have a short biography attached.

NHS Guard Instructor Ruth Ann Medworth said Mayle was always “a great performer.”

“Some people, when they’re on the floor, you just watch them, because they have that performance ability,” Medworth said. “She was always fun to watch.”

Youngest Colts Cheerleader Balances Work and Student Life

By Abby Breeden
The Exponent

kathleencNot many boyfriends have texted their friends to say, “Guess who’s dating a Colts Cheerleader?”

Last year, Kathleen C., a sophomore in the College of Liberal Arts, became the youngest woman on the Indianapolis Colts cheerleading squad and the girlfriend of a “very proud boyfriend.”

“It was my first year trying out,” she said. “I went in with no expectations; I just wanted something to keep me busy.”

Busy does not begin to describe the lifestyle overhaul accompanying the football season. Weekends are sacrificed for Sunday home games, Tuesdays and Thursdays are devoted to intense three-hour dance practices in Indianapolis and appearances and a healthy diet are a must.

However, Kathleen is returning this week for a second year of tryouts and intends to keep trying out until she tires of the Colts, which is unlikely anytime soon.

“My favorite part of the game is when the players run out on the field. In that moment I think, ‘I don’t know how anyone would quit wanting to do this.’”

While the whole meant-to-be mantra seems cheesy, Kathleen said “doing something she loves” for such a large organization is often surreal.

During moments like the Super Bowl, Kathleen said she has to take a step back and think about the magnitude of somehow going from college student to cheerleader, smiling for one of the most watched programs on television ever.

For the rookie, age did not prevent her from developing close friendships with women on the squad.

“I have no distinction of age. We just became friends with the same jobs, same stress and same excitement,” she said.

Theresa Pottratz, Colts cheerleading coach, said the fans love Kathleen’s young, girl-next-door look to go along with the Colt’s more conservative image in comparison to other NFL cheer squads. However, Pottratz couldn’t help but notice Kathleen’s edge as she develops further in her career.

“We always think of little Kathleen who is so innocent and young, and then I saw her swimsuit photos! There is one of her walking out the pool with the water dripping off her and you think, wow that’s our little Kathleen?” Pottratz said. “It’s like your best friend’s little sister suddenly grew up.”

Inspired Dancing to Find a Cure for Cancer

By Kris Hill
The Covington Reporter

triciaTricia Grove-Johnson told her sister to go find a cure for cancer.

So, in 2002, Elizabeth Lanning took the suggestion literally and came up with a fundraiser called Dance for a Cure that is now in its eighth year with the event slated for 7 p.m., May 1 at the Bagley Wright Theater in Seattle.

“I was very sick,” said Grove-Johnson, a Ravensdale resident. “I had been diagnosed with stage four uterine sarcoma. My survival chances weren’t great.”

In fact, her chances of survival were less than 1 percent, but she “didn’t really take that to heart because that’s just not me.”

“I was bound and determined to beat it. And to beat it by myself,” Grove-Johnson said. “My family wanted to help. I didn’t really want any help. I was a little stubborn. My sister, who is my best friend, was continually on me and said, ‘What can I do?’”

And that’s when, in an effort to get her sister to leave her alone, Grove-Johnson said to Lanning, “You can go out and find a cure.”

Lanning runs a dance studio in Bellevue and she decided to put on a dance performance with the proceeds going toward the Fred Hutchison Cancer Center.

Her dance students would deliver meals to Grove-Johnson’s front door and send “buckets and buckets of cards” telling her of their progress on preparations for the fundraiser.

“The first year was an incredible success,” Grove-Johnson said. “With three months preparation these kids raised $12,000.”

Grove-Johnson went to the first event, watched the show while trying not to identify herself, “then I cried through the whole thing.”

In 2003, Lanning’s students went to her and asked if they were going to do it again.

“It started out as a tribute to her sister and it has become a community event,” Grove-Johnson said. “It blows my mind the altruism of these kids. It’s more about who they’ve seen in their lives affected by cancer.”

Since that first year, Dance For A Cure has grown by leaps and bounds, with a vision statement and more partnerships with groups like Gilda’s Club, Locks of Love, Pete Gross House and others.

“It’s just getting bigger and bigger,” Grove-Johnson said. “Talking with the kids, they want it to continue on, they want it to continue making a difference.”

Dance For A Cure has gone beyond raising money during an annual event to, “the community coming together and helping every day of the year.”

These days the e-mails Grove-Johnson gets about the event “are just incredible” with people no longer asking how to get tickets, but instead asking how they can help.

“With the economy being the way it is, people may not be able to give the funds,” she said. “But, if they have the time and the will to serve (they can). And, it just puts more fire in (the student’s) bellies.”

There will be dozens of dancers involved, including Grove-Johnson, who will be performing with Amanda McAndrew who is an alumnus of Lanning’s business, Elizabeth’s Dance Dimensions.

“That’s where I grew up dancing and then taught,” McAndrew said. “I grew up admiring Trish because she was such a strong person. Her story now proves just how strong. Now here she is, still intense in everything she does.”

Dancers between the ages of 6 and 19 will perform as well as 15 members, including Grove-Johnson, of the MO-DAZZ alumni group that is made up of Lanning’s former students will perform. There are a number of other featured performers slated to take the stage.

A former University of Washington cheerleader, Grove-Johnson has done some dancing in her day, including performing with the Seattle Sonics dance team until she decided she wanted to be an attorney.

Grove-Johnson, 40, works in private practice in Renton and has continued her career and dancing while fighting through a myriad of aggressive and even experimental treatments to beat the cancer as well as the side effects of those treatments.

“Cancer sucks, I’m not going to paint a pretty picture,” she said. “I despise it. But, cancer has not beaten me.”

What has come out of it, all the negative, frustrating times during the battle against cancer, Grove-Johnson said, is a mission of service in Dance For A Cure and beyond.

Last year, she said, the event raised $75,000.

“We’re always hoping to do better than the last year,” she said. “We really believe $100,000 is not out of reach. If the kids sweat means anything, then, I think we can do it.”

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Dancers lift Lexie Hewitt during rehearsals for Dance for a Cure set for May 1 at the Bagley Wright Theater in Seattle.

[Dance for A Cure]

Eagles name new cheerleaders

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Peter Mucha
*Audition Photos*

First-round draft pick Brandon Graham wasn’t the only new face seen by fans at last night’s draft party at the Linc.

The Eagles also introduced the new cheerleading squad, with 12 rookies and 26 returning vets.

Three of the newbies have pro credentials: Dani Pretti, of West Reading, Pa., danced for the Reading Phillies, and Philadelphia’s Sarah Cossa and Glen Mills’ Jacqueline Ranieri danced for the Philadelphia Soul (un-defending champs of the floundering Arena Football League).

Also first-timers are Casey Baldwin of Media; Corinne Jenkins of Philadelphia; Danae Dinger of Easton; Danielle Kerns and Janelle Makowski of Glen Mills; Jennifer Mooney of Jenkintown; Kelsey Brooks of Aston; Kimberly Ransom of Nazareth; South Philly-raised Marissa Patterson, of Williamstown.

The vets, though, took all the honors at Tuesday’s audition finale, in which 60 women competed to make or rejoin the squad, said director of cheerleading Barbara Zaun. Philadelphia’s Stephanie Smith won the interview portion, Ardmore’s Tracey Dunn won for dance, Blue Bell’s Paige Bell won for fitness, and Bensalem’s Alicia Lee won for beauty for at least the third consecutive year, Zaun said.

Pennsauken’s Danni-Lynn Bell, Paige’s sister, is also back with the squad. She’s one of a troupe of Jersey girls, including Devan West of Absecon, Erica Dorsey of Marlton, Ivelisse Rivera of Hammonton, Jessica Gonzalez of Williamstown, Khira Cooper of Blackwood, Michelle Morris of Mount Laurel, and Priscilla Williams of Moorestown.

The squad’s two Delawareans are New Castle’s Cheryl Newton and Wilmington’s Jamie Steinberger.

The rest are all from Pennsylvania: Ali Smith and Heather Randall of Philadelphia, Amy Mecca of Allentown, Ayva Wolset of Royersford, Kimberly Mellen of Peckville, Kristin Garofalo and Krystle Campbell of Media, Laura Jenkins of Drexel Hill, Lauren Keeley of Southampton, Lindsey Sengebush of Collegeville, Monica Grandlienard of Archbald, and Tiffany Monroe of Mechanicsburg.

After photo shoots for their trading cards, the squad will be off to Riviera Maya in Mexico from May 16 to 20 to shoot the 2010-2011 calendar, Zaun said.

The Iberostar Paraiso Maya resort is offering a special package for Eagles fans that are interested in attending, but arrangements have to be made through the resort, Zaun said.

Once again, “eco-friendly” will be the theme, with recycled and natural materials.

For more information, go to www.philadelphiaeagles.com/cheerleaders.

Local grad is Chargers cheerleader

maria-baldi1David James Heiss, Staff Writer
Record Gazette
April 23, 2010

Maria Baldi heads to a San Diego Chargers cheerleading “mini-boot camp” this weekend, on the path to living out her lifelong dream.

The 22-year-old Cherry Valley resident, who graduated from Beaumont High School in 2005, has been named one of the 28 members of the class of 2010-11 Chargers Girls — whittled down from an initial field of more than 400 girls, including three former Chargers cheerleaders who did not make the cut this year.

She spent a few days in San Diego at various locations, performing prepared and impromptu dance routines and undergoing panels of interviews. Baldi had tried out three times before. “The first few times I tried out, I was really nervous and stressed out, and they see that,” she said. “This time, I just went in there hoping to have fun.”

According to Baldi, the first performance at the Jenny Craig Pavilion on April 13 included “a few eight counts, and if you make it past that you’re part of the first 100 to get called back.” From there, participants redo the routine with “more eight counts,” which helps judges narrow the field to 68 candidates; then there’s an interview, an opportunity to redo the routine — as well as perform one on their own; then there’s a span of time that seems to stretch for a long hour as panelists deliberate and determine the final 28. Overall, it was a three-day tryout. “If your number is called, you’re a Charger Girl,” Baldi said. According to her, “Performing in front of 10 people was the hard part.” She’s now looking forward to performing at home games in front of a crowd of thousands, which doesn’t seem to unnerve her, though she admitted, “The first game I might be a little nervous, but I’ll be with a group of girls who have wanted this their entire lives.”

This weekend she will have a chance to meet her colleagues and start working on routines as they go through orientation.

Baldi said that she thinks she will be paid $75 per game — and though the stipend doesn’t sound like much, there’s prestige and career-building and travel opportunities involved. And should the San Diego Chargers make it to the Super Bowl next year, she would likely join them to perform on the sidelines there.

“This has been her dream since she was 3,” according to her mother, Veronica Baldi, who co-coached her along with Sonya Balingit. “It’s something she has always wanted to do. I’m so excited it finally came through for her. She stayed dedicated and never gave up. She told me she was going to keep trying out until she made it.”

Baldi works part-time as a secretary at her family’s construction firm, Baldi Bros Construction in Beaumont. She also teaches cheer classes at Noble Creek Community Park, and is finishing up getting her business license for her cake decorating business.

A picture of this year’s final squad appears on the San Diego Chargers’ Web site at www.chargers.com/charger-girls/index.html.

She spent two seasons as a cheerleader on the Inland Empire 66ers baseball team from 2007-09, which she was recruited for (and hence, her “tryout” was much easier, she said).

Although she is a member of this year’s squad, she said that no one is guaranteed a spot for the next year, and that she will have to start from scratch and try out all over again in 2011.

“Even when she was at Chavez Elementary School” in Beaumont, “she was a dancer. She stood out for her passion,” said former Beaumont High School cheer coach Sonya Balingit, who is now principal of Hoffer Elementary School in Banning. “She was on the varsity cheer team all four years, and was varsity captain for two years. What’s been so great is, she shows others that you don’t give up on your dreams. She’s always excelled in cheer and dance, and she’s always had that spark and that passion, but she also has drive and ambition.”

To say that coacheing Baldi makes Balingit proud is an understatement.

“You’re always giving advice and encouraging your students to not give up on their dreams,” Balingit said. “To see her dream come to life is so exciting as a coach. For anyone who knows her, this won’t be a surprise. They’ll say, ‘Well of course she made it.’ And she really deserved it, because she persevered so hard.”

Fmr Eagles Cheerleader in Miss USA Pageant in May

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
April 23, 2010

Greensburg native Gina Cerilli, Miss Pennsylvania USA 2010, will represent the Keystone state in the Miss USA Pageant next month in Las Vegas. The 24-year-old former Philadelphia Eagles cheerleader is a 2004 graduate of Greensburg Central Catholic High School and earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Philadelphia University. The Miss USA 2010 pageant will be telecast live May 16 on NBC at 7 p.m. from the Performing Arts Theatre at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.

Charger Girl Audition Photo Gallery

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The San Diego Union-Tribune has some great shots from this year’s Charger Girl auditions. Click here to see them now!

(Mine are coming soon, I promise!)