Field Trip: Tokyo Apache Auditions

(Note: As always, those who prefer to cut to the chase can click here and go right to the photos)


A couple of weeks ago, I received an email from Terra, one of the head honchos here at UC. Terra said her company Dallaswear is designing new uniforms for the Tokyo Apache Dancers and found out they were having auditions in Los Angeles. She wanted to know if I would be interested in covering the tryouts for this website.

Have I ever mentioned how much I LOVE auditions?
Because I do.
I really really love them.
(Except for the part where people’s hopes and dreams are completely destroyed. But the rest of it is fantastic.)

So I was all “Heck yeah!” Send me the details.

Meanwhile, I was a little puzzled. Tokyo Apache? Never heard of it. (And I’ve heard of almost every team in the English-speaking world.)

unicycle-hockeyWas this a Japanese team? Or a Native American team? What sport was this, anyway? Was this going to be something weird, like Gaga Ball or Unicycle Hockey?

Soon after that, I heard from Terra again. The auditions would take place the very next day, and they would be headed by a woman named Kristin Egusa.

That seals it. Count me in.

Kristin is on my list of beloved former Clippers Spirit Dancers. If she’s involved, this project will not suck. (And probably would not be unicycle hockey.) Kristin can dance, she can choreograph, and she can bring the fierce. She’s not going to be in charge of some ragtag knock-kneed group of dancers who can’t tell the difference between left and right.

(Admittedly, there are times when I myself can’t tell the difference between left and right, but that’s totally different)

Like a good little nerd, I hopped right online to do some background research. Here’s the scoop:

Tokyo Apache is one of 16 teams in the Basketball Japan League. (I gather that’s their equivalent of the NBA.) The team was one of the initial members of the league, which began operations in 2005. I dug around in my hard drive and darn if I didn’t find a couple photos of the Apache Dancers from previous seasons. I guess I had heard of them after all.
I’m not gonna lie. This photo made me a little nervous.

But they also showed promise. Roowrrrr!


I did a bit more digging and found out that Evolution Capital Management, an investment management company based here in Los Angeles, purchased the team back in June. They brought in new coaching, new players, and now they’re bringing in new NBA-style entertainment. This is where Kristin comes in as the new Director/Choreographer, and where Terra came in to design the new costumes in Apache purple and gold.

kristinegusa_nThe next morning, I headed over to the audition. Most NBA auditions have a turnout in the hundreds, but since this team performs in Japan, I didn’t expect nearly as many people to show up. I thought probably 10 or 12 dancers at most. After all, how many people are in a position to drop everything and go to Japan for basketball season?

That was the first of many wrong assumptions.

Once I got in the door and got over the shock of recognizing more than half of the people in the room, I cornered Kristin and got the scoop. She’d been on board for about a month. She is putting together a team of dancers that includes herself, plus 8 women from the LA auditions, and 4 more from auditions in Japan the following week. Rehearsals will start in November, and the team will go to Japan in December.

This was a bigger deal than I expected. For one thing, it was a closed audition. (Translation: a small number of high quality candidates.) There were about 30 dancers, all recommended by directors, choreographers, etc. in the industry. All of the women had been invited, so it was a given that they were all great dancers.

Given all that, there was no need for the basic across-the-floor round to these auditions. The plan was to have the girls learn a jazz/hip hop combination, perform it for the judges in groups of two, followed by a cut, then followed by a freestyle round where each finalist would do a short solo. Interviews were scheduled for the following week, and the team would be announced at the end of the week.

Let’s discuss who was in the room. First of all, the judges:

The Judges: Traci, Kristin, Lisa, Aimee, Marianne, Audrea

Basically what we have here is every important person in the local LA pro sports dance industry.

Traci Buchholz is a producer for E! Entertainment. She is also one of in-arena hosts for the Los Angeles. Clippers. Traci was on the Clippers Spirit Dance Team for four years.

Kristin Egusa is the Tokyo Apache Dance Team Director. She’s a dancer/choreographer and was a four year member of the Clippers Spirit

Lisa Estrada is the Director of Game Operations & Entertainment for the Los Angeles Lakers. (aka Chief Chick-in-Charge of the Laker Girls.)

Aimee Edmundson is the Director of the ChivaGirls (Chivas USA)

Marianne Bogoyevac
is the Game Entertainment Manager for the Los Angeles Clippers

Audrea Harris is the Entertainment Teams Director for the Los Angeles Clippers (aka Boss Lady for the Clippers Spirit and Clippers Fan Patrol, and a few other teams)

Now, over in this corner, we have Teresa, Katrina, and Nicole, current members of the Los Angeles Clippers Spirit.


It’s kind of annoying that they look like this with no makeup, but whatever. I’m over it.

Nicole choreographed the combination for the audition and Katrina and Teresa were there to assist.

Behind their backs, I refer to these three (plus Brittany) as the Spirit “Go-To Girls” because they show up for everything. Whenever I go to any Clippers-related anything, guar-ron-teed at least three of the four will be there. I’m thinking the next time I have to move, I’ll arrange to have a Clippers “event” at my house. Then Katrina, Teresa, Brittany, and Nicole can help me move my furniture and stuff.

So then I start eyeballing the dancers. Hey, I know her! And her! And her! And her too!

There was one girl I wasn’t sure about. She was wearing a familiar orange and purple outfit. She looked an awful lot like this girl Jacy I know from some other auditions. But Jacy is a blonde, so who is this chick? Does Jacy have a sister? I went over and took a picture of her, but didn’t say anything.

t_2010-apache-auditions_originals_0057-jacy-sm

    Sidebar: I should explain that I have a policy about this sort of situation. When I was about 13, I really liked this boy named Anthony. He was in a couple of my classes at school. One Friday night, I went to a teen club with some girlfriends and was surprised to see Anthony there. I proceeded to spend the evening doing laps around the place so I could “casually” pass by his table. I’d say hello, then run away and giggle with my little friends. The first couple of times I passed by, Anthony said “hey” back to me. The third time, he gave me a strange look. The fourth time, he looked at me and said “who are you?” I just giggled. That Anthony is such a joker! Around the sixth or seventh time, he “I don’t think I know you.” By the 8th or 9th time, he was scowling at me. Eventually I got annoyed with his act and decided to ignore him. He was making me look bad in front of my crew.

    Long story short: a couple days later I found out Anthony had brother, who went to a different school. It wasn’t Anthony at the club. It was his brother. His Identical. Twin. Brother.

    I’ll pause for a moment and let you place yourself in that scenario…

    So, to recap, I’d spent the whole night giggling and flirting clumsily with a total stranger. The whole time I thought I was being cute, he was thinking “who is this stalker?”

    I wanted to die.

    O.M.G. who does that? Who has twins and sends them to two different schools? What is this, the freaking Parent Trap?

    More importantly, why hadn’t the jerk said “hey, you probably think I’m my brother.” I mean, I’m sure they’d been mistaken for each other all their lives. Needless to say, that was the end of my crush on Anthony, (and Anthony’s brother, whose name I have deliberately blocked from recollection.)

    So anyway, like I said, I have a policy. If I see you somewhere, and I’m not 1000% sure you’re you, I’m not coming over with a big “hey girl!” smile on my face. I don’t mean to offend you, honestly. It’s just that I’m emotionally scarred.
    These days, you can’t be sure
    who is Anthony, and who isn’t.

    A lot of time has passed, and I’ve developed more sophisticated ways of identifying my targets. So when i saw this girl in Jacy’s outfit, I moseyed on over to the registration area to get a peek at the dancers’ head shots. Katrina was standing there, so I couldn’t just snatch the pile and rifle through it. Instead, I asked her all casual like if there was a girl named Jacy in the room. Wouldn’t you know it, Katrina and Jacy are roommates. Aw crap. Because now I couldn’t even go back and play it off like I totally recognized her the whole time.

Let’s see…who else was there?

Ok, right – the dancers. Like I said, tons of familiar faces…

Ari danced for the Boston Celtics and Sacramento Kings


Ashley was a Boston Celtics Dancer


Deanna was a Laker Girl last year


My goodness, Destiney has been busy! She was a Chicago Luvabull, an Atlanta Falcons Cheerleader, and danced for the Atlanta Hawks.


Emi and Tiffany are ChivaGirls. Tiffany was also a member of the Clippers Spirit.


Erica was also a Celtics girl.


Heidi is a former Seattle Sea Gal

jacy
Jacy was on the Anaheim Arsenal dance team


Kimberly was captain of the Spokane Shock dance team


Krista was on the Spokane Shock dance team too. She also danced for the Settle Sonics


Michelle was a ChivaGirl for a couple of years before moving on to the Lakers


Suzy is freaking adorable, ok?
Originally from Ohio, she was a Cleveland Cavalier Girl before moving West and joining the Laker Girls.
I have never actually spoken to her, but I’ve decided I like her a lot.

tyler
Tyler was a member of the “White Mischief Gals,” the dance team for the Bangalore Royal Challengers.
(From the Indian Premier League. That’s cricket, y’all)


Vanessa used to dance for the Clippers
This just a sample of the talent in the room. I also saw girls from some of the outstanding college dance teams in Southern California. For example, there was a girl named Julie, who was on the USC Trojan Dance Force. Another girl, Katie was on the San Diego State dance team.

Pretty soon, it was time to get started, so the dancers gathered around.

Kristin introduced the panel of judges, which also included a representative from the Apache management, but I didn’t catch his name. He talked a little about the excitement around the basketball team and said he was looking forward to having a great dance team. They’re really going to do it up, American-style.

Then Kristin introduced The Go-To Girls and Nicole started teaching the combination. It was around eight 8-counts, which doesn’t sound like much, but is a heck of a lot to remember. The song was one I hadn’t heard before. I couldn’t catch any of the lyrics except something that sounded like “cheese sticks.”

Literally, it was “na na na na na na (something something) cheese sticks”

Listen for yourself, and tell me you don’t hear it. Go on. Lie to me.

Back in the day, this song would have been my nightmare. I tended to get stage fright and blank out. I always relied heavily on the lyrics to help me remember the moves. Without recognizable lyrics, I would’ve been toast. But this isn’t about me.

The choreography was cool. The song was cool. Cheese sticks are cool.

It seemed like five minutes after they started, it was time to try it with music. I whipped out my nifty little flip video camera and captured one of the first run-throughs with the music. It always amazes me how quickly dancers are able to pick up a combination.



The dancers ran through the combination in smaller groups, and then there was a break for them to rehearse on their own.

I took the opportunity to trot over to Nicole to get some info.
Me: Nicole, are these people singing about cheese sticks?
Nicole (looking at me strangely): No, no, it’s not cheese sticks, it’s G6.
Me: Gee Six?
Nicole: Uh, huh. G6.
Me: Are you sure? Because it really sounds like “cheese sticks”. Katrina, don’t you think it sounds like cheese sticks?
Katrina (also looking at me strangely): No. It’s G6.
Me: I don’t know about this… To me, it’s definitely cheese sticks. “Something something cheese sticks”
Katrina: Are you hungry? Did you eat breakfast?

(Conversations like this I think are one of the reasons why I don’t get invited more places.)

Meanwhile, what the frack is a Gee Six? It sounds like a military assault weapon.
Which, when you think about it, isn’t that much better than singing about a cheese stick.

    Sidebar: Unwilling to embarrass myself further, I waited until I got home to investigate this gee six business. The first thing I did was check the lyrics, hoping for enlightenment.
    Poppin bottles in the ice, like a blizzard
    When we drink we do it right gettin slizzard
    Sippin sizzurp in my ride, in my ride, like Three 6
    Now I’m feelin so fly like a G6
    Like a G6, Like a G6
    Now now now now now now I’m feelin so fly like a G6
    Like a G6, Like a G6
    Now now now now now now I’m feelin so fly like a G6

Ok. I still do not know what a G6 is.

Meanwhile, slizzard? Sizzurp?

Um…what?

I consulted the online reference guide for the tragically unhip: UrbanDictionary.com.

    gulfstreamg650 G6
    (1) G6 / G650. Slang for the Gulfstream G650, a twin-engine jet airplane manufactured by Gulfstream Aerospace. The estimated pricetag exceeds $58 million USD, and will be assembled in Gulfstream’s new manufacturing facility in Savannah, Georgia. Gulfstream begins taking orders for the aircraft in April, 2010, with delivery beginning in 2012.
    (2) A pimp azz private jet made by Gulfstream (Gulfstream 650). Only Ballers, Rappers, Uber Celebrities, and successful executives are fly enough to get slizzard on a G6.

    Slizzard:
    (1) A state of high intoxication from alcohol.
    (2) A very slutty lizard.

    Sizzurp
    (1) An alcoholic drink consisting of any codeine based medication, cough surup, Vodka, rum, Big Red soda, and Jolly Ranchers.
    (2) In terms of NYC rappers Cam’ron, the Diplomats and more, An exotic blend of premium imported cognac, vodka, and natural fruits. The combination of these high quality ingredients results in a drink unsurpassed by any other in its category.

Well then. I guess that answers that.

Meanwhile, back at the audition, it was showtime! The ladies lined up and performed in pairs for the judges.

Tyler and Jacy


Ari and Heidi


Suzy and Emi

Everyone did a great job.
Now I am going to tell a story about a certain dancer, who would probably rather I keep my mouth shut. However, there is a lesson to be learned here and I feel obligated to share.

So this dancer, I’ll call her…um…”Mary.” Mary went out there for her turn in front of the judges, and experienced every dancer’s nightmare. She fell. Whap! Right on the ground.

Total wipeout.
Her (previously) injured leg briefly went on hiatus and took the rest of her body down with it. I think she landed on her stomach. And what’s even worse is she was dancing alongside someone who was very very good. It’s enough to make a girl cry.

I’m telling you this, not to make fun of Mary, but hold her up as an example. Home girl hopped up and jumped right back into the dance as if nothing happened. She not only finished it, she killed it. With a BIG smile on her face. I wanted to cheer. Honestly, I really did.

It was like a scene from the movie Showgirls. (Except, you know, not in gold lamé.) Picture it: the heroine stages a fall, thereby grabbing 100% of the spotlight for herself. Everyone’s eyes are glued to her from that moment on, and she performs like a champ. When the number is over everyone applauds, throws flowers, offers her the lead role, etc.

What Mary did was genius. (Well, except for the fact that it was a total accident.) And now that I think about it, in Showgirls, didn’t one girl make another girl fall so she could take her role in the show? So I guess it really isn’t the same thing after all. But you know what I mean. It’s not about the fall. It’s about the recovery.

Go Mary!

And when the judges made the first cut, guess whose number was called? Mary’s. You go, girl.

The choreographed portion of the audition was over. Kristin gave the dancers a few minutes to think about their solos. Then, one by one, they came out and introduced themselves before busting out the freestyle moves. Some girls mentioned their education and dance experience. Others talked about their favorite color, favorite food, etc. Emi revealed her ace in the hole – she speaks Japanese.

(I’m talking actual conversation, not that “Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto” business.)

The solos were fun. There was a lot of technique on display (pirouettes, leaps, etc.) as well as tumbling, breaking, and even a little moonwalking:

And then – it was over. Just like that. Kristin thanked everyone for coming, the dancers pulled on their sweats, and the judges went off to deliberate.

Fast-forward a week.
Here’s who they chose:

Deanna (#4) and Erica (#3)


Destiney (#18)


Julie (#11) and Katie (#10)


Kimberley (#8)


Suzy (#25) and Emi (#26)

Psssst! Remember Mary?
She made the team.

Which one is she?
Sorry. My lips are sealed.

Those are dancers from The States.

The auditions in Japan also went very well. They chose four more dancers: Akemi, Noriko, Sachiko, and Mai.
(More on the Japanese auditions here)

Congratulations to all!
See you on the hardwood.

(Please God, not in those stripey pants)

Bonus: Here’s a highlight video I found on youtube.

Photos: Miami Heat Dancers in action

Click here for a great collection of photos of the 2010-11 Miami Heat Dancers in action on the court!

Philadelphia Dance Convention This Saturday

east-coast-graphic

Are you a current, former or prospective professional dancer or cheerleader? Does your team need hot choreography? Would you like to meet others in the industry or hear about audition opportunities? Get ready for this upcoming event sponsored by Going Pro Entertainment.


AGENDA
** Learn choreography from elite NFL, NBA and AFL alumni
** Get tips from the pros on fitness, nutrition, makeup, attire and more
** Network with other performers from the east coast (and beyond!)
** Receive giveaways from sponsors including attire and cosmetics
** Directors receive complimentary lunch

COSTS
** Morning (9:00am-12:00pm): $45
** Full day (9:00am-4:00pm): $79
** Discount: 15% off early bird registration
** Directors: Bring 3 or more squad members and receive complimentary admission. All directors receive complimentary lunch and director’s roundtable session.
CHOREOGRAPHERS
Lindsay RodolicoJillian GonzalesMarla Congialdi-ViturelloOur choreographers will teach 6 sidelines and 2 routines in length of 45-60 seconds, representing all major sports leagues. Check out this line up, and view their bios and photos here!

** Jillian Gonzales, NBA Dancer – Philadelphia, MISL Director – Philadelphia KIXX
** Lindsay Rodolico, AFL Dancer – Philadelphia, AFL Choreographer – New Jersey,
AFL All Star, MLB Junior Choreographer – LA and Philadelphia
Laura EilersErin Donnelly** Erin Donnelly, NFL Cheerleader – St Louis, NFL Pro Bowl Cheerleader
** Marla Viturello, NFL Cheerleader – Philadelphia, NFL Pro Bowl Cheerleader,
AFL Choreographer and Director – Philadelphia
** Laura Eilers, NFL Cheerleader – Kansas City and St Louis, AIFA Director – Richmond Lady Raiders (VA)

Complete info here.

Eagles Cheerleaders Around Town

It’s an the bye week for the Philadelphia Eagles, so no parties this week. But I’ve been so swamped at work, that I haven’t posted photos from last week’s Away Game Party from Buffalo Wild Wings in Delaware.

See if you can guess who was the sponsor of this party:

Tarcey and Sarah

Tarcey and Sarah

Tracey

Tracey

Sarah

Sarah

[Sarah at PhiladelphiaEagles.com]

[Tracey at PhiladelphiaEagles.com]

Gold Rush in London

The San Francisco 49ers Gold Rush are in England as part of the NFL’s annual game in Wembley Stadium. Here are a couple of photos with London Mayor Boris Johnson.

boris49ers1

boris49ers2

More about the meeting between the Mayor and the Gold Rush here. And a BBC Video about the Gold Rush here.

Video: LA Kings Ice Crew Calendar

Pacemates Meet and Entertain Fans As Season Tips-Off

pacersoct10a_e
Pacemates (lower row) Sarrah, Joanna, Jessica P, Melanie, (upper row), Shea, Desiree, Meredith, and Erin

The annual Indiana Pacers FanJam took place last Sunday at downtown’s Conseco Fieldhouse, and fans took the opportunity to enjoy a fun afternoon of, not only free entertainment, but free food! 

As usual, the Pacemates were part of the festivities to get us psyched for a new season of NBA action.  Two groups of Pacemates posed for photos with fans on the concourses from the start of FanJam until an hour passed and it was time for everyone to head to the court to see the team. 

pacersoct10d_e

(Lower row) Megan, Jessica R, (top row) Kayla, Tamara, Ashley, Jarin, and Courtney pose with a FanJam fan

Many our favorite Pacemates are back plus some talented rookies, including Desiree, who is a “rookie” Pacemate, but a former Colts Cheerleader.  Way to go, doing it two-sport Bo Jackson style, Desiree!

The Pacers didn’t scrimmage on the court but competed in events like “chocolate unicorn” (i.e., stacking ho-ho’s on your forehead).  In a “Name That Tune” type of competition, players tried to guess what Danny Granger was “singing” (yes, we admire his, um, bravery to sing in a large, amplified building).  The Pacemates also took center court for a performance. Yeah, it is fun to see the Pacers play some birthday party games, but the Pacemates gave the crowd a real performance.

Pacemates perform to help us forget about Danny's singing

Pacemates perform to help us forget about Danny's singing

Then the Pacers participated in the tradition of the rookies getting to show their dance moves.  The Pacemates lined up to give it a Soul Train vibe.

A young fan helps show the Pacers how it is done on the dance floor, and if there are kids around, Tamara (right) will be making it fun for all

A young fan helps show the Pacers how it is done on the dance floor, and if there are kids around, Tamara (right) will be making it fun for all

So how about next year Pacers, let’s get the Pacemates in the fun.  How about a Pacer/Pacemate “Dancing with the Stars” competition?  Or a competition between Pacers and Pacemates in some of the fun games?  Bet the Pacemates emerge victorious!

Have a great season Pacemates!

Ashley is back for her third season as Pacemate, and her bio says she has Roxette and Def Leppard on her iPod.  Well, "She's Got the Look" alright!

Ashley is back for her third season as Pacemate, and her bio says she has Roxette and Def Leppard on her iPod. Well, "She's Got the Look" alright!

2011 Minnesota Swarm Performance Team Selected

By Jessica Baltes
MNSwarm.com

With the 2011 season quickly approaching, the Minnesota Swarm have selected the members of the Swarm Performance Team (SPT) after six hours of evaluations at CorePower Yoga in Highland Park. The event kicked off on Saturday at 5 p.m. with 29 girls in attendance.

Head Coach and Coordinator Tami Krause and Coach Allison Drusch welcomed the SPT hopefuls to the tryouts, along with their panel of judges.

“It’s very nerve racking as a contestant, but most of all it’s a lot of fun. They learn a quick routine and then they come and audition. It’s really a pretty condensed night,” said former SPT member and Coach Allison Drusch. “It is very difficult with only ten spots. There is so much talent there we could literally take almost every girl that is coming here to audition.”

Carrie and Krisandra, two former members of the SPT, were on hand to teach the girls the audition routine. The girls were then split into groups of three to perform the routine to JET’s “Roll Over DJ” for the judges.

swarm2011
Back Row: Jenna, Kara, Kristin, Annalisa, Kayla
Front Row: Betsy, Ginger, Jessica, Kelly, Beth

In addition to being able to perform at a high-level, SPT members have to be able to interact with fans and generate excitement. “We are looking for professionals that will be ambassadors on behalf of the organization. They represent the organization at appearances, out in the community, on game days doing suite visits, on camera elements and also being a marketing tool for the organization,” said Head Coach Tami Krause.

For the second year, the SPT is partnering with CorePower Yoga. The SPT members will be working out and taking classes at CorePower Yoga locations across the Twin Cities area.

The team will unveil their new uniforms at the home opener on Jan. 8 against the Rochester Knighthawks. The team will also produce a calendar for the second year in a row, which will feature an element of charitable cause.

“After a very tough decision making process we have selected what will surely be the best Swarm Performance Team to date! We have five veteran team members and five rookie team members – rounding out the perfect blend for the upcoming season,” stated Krause. “We couldn’t be more excited with the talent and can’t wait for the first game!”

Season ticket holders will have the opportunity to meet the members of the 2011 SPT at the Holiday Bowl on Sunday, Dec. 5 at Brunswick Zone XL in Lakeville.

Ajacian’s Acting Career Has Taken off in Past Year

By Mike Ruta
DurhamRegion.com

Everything Nikki Grant touches seems to turn nikkigrantto gold for her.

The 21-year-old Ajax dancer and actor says she “begged” her parents as a 10 year old to let her try dancing. After just one year at her studio, she made the competitive dance team. Eight years later Grant auditioned to become a member of the Toronto Raptors Dance Pak and for two seasons, 2007/2008 and 2008/2009, was its youngest member. She was accepted back for a third season but turned the job down as, after less than a year of taking acting lessons and acting, she landed a major role in a feature film.

Grant admits she got into acting to become famous. And while that may happen in the future, she’s had a change of heart.

“It’s definitely for the love of the art because if you don’t have that it’s hard to succeed in this business,” she says.

The aforementioned film is Beat the World, due for release in March. Grant plays Cherry, a dancer who she says doesn’t have a lot of self-esteem and uses arrogance to hide the fact. She was in Berlin this past summer where some of it was shot.

“It’s about three dance crews from across the world that are battling to get to Beat the World, this dance competition,” she says, noting Cherry is “basically the bad girl” who has designs on one of the male dancers, who has a girlfriend.

Just as she was finishing up her work on Beat the World, Grant found herself on another set, dancing in Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam, released in September on the Family Channel and starring the Jonas Brothers. She followed that up with an appearance in an episode of a new TV series, Lost Girl.

If all of this seems like a natural progression, it was: Grant says she got into dancing because a few friends danced. And while she was a member of the Dance Pak, she learned a lot of the other dancers acted as well and she decided to give it a shot.

As you might have guessed, Grant’s extremely outgoing and loves performing in front of a crowd. So, when it came time to be in front of the camera, nerves were not an issue.

“It was so exciting to me,” she says. “It is as if the camera wasn’t there and I was another person.”

She likes acting because it allows her to explore different aspects of her personality.

Grant says the support of her parents is what has carried her though all the rapid changes she’s had in her life in the past few years.

It’s no surprise that the former Ajax High School student has her sights set on her next challenge.

“My next big goal for myself is I’d like to be a series regular on a TV show,” Grant says.

[Nikki Grant at imdb.com]

Attention: Kentucky Girls!

Audition for the Lady Stallions!
The Lady Stallions are the dance team for the ABA Bluegrass Stallions

Sunday, October 31, 2010
Georgetown College
Davis-Reid Gymnasium

Registration: 12:30 pm
Audition Begins: 1:00 pm
Click here to download the audition flyer


Timberwolves Dancers Ready for the Season

From KARE11.com

The Minnesota Timberwolves open the regular season with plenty of new faces cheering them on. The dance team has 16 girls this year, 13 of which are rookies. The girls were chosen out of 200, which was the highest turnout on record for the franchise.

They practice two times a week for four to five hours, make community and charity appearances and of course dance at all the home games. In addition, almost all of them have other full-time jobs or are full-time students.

[Minnesota Timberwolves Dancers]

Monday Morning Cheerleader: Melissa of the Chargers

By Steve Mazzucchi
Esquire

Down 20-3 entering the fourth quarter, a lot of teams might start daydreaming about hot showers, cold beer, and women not unlike the one pictured above. Especially against Tom Brady and the Patriots. But after finding innovative ways to give away a game — easy turnovers, dropped passes, ill-timed penalties — the Chargers somehow rallied to within 23-20 and lined up for a game-tying field goal with under 30 seconds to play. Then came another penalty, and a thunderous clang off the post: this year’s 2-5 Bolts in a nutshell.

And yet, if this troubled but talented team possesses half the electricity of rookie cheerleader Melissa, a playoff run may still materialize. The Brooklyn-born, 100 percent Sicilian runs half-marathons, started her own web-solutions company in 2005, and is developing an online community for people who are deaf or have severe hearing loss like herself. “I would love to be an ambassador to kids, to show them they don’t have to let a disability get them down,” she explains. Consider us inspired.

melissachagrers

ESQUIRE: Let’s start off positive. Is the weather at least nice in San Diego these days?

MELISSA: You know what’s funny, finally the sun came out today, but it’s been raining for the past two weeks. Every home game, the weather’s been gorgeous.

ESQ: Ever seen such a combination of brilliance and ineptitude in the same game?

MEL: This one was really crazy. We were night-and-day from the first quarter to the fourth quarter. I guess it takes a while for the guys to get warmed up. After the first half, they start to come together as a team. You can see when it clicks, and they start to play really good football.

ESQ: Had the fans bailed by then, or did they stick around?

MEL: They stuck around! This was the first home game that wasn’t blacked out, the stadium was the loudest I’ve heard it, and it was completely packed the whole four quarters. A girl near me was holding up a sign that read, “True Charger fans never give up.” Even when we’re losing, they still support the team.

ESQ: How big of a factor is LT leaving, Shawne Merriman hardly playing, and Vincent Jackson not playing at all so far?

MEL: Going into the season I was a little bit worried. LT was the first Chargers jersey I ever bought. But I think we have a great mix of youth and experience. Antonio Gates is incredible. He’s like 10 of me, but he’s fast. He now has the sixth-most receiving yards ever for a tight end. Philip Rivers is phenomenal and a great leader. Darren Sproles, Patrick Crayton, Mike Tolbert, Ryan Mathews, Malcolm Floyd, who was out today — all those guys as a team can make it work.

ESQ: Any encouraging signs from this game?

MEL: Well, yeah, the fact that we did come back in the fourth quarter. Our defense did great, sacking Tom Brady four times and hitting him a lot. We had twice as many yards as the Pats did. Silly mistakes are costing us games, but I think it’s something that’s fixable and that we can overcome. We have the number-one offense and defense. We’re the best 2-5 team in the NFL.

ESQ: Plus, your quarterback doesn’t have girl hair.

MEL: Oh, right. I had never seen the Patriots play in person before. I was expecting Tom Brady to be dominating, such a hot shot. And they won, yes, but I don’t think he played very well. Rivers was the better quarterback. Brady’s hair might be slowing him down.

ESQ: The 2008 Chargers started 4-8, then won their last four games to capture the division. Think something similar could happen this year?

MEL: We always seem to start slow, and we always seem to come back at the end of the season. I would love to be cheering at a couple playoff games. Of course it’s disappointing when we lose, but we’ve won the AFC West the past four years. Until that doesn’t happen, you’ve gotta believe.

ESQ: Last week, the NFL announced it would suspend players for dirty hits. Did this game look any different to you?

MEL: I don’t think players were being any less aggressive. I can understand the frustration of players to be fined and suspended for doing what they know, but safety should be the top priority, and it’s not like this is a new rule, it’s just being enforced. They’re still playing football out there. No one got hurt during the game, so maybe it’s having a positive impact already.

ESQ: This is your first year on the squad. Have you made any rookie mistakes?

MEL: We have this thing where if you forget to bring something to practice, you have radio duty. You have to lug around this big boombox that plays our music. I forgot my warm-ups the second practice, so I was the first rookie to have radio duty. Fortunately someone else forgot something the next day.

ESQ: You do half marathons. Does a guy have to be able to run that far to impress you?

MEL: Fitness is important to me, but I like to be able to run circles around him! So I guess he can’t be so out of shape that I can’t because it takes too long. He doesn’t have to look like he’s on Jersey Shore, but yes, he should be fit.

[Melissa at Chargers.com]

Atlanta Diamonds and Pearls Show Team Auditions

xplosionauds

We are looking for more beautiful-fun-fit-energetic ladies! Our squad is the official cheer/dance team for two football teams and two basketball teams!

“The Diamonds & Pearls Show Team”
Atlanta’s Elite Professional Dance Team

Preliminary dance auditions are November 6, 2010 from 10:00am to noon at Gold’s Gym downtown Atlanta
215 Peachtree Street, Lower Level, Atlanta, GA 30303 (Next to Hardrock Cafe)
$10.00 audition fee (cash only)
*You will be taught a brief routine

Finals will be held on November 7, 2010 from noon to 1:00pm at Club Echelon 3000
The finals are open to the public. Dancers are encouraged to invite family and friends out to the finals. You will be given extra points on crowd appeal!
FINALS: FREE ADMISSION- FREE PARKING- DRINK SPECIALS- BUFFET- ALL FOOTBALL GAMES WILL BE ON THE FLAT SCREENS

OUR STYLE: Hip-hop jazz fusion (similar to NFL/NBA squads)

PERFORMANCES:
Atlanta Xplosion Football games, West GA Falcons Football games, GA Lions Basketball games, GA Knights Basketball games

Requirements
• Female Dancers who are 18 years of age or older by the audition date
• Must be available for all phases of the audition process and be prepared to stay as long as necessary
• Must provide one non-returnable photo (5″x7″ or larger preferred). Photos are used for identification purposes.
• Must be of good moral character and successfully complete all pre-employment screening
• Must have dependable transportation to rehearsals, performances, and appearances.

Attire
• Dance or athletic half-top (stomach must be showing)
• Hot pants, dance trunks, or shorts (no full or capri length pants)
• Dance sneakers, tennis shoes, or jazz shoes with non-marking soles
• Flesh tone hose, tights, or fishnets
• Performance ready hair and make-up

What we’re looking for
• Showmanship, personality, energy, and enthusiasm!
• Dancers who are well spoken and can represent the “Diamonds & Pearls” in a professional and mature manner
• Dance technique, style and ability to pick up dance choreography
• Consistent positive attitude
• Strong teamwork skills
• Physical fitness and personal appearance
• If you cannot commit for the full season, please do not audition

What you can expect if you are selected as a member of the Season two squad
• Experiencing the excitement of performing in front of crowds
• Local and national exposure
• Making a positive and profound impact in the Metro Atlanta Community and surrounding areas
• Making lifelong friends with your teammates
• MOST IMPORTANTLY…BEING PART OF THE ACTION

[DiamondsAndPearlsShowTeam.com]

*Need assistance with audition attire? Visit our website and Facebook page for ideas

Tennessee Titans Cheerleaders on MTV!

This Monday (November 1st) on MTV’s World of Jenks, the TennesseeTitans Cheerleaders (and Director Stacy Kinder) will be the subjects of this week’s episode where director, Andrew Jenks discovers what it’s REALLY like to be an NFL Cheerleader. The primary cheerleader featured is Jessi and she does a GREAT job representing the team. Tune in: Monday, 9:00pm Central (10 on the east coast) on MTV.

titansmtv

Watch a preview here.

Dolphins cheerleader helps pick Sawgrass Springs Middle School squad

By Lisa J. Huriash
Sun Sentinel
October 27, 2010

For days, 127 girls practiced shaking their shoulders and perfecting their dance moves, hoping to land one of 25 spots on the Sawgrass Springs Middle School cheerleading squad.

Wednesday was tryout day. The competition was tough but it was who was judging them that made it more nerve-wracking. A Miami Dolphins cheerleader, Jennifer Fernandez, would help make the decision — and you can’t fake your moves in front of a professional.

“I look up to older cheerleaders,” said Zoanna Lake, 12, a seventh-grader from Coral Springs. “I fell asleep at 1 [a.m.] practicing the cheer. I made my sister watch it.”

“I’m excited and scared,” said Tiffany Castaneda, 12, a seventh-grader from Margate as she waited for her number to be called. “I’ve never tried out for anything.” But she was hoping she had what the team needed — “I love to scream,” she said.

Fernandez, 22, of Fort Lauderdale, twice a week volunteers her time at South Florida elementary schools, teaching a cheer camp and talking to students about making good choices.

2010-mdc_jennifer-fernandez3“The Miami Dolphins have given so much to me. It’s good to give back as much as possible,” said Fernandez, who has been with the team for four years.

Fernandez and two assistant principals judged the middle schoolers on their dance routine, appearance, jumps, timing, voice projection and spirit.

Fernandez said attitude was what she cared about the most. She said there have been Dolphins cheerleaders chosen who didn’t perform every step perfectly during tryouts, but had the winning attitude.

“You can learn anything if you’re given the time,” Fernandez said. “You can teach somebody to dance but you can’t teach somebody to love what they do.”

This is the fourth year Dolphins cheerleaders volunteered their time at Sawgrass Springs, the only Broward school that has requested them as judges, said Emily Newton, team cheerleading director.

“It’s important on both sides, that we are supporting the school systems and cheerleading programs,” Newton said. “And on our end, you always think one of the reasons cheerleaders come to be on this team is they are role models in the community, [they] go out and act as role models and encourage them [students] and support them and select a great team for their season.”

Sawgrass Springs cheerleading coach Ingrid Hillestad Molina, who was a Dolphins cheerleader in 1988 and 1989, said she tries to impart what her own choreographer taught her: When you sit on the bleachers, sit correctly; proper etiquette at all times — you’re ladies; stand up tall; smile.

“It’s a lot of work, but it’s a lot of fun” said Emily Buckley, 12, a seventh-grader from Coral Springs, who was trying out for the spot she held last year.

The middle school squad travels with both the boys and girls basketball teams to cheer them on to victory. The season lasts November through December, unless there’s a championship.

Maylinn Arroyo, 12, a seventh-grader from Sunrise, also wants to keep her spot. “It’s so exciting getting the crowd ready for the basketball players,” she said.

The names of the winners were expected to be posted by the locker room Thursday morning.