“One Team. One Dream.” That’s the motto for this year’s Arizona Cardinals Cheerleaders. This past weekend, the Arizona Cardinals held their preliminary auditions for their 2017 cheerleading squad. Over 150 young women were in attendance, vying for one of the 28 positions on the team and a chance to share the dream. With 15 or 16 returning veterans trying out again, the competition for one of the available spots on the squad would be fierce.
Spanning several days, the 2017 auditions would be a grueling process. For the preliminary auditions, three dance routines would be taught and performed in front a panel of judges before the finalists would be announced. The remaining girls would undergo an extensive interview and then endure a two day final audition before the team would be announced.
On Saturday, there were two rounds of judging. For the first round, 150 aspiring cheerleaders would learn their first routine and perform the dance before a panel of judges. Candidates were evaluated on their appearance, fitness, and dance technique. Cuts were made and the survivors, who numbered near ninety, would return for round two. They were joined by the returning veterans and a second dance would be learned and performed before a panel of judges before the finalists would be announced. But there would be no respite on this day as the finalists learned a third dance routine, which would be performed on Sunday for the semi-final round.
The Arizona Cardinals Cheerleaders auditions are one of my favorite events to cover and it has been a challenge the past two years because the event has been held at University of Phoenix Stadium. That can be a daunting task given that the event was held in a darkened conference room. And the audition process is long and grueling…grueling for the dancers and grueling for the photographers. On Saturday, we started at 9:00 am and didn’t finish until a little after 4:15 pm. But that’s why this is a great event to shoot. It is a challenge. And that’s why I love covering these auditions because when pushed to your limits, you have to rise to the challenge.
Semi-Final Round Rehearsal
150 girls started the day with a dream. By the end of Day One, only 60 girls remained. They would go onto the semi-final round on Sunday, where they were perform two dance routines before a separate panel of judges. They would be scored and more cuts would be made.
The challenge of the dream…is to rise.
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I would like to thank Kristina Phippen and the Arizona Cardinals organization for allowing me to cover their auditions. I had an amazing time and hope to see them soon.