Photo of the Day – January 29

A New York Lizards Dancer

Monroe’s Sea Gal, Jessica Irwin, Returns to Super Bowl

By Chris Hendrickson
The Monroe Monitor

jesz1Monroe’s favorite Sea Gal is headed off to the Super Bowl for the second year in a row, and she’s pretty excited about it.

To Jessica Irwin, a five-year veteran of the Sea Gals professional dance team, there was never any question about who would triumph in that crucial game on Jan. 18 against the Green Bay Packers. She knew in her heart that the Seahawks couldn’t lose.

“It was the best game ever,” Irwin said. “I’m just really excited to have the chance to be a Super Bowl cheerleader two years in a row… especially after that game, it’s still so surreal.”

Not only is Irwin looking forward to dancing in her second Super Bowl, but the 5-foot-2-inch, 25-year-old dancer was selected along with one of her teammates to travel to Arizona early, to participate in media day on Tuesday, Jan. 27. She will have the opportunity to represent the Sea Gals while mingling with the media and players from both the Seahawks and the New England Patriots.

Irwin’s success as a Sea Gal can be attributed to her spirited dedication, her strong sense of commitment to the team and her lifelong love of dance.

“Dance has always been my No. 1 passion,” Irwin said. “I love to dance – I couldn’t live without it.”

When the 2008 Monroe High School graduate decided to try out for the Monroe Bearcat cheerleading team in her senior year, it was on a bit of a lark. A self-proclaimed dork with an affinity for being “alternative,” people were more likely to catch her in a mosh pit than holding pom-poms. But once she made the team, she quickly realized that she loved everything about it. Her only regret was not having tried out sooner.

It was also around this time that one of her dance instructors decided to try out for the Sea Gals, and shared her experiences during the competition with her students.

“She was just telling us how fun it was and how you make so many friends,” Irwin said. “We were there throughout her whole process of getting ready for it.”

Irwin knew that becoming a professional Sea Gals dancer would allow her to continue her passion for dance, even after she graduated from high school, and so the decision to try out for the team was a relatively simple one.

She went into the preliminary competition in 2008 while still in high school, with absolutely no idea what to expect. Competing along with a couple hundred other girls, the competition involved performing a freestyle dance routine. Her performance was a success, and she advanced to the next level of competition: the semi-finals.

At that point, the competition kicked up a notch. The dancers were taught a routine and given only 24 hours to master it before having to perform it in front of the judges. For Irwin, it was a whole new style of dancing.

“I was so used to being a ballerina,” Irwin said. “This was straight, typical Sea Gals style… head-whips and turns and kicks. It was so fun and so different than anything else I’d ever done.”

Again, Irwin’s performance was a success, and she advanced into the finals. Then she participated in an interview, answered questions using a microphone, had her photograph taken, and learned another dance routine for the final portion of the audition.

After that last leg of competition was complete, she learned that she hadn’t made the squad. But instead of looking at it as a defeat, Jessica decided to use it as a learning experience. The audition gave her a clear idea of what she needed to strive for, and so without missing a beat, she focused on honing her dance skills even more.

“It teaches you so much to not make it,” Irwin said. “I was really young and so determined to come back the next year and make it.”

She competed again in 2009, but became unsure of herself in the midst of the competition, stymied by self-doubt. She again made it to the finals but didn’t make the team.

Still, she didn’t give up, and indeed, the third time was the charm. In 2010, Irwin became a Sea Gal and hasn’t looked back since.

The Sea Gals professional dance squad is made up of 32 dancers, who are divided up into four smaller squads based on height. They practice two to three times a week at the Seahawks training facility in Renton, for four to five hours at a time. This year will be Irwin’s second Super Bowl as a squad captain.

As squad captain, Jessica is responsible for making sure her squad knows which routine to start performing and when. This means that once a song starts to play, she has only seconds to communicate with her squad via hand-signals and code-words, so that they know which dance to start performing. She is also responsible for communicating with the other three squad captains to keep everyone in sync.

“It’s a big responsibility, but an honor to be chosen,” she said.

She has to keep her eyes on the clock, as well as on the field, and be ready at a moment’s notice to shift gears and communicate with her squad the instant there’s a change in the music.

To Irwin, there are many different things that she loves about being a Sea Gal, like cheering on her favorite football team. But at the top of that list are the 12s.

“I love the 12s – and I love the interaction that I have with them,” she said.

Another thing she loves about being a Sea Gal is the opportunity to travel the world. Irwin is part of a smaller team made up of 10 Sea Gals called Show Group, which performs at places like the Washington State Fair and the Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Tacoma. In March, the Sea Gals Show Group will travel to Europe for three weeks where they will perform on different military bases.

“It will be one of the most rewarding experiences,” Irwin said, “to get to go visit with them and hopefully brighten their day.”

But for now, it’s all about the upcoming Super Bowl, which will take place on Sunday, Feb. 1. Irwin is looking forward to seeing how Arizona hosts the Super Bowl in comparison to New York, and is eager for the friendly Arizona weather. She is looking forward to dancing her heart out while rooting for the Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX.

[Jessica at Seahawks.com]

[Jessica AllPro3 All-Star]

This Patriots Cheerleader is Also a Culinary Student

By Gillian O’Callaghan
Boston Globe

lisa3LisaMarie Ianuzzi, a culinary arts student at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, had to tell her instructors she was going to miss some classes this week because she’s going to the Super Bowl.

Ianuzzi doesn’t have a ticket to the game, but then, she doesn’t need one. She’s in her third season as a member of the Patriots Cheerleaders, and on Sunday she’ll be cheering at Super Bowl XLIX.

The daughter of a New Jersey restaurateur, the cheerleader moved to Rhode Island for the job but was always interested in cooking. So she enrolled at Johnson & Wales and last spring earned an associate’s degree in baking and pastry arts; the culinary arts degree will be her second.

Ianuzzi started dancing before she was 3 years old. Her other two passions — food and football — have also been part of her life since childhood. “Growing up my father and I always watched football and the Food Network,” she says. “That was our thing. We were on the couch together watching Emeril or the games on Sunday.” Ralph Ianuzzi owns Restaurant L, a bistro in Allendale, N.J., and though Ianuzzi worked as a hostess in the dining room through high school, she was constantly in the kitchen to see what was going on.

The 25-year-old grew up as a New York Giants fan, but she’s had a long-standing attachment to the Patriots as well. “The Giants, the Patriots, and the Dallas Cowboys — those were the teams my dad respected, and when those teams were playing you were quiet,” Ianuzzi says.

Being a fan and a dancer led her to the National Football League. After graduating from college in 2011, she looked around for cheering opportunities. On her first tryout in the spring of 2012, Ianuzzi earned a spot with the Patriots Cheerleaders. Once settled in Rhode Island, she began a marketing position at an athletic equipment company there, but found it hard to focus on track and field supplies. “I still had the itch to cook. It was distracting. At work I was thinking of baking,” she says.

lisa2

LisaMarie Ianuzzi at Johnson & Wales University in Providence.

Within a year she changed to a job as a server and prep cook with Twist Bakery Cafe in Millis. Professional training was still on her mind. She remembers thinking, “This is the most opportune time to go back to school.”

‘It takes a lot of preparation for both professions. . . . For both careers you have to be very dedicated and precise.’

During the season, this means balancing the demands of her football job and the rigors of an intensive culinary education. This adds up to two 3-hour cheering practices during the week, a full day at Pats’ home games, and six-hour cooking classes at Johnson & Wales beginning at 7 a.m. on weekdays.

Associate chef-instructor Fred Haddad, who taught Ianuzzi last fall, wasn’t aware of her responsibilities outside of his classroom until the two were chatting about sports after class one day. “When she said she was involved with the Patriots I thought she was joking,” Haddad recalls. “But then she gave me a flyer with a photo of her with the team.” Haddad admires Ianuzzi’s dedication to her education. “She’s a true professional, always prepared and a real team player in the classroom,” he says.

lisa1
Ianuzzi looked over a pork loin during her meat cutting skills class.

Last summer Ianuzzi worked as an assistant pastry chef at Providence’s Bacaro Restaurant, making vanilla-bean cheesecake with rhubarb jam, and fig and plum tart with creme Anglaise. But when she shares her culinary skills with her cheering team, the menu is a bit different. “I am mindful that they are athletes, and they work very hard to keep a healthy lifestyle,” Ianuzzi says. She might offer the squad a frozen pumpkin pie made with Greek yogurt and spices mounded in a crust of ground oats and graham crackers.

Her fellow cheerleaders don’t always understand what being a culinary student entails. “They think some of the things that I do in school are wacky,” she says, perhaps because she sent photos showing her cutting apart a big beef round in a meat-cutting class she’s taking now. She laughs at their reactions.

Her worlds may seem like an odd pairing, but Ianuzzi sees them as complementing each other. “I think the two go hand in hand. It takes a lot of preparation for both professions.” For school, she has tools she has to keep in a certain way, and for cheerleading, it’s the same. “For both careers you have to be very dedicated and precise,” she says.

On Sunday she’ll be at University of Phoenix stadium cheering. “That is something I could only dream of doing,” she says.

She calls the big day “literally the icing on a delicious cake.”

[LisaMarie at Patriots.com]

Chicago Blitz Girlz are new addition to pro dance scene

blitz

The Chicago Bltiz, a proud member of the American Indoor Football League, is expanding its organization to include for the first time ever a professional dance team. Jenny Hinz, the Director of the Chicago Blitz Girlz informs us of their upcoming Auditions, and additional information is below:

Chicago, Are you Ready to Go Pro?

Chicago Blitz Girlz Prep-Classes
February 12 8:30-10:30pm
*FFC Gym East Lakeview, 3657 N Pinegrove Ave, Chicago Il 60613.

February 19 8:30-10:30pm
*FFC Gym East Lakeview, 3657 N Pinegrove Ave, Chicago Il 60613.

Prep-Classes are $15 per session or $25 for both. Limited spots available email chicagoblitzdancers@gmail.com

$15 per session or $25 for both February 12 and February 19 Prep Classes. Come camera ready as we will be filming the web series: Chicago Blitz Girlz, Making the Team!Email chicagoblitzdancers@gmail.com to register or receive additional information.

Why Come to Prep-Classes?
1. Brush up on technique, flexibility, style and choreography
2. Get a vibe for the style of choreography
3. You obviously love to dance, so dance
4. Dancers who audition and make the team need to be featured in the web series we will be filming during the prep-class and auditions

Sad News: Former Charger Girl Loses Battle to Cancer

From Fox5 San Diego

lylyFormer Charger girl, Lyly Koenig-Mendez, lost her battle to breast cancer on January 20, 2015 in Houston, Texas.

“After hearing the bad news of not being able to treat her for the breast cancer which had metastasized to her liver and had spread… we decided it was best to spend the rest of the time with family,” James Mendez, Lyly’s husband, said Monday.

Mendez, who many described as the life of the party, spent six years cheering in the NFL. Five of those years was spent with the St. Louis Rams. From 2001 to 2002, she cheered for the San Diego Chargers, where she met her best friend, former Charger girl, Tracey Lackovich.

Lackovich recalled what she remembered of Mendez during their time in camp, “[Lyly was] always so happy go lucky. So fun. Her high pitched voice coming into practice, having nicknames for everyone.”

She continued on to say Mendez was a true fighter.

“[Lyly was] like a rock. You wouldn’t even know she was sick… I’m just overwhelmed at the amount of people Lyly has influenced. She clearly left a lasting impression in the hearts and the minds of so many women,” Lackovich said.

Mendez was an orphan from Vietnam. She was rescued in “Operation Baby Lift” in the 1970’s. Camp Pendleton received the orphans rescued by the U.S. military during that time. That’s where her family adopted Lyly, then raised her in a town outside of St. Louis, Missouri.

Mendez’s battle with cancer was brutal. It started in 2006 when she was diagnosed with Stage I breast cancer. After treatment, she was clear of cancer just one year after diagnosis.

In 2009, she was diagnosed with recurrent breast cancer.

“The time it attached to her rib cage, at her sternum,” her husband said.

Following more rounds of chemotherapy and radiation followed as well as surgery, she was said to be cancer free.

Soon after, she was a new bride to James Mendez of the U.S. Army. However, the day he was deployed to Kuwait in 2012, Lyly discovered she had Stage IV cancer that had spread to her bones, liver, lungs and lymph nodes.

One of her final requests before she passed was to have her ashes released in her birthplace of Vietnam, as well as her two favorite beach towns, including San Diego and Miami.The 40th anniversary of “Operation Baby Lift” is scheduled for the end of March, which is when her family hopes to bring her ashes to Vietnam to be reunited with her brothers and sisters. A fundraising website has been set up to help her family make that wish a reality.

A Teacher’s ‘Pinch Me’ Moment: Cheering The Super Bowl From The Sidelines

From WESA.fm

laurenMost teachers will watch the Super Bowl at home, cracking open a beer maybe, or yelling at their flat-screen TVs. Lauren Schneider will be right there on the sidelines, cheering on Tom Brady and her team just feet from the action.

Schneider, a middle school health and fitness instructor at Wellesley Middle School in Wellesley, Mass., is also a member of the New England Patriots cheerleading squad.

It’s a gig she’s always wanted — her mom likes to say she “came out dancing,” and she just never stopped.

For eight years, Schneider went on countless auditions — each year vying for a spot on the Patriots’ or Celtics’ squads. Each year, she came up short. She says she eventually took a year off to regroup, train and build her confidence for a final attempt at her dream.

Last year, when the final selections were posted online, it was her father who called to tell her the news: She had made it.

Schneider remembers her first game under the bright lights of Gillette Stadium was filled with surreal “pinch me” moments. Schneider knew that with cheerleading, where injuries are common, any moment could be her last. And next year, if she wants to be part of the team again, she’ll have to audition and win her place all over again — a team policy.

The Super Bowl marks the end of Schneider’s first year of professional cheerleading — a complicated year of balancing both professional lives.

“It’s been a bit of a roller coaster this year,” Schneider says.

She believes it’s a good thing it took her more than one audition to make the team. Handing the responsibilities of being a new teacher was challenging enough.

With the Super Bowl ending late on Sunday night, for the first time this year Schneider will have to miss class the next day.

But she planned ahead: “I haven’t taken a personal day all year.”

So on Sunday, in between your second helping of wings and the debates over which commercial was the best — keep your eye out for the blond-haired teacher cheering, smiling and soaking in every moment on the field.

[Lauren at Patriots.com]

Road Trip: The 2015 Pro Bowl

The Pro Bowl is a fun filled week of activities for the football fan…or at least it was when I went back in 1995 and 1996. Back then, it was held in Honolulu, Hawaii and it was pretty much five days of football fun set in the most beautiful tropic resort area in the United States. If you tired of schmoozing with retired NFL greats or shooting the Pro Bowl Cheerleaders, you could always check out one of the many attractions that Hawaii has to offer or hang out in the North Shore, like I did.

Good times.

So when I heard that the Pro Bowl was coming to Glendale, Arizona, I was intrigued by the possibilities. And when Mad Max, our former Arizona Correspondent who now lives in the Midwest, invited me to go to the game, I was excited at the prospect of shooting the Pro Bowl Cheerleaders once again and checking out this new fangled, NFL fantasy football game they now call the Pro Bowl.

Well to make a long story short, the game is not what it once was and the NFL may be struggling to figure out how to maintain the Pro Bowl’s relevance in an era where All Star games are more like MTV’s old Rock N’ Jock than real sports play.

At least the Pro Bowl Cheerleaders were the same…and by that I mean top notch!

2015 Pro Bowl 032

2015 Pro Bowl 064

2015 Pro Bowl 175

2015 Pro Bowl 052

2015 Pro Bowl 060

2015 Pro Bowl 078

2015 Pro Bowl 170

2015 Pro Bowl 157

2015 Pro Bowl 054

2015 Pro Bowl 083

2015 Pro Bowl 049

I will say this about the Pro Bowl, the vibe at this game was fun and mellow. Fans of all teams mingled together in the Gameday Fan Plaza, sharing stories of the season and generally having a great time together. There was none of the usual alcohol induced bravado or animus that you normally experience at a regular season game. It was chill and people were having a good time, a good time with fans from other teams.

Continue reading Road Trip: The 2015 Pro Bowl

New York Cosmos Girls Auditions and Prep Clinic

cosmos

Photo of the Day – January 28

caitlin

Washington Redskins Cheerleader Ambassador Caitlin at the Sideline Prep Workshop on Saturday

2015 LA KISS Girls Auditions: Boot Camp!

The last time we saw our aspiring LA KISS Girls, they were headed out of Equinox Irvine. As they made their way back to their vehicles, some slumped in defeat, while others felt renewed determination to make the team.

On Sunday, the finalists reconvened for the next step in the process: boot camp. Never having been to one of these before, I wasn’t sure what to expect. All I knew was that there would be a workout and more dancing, and it would take a couple of hours.

2015 Kiss Girls Audition - Boot Camp_0006

The first thing I learned that day was that Lindsay was injured. She had sustained a couple of gnarly looking curling iron burns that morning and could not get over how much they hurt. Curling irons and flat irons can get to upwards of 400 degrees, and they can do some real damage. Lindsay’s burns had already started turning lots of interesting colors. Nevertheless, she was determined to soldier on. Beauty is pain y’all. Dab some ointment on that bad boy and let’s keep it moving.

The second thing I learned was that the original group of finalists from the Jan 17th audition would be joined by several dancers who had attended a second open call on the 24th and made it through to finals.

New girl!

New girl! (Taylor)

Another new girl!

Another new girl! (Raquel)

Now there were almost 40 finalists all told, and as I looked around the room, it was obvious that no few of them had taken Lindsay’s advice to make themselves look a bit more KISS-able. (See what I did there?) Quite a few had changed their hair and makeup, and many had changed outfits. In most cases, it was an improvement.

A few of them later learned (the hard way) that there is a reason for the old advice to test drive your audition outfit (both the top AND the bottom) ahead of time. Especially if you’re wearing something that’s not meant for vigorous activity. I beg you, ladies. Dance. Roll around on the floor, jog in place. Do a 2 minute plank test. Make sure everything you wear to an audition will stay intact and on your body through the entire process.

[/end public service announcement]

Half of last year’s KGs were also in the mix, ready to fight to win their uniforms back. Five of the six had assisted at the open call: Julianne, Alexis, Xandi, Sheldon, and Niaps (pronounced NAPE-iss.) Vanessa, a sixth KISS Girl who had been a the open call chose not to re-audition. But the good news is, Jules from last year was there to audition for a second season on the team.

Most of the ladies arrived well in advance of the noon call time, expecting to go through a short workout and then learn the rest of the choreography for the finals dance. They had no idea a twist was coming. (Mwahahaha…..)

They got started promptly at noon, starting with a workout guided by the team’s new trainer, Jada. She put them through their paces, with walking lunges, squats, jogging, pushups, planking, burpees*, and other moves I don’t even know the names of.

*Burpees are from the devil. FACT.

2015 Kiss Girls Audition - Boot Camp_0011

2015 Kiss Girls Audition - Boot Camp_0014

2015 Kiss Girls Audition - Boot Camp_0024

2015 Kiss Girls Audition - Boot Camp_0054

The workout was only about half an hour. I thought it went by fast, but then again, I wasn’t the one planking in full hair and makeup and combat boots. I’m sure it felt endless for all the ladies, but Lindsay reminded them why they are doing this. This team’s dances are difficult and their outfits are tiny. Maintaining yourself in tip top shape is absolutely a job requirement.

The ladies were looking pretty run down at the end of the workout. Everybody was a sweaty mess, and ready to fall out on the floor. But there was no time for lollygagging while there was more choreography to be learned. So after a short break to blot their faces and wring out their hair, it was time to dance.

The first order of business was to review and clean the choreography they’d learned at the open calls.

2015 Kiss Girls Audition - Boot Camp_0066

2015 Kiss Girls Audition - Boot Camp_0119

They spent about 20 minutes cleaning the old stuff, with Lindsay reminding everyone not to put a whole lotta “extra” in the dance. Just do the moves as they were taught, and do them cleanly, so the judges can see what they are looking for. (In other words, save the flava for your solo, sweetie.)

Then they moved on to the new choreography. As I mentioned last time, the original combination repeated almost entirely from the beginning. This time, they took out the repeat, and that’s where the new moves came in.

2015 Kiss Girls Audition - Boot Camp_0062
Niaps

2015 Kiss Girls Audition - Boot Camp_0088

2015 Kiss Girls Audition - Boot Camp_0092

Lindsay explained she was going to teach very fast…and she did. I suppose if I were one of the dancers, I would’ve wondered what the rush was. After all, they’d only been there for an hour. It seemed like there would be plenty of time to learn the rest. In retrospect, they probably should’ve realized what was coming….(insert ominous soundtrack. Duhn duhn duhnnnn…..)

Anybody who thought this was going to be a piece of cake was quickly disabused of that notion. They’d had more than an hour to learn and rehearse the choreography last week. This time, they had less than 30 minutes to absorb and perfect the same amount of material. There’s something happening on every count, and the music is fast.

2015 Kiss Girls Audition - Boot Camp_0168
Xandi

2015 Kiss Girls Audition - Boot Camp_0152
Jules

2015 Kiss Girls Audition - Boot Camp_0135

It doesn’t seem like it ought to be possible to get your body to do so many different things, in so many different directions, in so few counts. Particularly when it involves the splits, and a “Flashdance” moment like this one.

2015 Kiss Girls Audition - Boot Camp_0101

But most of the dancers rose to the occasion.

Somewhere along the way, we learned that Lindsay is a lefty. This was not happy news for the dancers. From what I have observed, most dancers are stronger on their right side than on their left. Right splits are easier. Right kicks are higher. Right turns are more balanced. But a lefty choreographer often means lefty splits, lefty kicks, and lefty turns.

At one point in the new choreography, the dancers have to slide down into the splits. Most of them automatically sank to the floor with their right leg in front.

2015 Kiss Girls Audition - Boot Camp_0095
Naomi

When one girl asked for clarification and Lindsay explained that it was actually a left split, there was a collective groan. (This is probably what lefties feel like all the time. And that may explain why Lindsay didn’t look even a little bit sorry. Lefty revenge!)

It didn’t really phase the veterans though, as last year’s choreographer had also been a lefty.

A little bit after 1 pm, the door opened and a couple of familiar faces walked in. It was Brian Olea and Raquel Pomplun, the hosts of Playboy Radio’s Mansion Mayhem. Hey, weren’t they judges last weekend? Then another judge arrived. And another.

And this is how they found out there was going to be another cut. Aw hell.

It’s a wonder anyone could concentrate after that. I think most of the ladies thought they were going to have plenty of time to go home and rehearse rehearse rehearse before the next cut.

NOPE!

It was deja vu all over again as the dancers were asked to line up in numerical order and perform for the judges in groups of three.

There was also an additional curve ball as the dancers were asked to introduce themselves and share an interesting fact about themselves. Oh the poor things. They were not prepared. Of all the things running through your head when you’re standing in front of a panel of judges “what’s interesting about me?” isn’t one of them. It threw almost everyone for a loop.

There were some interesting answers. We learned that Abby is from Michigan, Emily is married, Melanie is planning to pursue a PhD, Alexis One is from Denver and Alexis Two was born on April Fools Day. Tara One is a Disney Princess (she plays Ariel and Cinderella at Disneyland). Tara Two had six wisdom teeth. Camille sings opera and was one of the LA KISS go-go dancers last season. Christina has an irrational fear of geese. (And gooses.) Yvonna is from Russia and just got her US Citizenship. Jackie knows how to set her entire body on fire. (Safely, I assume, based on the lack of visible scarring.)

I also think maybe Lindsay could benefit from some of Jackie’s tips on burn treatment and prevention.

After that initial moment of awkwardness, most of the ladies really served it up.

2015 Kiss Girls Audition - Boot Camp_0221
Sally

2015 Kiss Girls Audition - Boot Camp_0288
Andi

2015 Kiss Girls Audition - Boot Camp_0276
Alexis

2015 Kiss Girls Audition - Boot Camp_0305
Jackie (Jacqui?)

2015 Kiss Girls Audition - Boot Camp_0337
Ellie

2015 Kiss Girls Audition - Boot Camp_0352
Camille

2015 Kiss Girls Audition - Boot Camp_0339
Jenna

2015 Kiss Girls Audition - Boot Camp_0439
Ursula

2015 Kiss Girls Audition - Boot Camp_0343
Jules

2015 Kiss Girls Audition - Boot Camp_0377
Alexis

2015 Kiss Girls Audition - Boot Camp_0397
Christina

2015 Kiss Girls Audition - Boot Camp_0381
Priscila

2015 Kiss Girls Audition - Boot Camp_0409
Julianne

2015 Kiss Girls Audition - Boot Camp_0453
Dani

2015 Kiss Girls Audition - Boot Camp_0222
Emily

2015 Kiss Girls Audition - Boot Camp_0442
Sheldon

2015 Kiss Girls Audition - Boot Camp_0466
Yvonna

2015 Kiss Girls Audition - Boot Camp_0280
Tara

(Sidebar: I bet I got at least some of the names wrong. Apologies, ladies.)

Three by three by three they each took a turn in front of the judges. This time, only a couple of the groups had to go twice. One time was because of me. (I’m sorry, ok? I thought I was helping by volunteering to run the music, but Lindsay’s phone and I did not get along.) Anyway, after that, I got the hell out of the way and let Lindsay handle the music.

As for the judges, this time they were looking for performance and the right energy. They weren’t looking for perfect execution. (Perfection doesn’t exist when you’ve got 25 minutes to learn a dance.) They were just looking for “IT.” Who draws your eye? Who is fun to watch? Who looks like a KISS girl? That’s important, because these dancers don’t just represent LA KISS, they also represent KISS the rock band, and that takes this situation to a whole ‘nother level.

After the dancing, the judges went off somewhere to deliberate. I used the time to look around the room, look through my photos, and try to predict which ladies I think will be chosen. It’s always fun to imagine who will be part of the veteran huddle this time next year. I’m hoping all of the veterans make it back. Aside from them, I have four women I think are definitely in, and another four or five I’m not sure about, but I’m rooting for.

Speaking of veterans, I had a little chit chat with a few of the girls while we were waiting. We reminisced about last year’s audition, which was a totally different experience. This year’s tryout is a much longer process, but is in some ways easier than it was last time around. Last year the ladies had to learn two different combinations, and perform one of them in 4 inch heels. On artificial turf!

Julianne 2014 LA KISS finals_2014-02-09_0348
Memories…

This year the dancers got to wear flat shoes and dance on springy wooden floors. They don’t know how lucky they are. I asked the girls if they thought they could do this year’s combination in heels. They all said of course (of course). “Put everyone in heels” one of them said “and that’ll show you your team.” I think she may be right. It’s a bit late in the process to do that now, but it would’ve been an interesting exercise to see who could maintain their level of performance, and who would wobble like Bambi on ice skates. But maybe the girls won’t be dancing in heels this year, and it’s a moot point.

When the judges returned, 45 minutes later, they wasted no time in cutting the group down to 26 finalists. For real this time. (I know everyone thought they were walking in the door a finalist, but not everyone left as one.)

2015 Kiss Girls Audition - Boot Camp_0498

All of last year’s veterans made it through. Yay!

I’m not sure how many Lindsay will take for the team. I don’t think they have a set number in mind. I’m guessing it will be around 15. I’m usually wrong about these things though. (I have the exact opposite of ESP. Whatever that’s called.)

The final audition is Saturday afternoon. The ladies have a few days to get as ready as they can possibly get. For sure there will not be 26 women on this team, so they’d all better bring their A game to finals. I strongly suspect the team president and at least one of the owners (*cough*Paul Stanley*cough*) will be judging on Saturday, so there’s an extra level of pressure there. All of the ladies on last year’s team were professional dancers. That’s where the bar is, and the LA KISS organization has no intention of lowering their standards. Those two guys expect – no demand – perfection. They are looking for women who are fierce dancers and confident performers. Women who look like they could walk right out on the field with these ladies:

The ones who make the team will be the ones who show up at finals already looking and acting the part. They’ll only have a couple of minutes to show what they can do.

So who’s it going to be? We’ll find out on Saturday…

(More photos to come in a few days)

Pro Tour Productions Super Bowl Tours

It’s the busy season for our good friend Sandy Charboneau. Her Pro Tour Productions has 6 (count’em 6!) overseas military tours going for Super Bowl Week. Sandy shared with us the promo cards from each trip.

pb2 pb3 pb4 pbt1 pbt5 pbt6

[Pro Tour Productions on Facebook]

The ROAR of Jacksonville Prep Classes & Auditions

ROAR

REGISTRATION REQUIREMENTS

Auditions are open to candidates 18 years of age and older, as of March 21, 2015 who will receive a high school diploma or equivalent by the end of June 2015.

All applicants selected for the 2015 cheerleading squad must be able to travel to EverBank Field for all Jaguars home games and rehearsals.

All applicants must attend at least one audition class prior to auditioning with the option to attend additional classes for an additional fee.

Applicants must complete online registration and submit payment by Friday, March 6th.

AUDITION SCHEDULE

Audition Classes:
Tuesday, March 17, 2015 (7:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m)
and/or
Wednesday, March 18, 2015(7:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m)
and/or
Thursday, March 19, 2015 (7:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m)

(All applicants must attend at least one audition class prior to auditioning with the option to attend additional classes for an additional fee.)

PRELIMINARY AUDITIONS
Saturday, March 21, 2015
Check-in opens at 9:00 a.m.
(Approximately 3 hours)
(All interested audition candidates must be checked in by 9:30 a.m. to participate in the audition process. Those selected to advance to the semifinal audition will be identified at the conclusion of the preliminary audition.)

[Complete Audition Information]

Photo of the Day – January 27

blast1

A Baltimore Blast Cheerelader from Saturday night’s game.

Sad News: Former 49ers Gold Rush Cheerleader Melissa Galvin Passes Away from Cancer

From 49erswebzone.com

Melissa Galvin, the popular former San Francisco 49ers Gold Rush cheerleader and more recently, one of the hosts of 49ers Total Access, has passed away Saturday night after battling breast cancer for a second time.

galvin

Galvin’s mother battled breast cancer and just six months after she passed, Galvin learned of her diagnoses.

49ers CEO Jed York tweeted out the news last night.

She was first diagnosed in 2011 after discovering a lump while breastfeeding her daughter.

Galvin was part of the Gold Rush squad from 2000 until 2005 and remained a mainstay on the sidelines during games helping to coordinate field events. Her public battle against breast cancer did a tremendous amount to raise awareness through her own fundraisers and was featured during the NFL’s breast cancer awareness campaign which runs every October.

Galvin, who was 34, leaves behind husband Patrick Dobson and two young children, Stella and Brady. She was a Stockton resident and ran Dance Xtreme, a local dance studio.

Read more at http://www.49erswebzone.com/news/79554-former-49ers-rush-cheerleader-melissa-galvin-passes-cancer/#xykXFt3L7vzxzujX.99

Ben-Gals’ Rigdon Travels to Japan

By Marla Toncray
Maysville Online

For Cincinnati Ben-Gals cheerleader Tina Rigdon, offering support to American men and women serving overseas is something she is extremely proud of.

tina

Rigdon, who has been on the Ben-Gals squad four years, is one of four National Football League cheerleaders selected by Protour Productions to travel to Japan to meet and greet service men and women serving with the U.S. Army. The other women cheer for the Minnesota Vikings, Arizona Cardinals and Tennessee Titans.

Selection was made by each team’s cheer squad coach. Protour Productions coordinates the tour each year to promote the NFL Pro Bowl and Super Bowl.

Rigdon will leave Tuesday for a nine day tour that will take her to a U.S. Army Base Camp Zama, near Tokyo Japan.

During her tour, Rigdon will not only meet with military personnel at Camp Zama, but will also travel to outlying areas of Japan to meet with other U.S. servicemen and woman serving in isolated areas of the country.

“The purpose is to lift spirits and improve morale,” said Rigdon. “I love the fact they picked me and I think it’s awesome. I’m so proud to be an American.”

Before she leaves, Rigdon has been responsible for learning five new dance routines, which will be performed for the troops. She said when she and her fellow NFL cheerleaders step off the plane, they must be “performance ready.” The trip will also include signing NFL calendars and other items, while visiting and talking with the troops about what’s happening back home and of course, the upcoming Super Bowl game, Pro Bowl and the NFL season.

“We will be there and it gives them the NFL experience,” she said.