Alex Tsambos Takes the Helm of Newcastle Knights’ Cheerleading Team

By Matt TaylorCentral
Coast Gosford Express Advocate

Alex Tsambos is a superhero of sorts. By day she is a mild-mannered accountant. But by night she trades her business suit and calculator for tights and pompoms as she spreads her wings in charge of an NRL cheerleading team.

“Cheerleading lets me get my creative side out after being at a desk and immersed in numbers during the day,” Ms Tsambos said.


This week the 28-year-old Umina Beach resident realised a dancing dream when she started as director of the Newcastle Knights’ cheerleading team.

“I’ve just had eight years cheerleading for the Manly Sea Eagles, and I’m definitely ready to step up now,” she said.

“I have always wanted to be a director of an NRL cheerleading team, and I can’t wait for the season to start.”

Ms Tsambos, who graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce at the University of Newcastle’s Ourimbah campus about five years ago, said many cheerleaders in the NRL were degree-qualified­ women.

“We all tend to do cheerleading as a hobby. And this stigma of the girls getting into it to date footballers is rubbish,” she said.

“The girls do it to entertain the children and the families. We all love to perform, and it gives us a chance to be part of the NRL.”
Asked what made a top-notch cheerleader, she said: “You have to train hard and a lot of it comes down to your personality.”

Her new role with the Knights, who finished with the wooden spoon in 2015, will see her work up to 20 hours a week on planning, choreography, uniforms, promotional work and game days.

Ms Tsambos is hoping her good friend Angela Nicotera, of the world-famous ­Dallas Cowboys NFL cheerleading team, will teach her Knights girls some new moves this year.

“Ang and I were cheerleaders together at Manly. The NRL will start introducing more of the American-style tumbling and acrobatics in the future, so she can hopefully help us with that.

“We are always looking to offer more great entertainment for the fans.”

Swampscott Resident Trades in Pats Pompoms for Barre

BY EthanForman
Salem News

Former New England Patriots cheerleader and budding entrepreneur Michelle Nigro of Swampscott felt firsthand the disappointment on the field when the Patriots lost Super Bowl XLVI to the New York Giants in February 2012.

She and other cheerleaders watched as the confetti was being rolled out in Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, but the squad had a gut feeling the game would not go the Patriots’ way. They lost, 21-17.


“It was heart breaking,” said Nigro, who cheered for the Pats from 2010 to 2015, with a year off in between.

Nigro did get to experience redemption with the Pats before she hung up her pompoms for good though.

At last year’s Super Bowl in Glendale, Arizona, she and the rest of the cheering squad anxiously watched as the clock wound down on the Patriots and Seattle Seahawks, battling back and forth, flashbacks of 2012 ever present on their minds.

“When that last play happened, it was so surreal,” said Nigro, referring to the goal line interception by rookie cornerback Malcolm Butler to give the Pats the victory.

A 2008 graduate of Swampscott High, Nigro has now turned her love of dance and her ability to juggle a hectic schedule into opening her own boutique fitness business called Town Barre and Fitness, which she started in October. At the same time, she works full time for a public relations firm called InkHouse in Waltham.

The grueling pace isn’t foreign to Nigro — an athlete, dancer and cheerleader in high school — she described being a Patriots cheerleader as akin to a full-time job — team practices twice a week, promotions to attend and practice outside of regular workouts. She cheered for the Patriots while in college, and still later while working a full-time job after graduating from Emerson College in 2012.

Now, she hopes her new workout will capitalize on the growing popularity of barre, which blends dance, pilates and yoga. Nigro said barre is also part of a craze in which boutique fitness classes are replacing standard gym workouts of weight lifting and elliptical machines.

Older clients like barre because it helps them build their balance, while younger clients like to push it, she said. And the classes have been getting crowded as Nigro has built her business through word of mouth.

“It’s not an intimidating workout, and you still see results,” she said.

Since the workout is a dance barre, Nigro is limited to which studios she can offer classes at. She currently offers classes at Studio 21 at 21 Elm St. in Swampscott, where she rents space, and at the Marblehead Fitness Center at 14 Bessom St. in Marblehead.

The Studio 21 connection was also a personal one. One of Nigro’s mentors, Danielle Beatrice, owns the studio and was an assistant coach of the Swampscott High Dance Team when Nigro was a member of the team. Coincidentally, Beatrice was also a Patriots cheerleader from 2007 to 2009.

Nigro noted that the commitment as a Patriots cheerleader was “so much more than game days” and in fact gave her some “crazy opportunities,” such as a trip to China in 2012 to attend the Nike Festival of Sports in Shanghai.

At 25, Nigro says she gets her entrepreneurial spirit from her mother, Maria Freni of Swampscott, who owns her own business, Essential Friends Spa on Tulip Street in Salem.

“I think she was both excited and happy for me, and she had her concerns,” said Nigro of her mother’s sentiments about her opening her own business, especially when it came to the hurdles one can face starting up.

Nigro said she’s not ready to open her own studio, just yet; she’s taking the barre workout classes one step at a time.

Denver Nuggets Dancer Sporlight: Sabrina


sabSabrina joined the team last year for her first season as a 2015-16 Denver Nuggets Dancer.

As the youngest of six children, she has a variety of nicknames; Sab, Sabs, Sabrinas, Sabe, Sabey, Sabre, Sabretooth, Brina, Sabribri, but to her Dad, she’s known as Orange.

The Temecula, California native made her way to the Rocky Mountains to attend Colorado State University in Fort Collins where she graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies and a minor in Sociology.

“I have always been really adventurous and love going out of my comfort zone,” said Sabrina. “I am extremely close to my family and relied on them, but I knew I needed to grow as a person and be independent. After high school, I decided I wanted to go to college out of state, I ended up attending Colorado State University. After I visited the school, it automatically felt like home.”

Sabrina, or Orange, was a member of the CSU Golden Poms team for four years. As an undergraduate, her leadership and positive energy earned her the honorable “Mood Changer Award” her sophomore year and the team captain title her senior year.

“The coach recognizes a team member who brightens the mood of the team when times can get stressful, or discouraging. I love being positive and encouraging my teammates, it’s always been normal for me to do, so when I received the award it was a sweet surprise,” Sabrina said. “Knowing that my coach and teammates saw me as a leader on the team meant a lot to me.”
Her ambitious spirit has been dancing since she was barely able to walk (even dancing down grocery store aisles with her Mom!), but performing in front of a large crowd wasn’t always as seamless as it is now.

“I have been dancing since the age of two. All my older sisters did it so my mom stuck me in it, too! My earliest memory of dance is actually my first dance recital when I was three.” Sabrina jokingly recalled, “I cried for my mom the entire time I was on stage.”

Sabrina is an incredibly well-rounded dancer. She is not only trained in hip-hop and tap, but also in jazz, contemporary, modern, ballet, lyrical and even musical theater. Her diverse set of footwork matched by her adept leadership skills makes this performer an integral member of the DND.

“I love so many things about being a DND!” She exclaims. “I love the opportunity to learn from my teammates and to have the ability to push myself to not only be a better dancer, but to be a better person. I also love that I am able to fulfill my dreams of becoming a professional dancer and the opportunity to dance for the best fans in the NBA! Lastly, I love the friendships and individual relationships I’ve built with each one of my beautiful teammates!”

Although she has been dancing for nearly her entire life, she will never forget performing in front of the Denver Nuggets fans for the first time.

“My favorite memory thus far being a DND is without a doubt the Home Opener, which was my first game representing the Denver Nuggets. I just remember standing there with my hand over my heart during the National Anthem thinking, I can’t believe I’m here, my dream has come true. I felt very emotional, but was in front of thousands of fans so I had to keep it together!”

[Sabrina on Twitter]

[Sabrina’s Photo Gallery]

Step up to the plate! The Houston Astros Shooting Stars Auditions are THIS weekend!

Talkin’ baseball? I’m all for it! Spring training, pitchers and catchers, cactus and grapefruit leagues, bring them on!

The Houston Astros Shooting Stars Auditions are here! More info at this link…




Local Woman Remembers Performing for Los Angeles Rams


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Many are counting down to Super Bowl 50 this Sunday.

One local woman is gearing up for the big game by remembering her days on the field performing for the Los Angeles Rams.

Neva Sjuts was one of the first majorettes for the Los Angeles Rams.

This was before teams had cheerleaders we think of today.

For those of you who might not know, a majorette dances with the band and twirls a baton.

While some sequins might be missing and the fabric on her costume has faded, her memories on the field remain clear as ever.

“It was very popular, so there was a lot of interest. It was a big deal knowing the Rams were in the coliseum,” said Sjuts.

The team chose Sjuts to be one of four majorettes to perform during the Los Angeles Rams games starting in 1949.

She was just 15 years old.

“Half-time we’d get out and twirl and during the game we would try to keep the fans interested in the game. But it was exciting,” Sjuts said.

Back then the games were just starting to be televised, but the pictures of her doing what she loves stand the test of time.

One of her favorite memories on the field were during one rainy game.

“The mud was all over my boots and we started our routine, and the first thing I did was my high kick and the mud hit me right on the top of the head,” Sjuts said.

She was on the team when the Rams won the NFL title in 1951.

And when she heard the news the Rams were coming home to California?

“I think it’s wonderful because L.A. has needed a pro team, period. But to have the Los Angeles Rams with the history which they have had here, and the fans love them they hated to see them go,” Sjuts said.

And when I asked her what she thought about NFL cheerleaders now?

“It’s come a long way; I wish I could be a part of it now because I think I would thoroughly enjoy it


KCD Gallery: “Dear Future Husband”


The Knicks City Dancers wow the crowd with performances of “Dear Future Husband” and “Manhattan Dolls” at MSG.

[KCD Gallery]

Game Day With The Ladies of Ontario Fury

This past weekend, I spent some quality time with the Ladies of Ontario Fury. Game day is always special because at the Citizens Business Bank Arena, you can get up close and personal with the girls and because of the intimate setting, I always get some great photos of the girls in action.








Continue reading Game Day With The Ladies of Ontario Fury

Two Jacksonville Natives to Head to Super Bowl 50 with the Panthers TopCats Dance Team

By Jacqueline Matter

Two Jacksonville natives are headed to the Super Bowl, but they’ll be cheering on the Panthers from the sidelines.
WNCT’s Jacqueline Matter spoke to their mothers on the exciting journey.

Friends since elementary school, Aliscia Taplin and Annalise Coleman are both first-year dancers for the Carolina Panthers Cheerleading Team, the TopCats.

While the girls didn’t always desire to be NFL cheerleaders, they both had a gift from a very young age.

“When I saw her amongst the other 5-year-olds and 6-year-olds, her hands were straight out, her legs were high, and I thought wow she’s a natural,” said Valerie Taplin of her daughter Aliscia.

“Annalise started dancing since she was about four years old, her preschool teacher told me she was gifted in rhythm,” said Vanessa Coleman, Annalise’s mother.

The goal of being a TopCat has been a passion of Annalise’s for years.

“She decided when she was 17, we went to the Panther’s game, and she said mom I’m going to dance with the cheerleaders, and she watched them the whole time and so when she turned 21 she tried out.”

But making the team wasn’t easy. Annalise and Aliscia competed among 160 other girls vying for a spot on the TopCats squad.

“Every day for about a month, ‘mom I’m still in, I’m still in’, so it was really a nerve-wrecking thing for us,” said Vanessa Coleman.

“She’d call me and tell me ‘oh I think I did okay, I think I did alright’ which was good to hear but I said don’t get excited don’t get nervous for her just let everything be calm,” said Valerie Taplin.

After countless hours of training and chasing a lifelong dream, the dancing duo made the 28 member squad.

Now, both girls will soon have a Super Bowl experience.

“To dance, just to dance and dance for the Panthers, but God’s plan was you can dance for the Panthers but you’re going to the Super Bowl with that,” said Valerie Taplin about their excitement.

Each year the girls must re-try out for the TopCats dance squad, but both girls say they have every intention of returning to the sidelines next year to cheer on the Panthers.

While the Panthers have already landed in Santa Clara for Super Bowl 50, the TopCats Cheerleaders will be headed to California on Friday.

Special Olympics Brevard Cheerleaders Needed

By Jennifer Sangalang
Florida Today

There’s a cheerleading group in town — and they need a little L-O-V-E.

The Special Olympics Brevard cheerleading team seeks members, volunteer coaches and community support. So says Joanna Kiel, head cheerleading coach.

The 28-year-old former Baltimore Ravens cheerleader coached a Special Olympics cheerleading team in Maryland. One of her favorite cheerleaders was her youngest sister and biggest fan, 23-year-old Lexi Tippett, who has Down syndrome.


“With my experience with Special Olympics, performing is their favorite thing to do,” she said. “They love practice, but when the team can get out at a huge venue, they are beyond excited. It makes them feel included. Just like they’ve watched their family members perform — now it’s their turn.”

Sign-ups begin Feb. 2 at the Special Olympics Brevard office in Rockledge. For the 2015 season, there were eight girls on the team. Currently, there’s almost 20, and many more are welcome. Kiel’s Maryland team had more than 60 cheerleaders.

“Special Olympics Brevard has many, many sports that I don’t think people are aware of,” Kiel said. In addition to growing the cheer program, though, she hopes the team will make it to the ESPN Wide World of Sports in Orlando for the state championships in the fall.

“We condition, we train, we learn new skills,” she added. “We’re working with the local high schools so that our cheerleading team can perform at some of their games.”


Boys and girls are needed for the Special Olympics cheerleading team — any age, any skill level, any ability.

“As far as Special Olympics go, it’s any person in the special needs community,” Kiel said. “We’re not afraid of any severe disabilities. Anybody that wants to be a part of it can be a part of it.”

Ways to help

• Transportation: Travel could be an issue for someone with special needs. “If we were able to help get the funds to help transport (children with special needs to) the competition, that would be amazing,” Kiel said.

• Donations: Funds raised will go toward cheerleading uniforms, hair bows and tennis shoes.

• Volunteers: With Special Olympics, usually four or six coaches are needed per team — a cheer and dance background isn’t required. Also, students who need service hours could volunteer.

Thanks to her NFL cheerleading days, Kiel knows all about the adrenaline that comes with performing for large crowds. But nothing beats the experience of seeing her sister, Lexi, put on a cheerleading outfit and perform.

“At the end it’s just pure waterworks,” she said. “When it’s over, you’re unbelievably proud.”

The first full practice for the Special Olympics Brevard cheerleading team is set for Feb. 16 at Freedom Athletics in Rockledge.

Cheerleader Profile: Ladies of Ontario Fury Dancer Brittany

Meet Brittany, third year member of the Ladies of Ontario Fury.


Why did you become a professional cheerleader?

I’ve cheered and danced all my life so once it was time to make the transition from an adolescent all-star team, to the professional world, I was very excited and honored to be a part of such a great team in a very elite field!  Being a professional dancer is one of my greatest accomplishments and deepest passions!

What was your favorite experience as a professional cheerleader?

There’s no other adrenaline rush that can beat running onto the field with all of the fans cheering for you as you line up for the music to start, I love that of course!  But, I really enjoy our post game autograph sessions where I get to meet with our fans and connect on a personal level!

What is your favorite dance style?

I am the most trained and technically best at ballet, but I enjoy hip hop the most and it’s the most common in my industry!

What are the three words that describe you?

Passionate- I am consumed in doing the things I love with the utmost passion.
Dedicated- I am 100% committed and involved in everything I do to the end.
Playful- I am a girly girl and a tom boy all wrapped into one. I’m goofy and love adventure!

What is something that most people don’t know about you?

Most people don’t know that I was painfully shy growing up and I was bullied.  Only because of pageants was I able to overcome these obstacles, helping me develop into an outgoing, brave woman today who is proud to be your Miss California United States 2015-2016!

What is your guilty pleasure?

I LOVE frozen yogurt, you can call me a yogurt snob! 😉  I know the best spots and I have a rewards card at all of them.

What is the one thing you can’t live without?

I can’t live without WAZE!  With my very hectic lifestyle in LA, I rely on Waze to help me navigate my life on a timely schedule.

What is your motto to live by?

“She is clothed with dignity and strength, and laughs without fear of the future.”  Proverbs 31:25  I am a strong woman with integrity and have faith in God to take care of my life.

What advice would you tell someone who aspires to become a professional cheerleader?

It takes a lot of hard work and dedication.  It may not happen your first try, but a passionate person never gives up for what they truly want.  Stay in dance class and become knowledgeable in the industry.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

In ten years I see myself living in Malibu, married with 2-3 children.  I hope to have starred in a few major motion picture films and owning my own pageant system!


You can see Brittany and the rest of the Ladies of Ontario Fury at their next home game on February 13th at the Citizens Business Bank Arena.  For more information about the Ontario Fury, please visit their website here.

[Ladies of Ontario Fury]
[Ladies of Ontario Fury Facebook Page]

Cheerleader Profile: Ladies of Ontario Fury Dancer Erika

Let’s get to know Erika, a third year member of the Ladies of Ontario Fury.


Why did you become a professional cheerleader?

I was given the opportunity to start cheering/dancing at the age of 9, and ever since then I have been fully captivated by the sport!  Inspired by a former Clippers Spirit Dancer, it was my dream to perform in front of thousands of people someday & that someday finally is here!

What was your favorite experience as a professional cheerleader?

My favorite experience as a professional cheerleader was being selected to perform on a live television show in India called, “Extraaa Innings” for the Indian Premier Cricket League.  It was incredible to be able to take my profession overseas and to perform in front of millions of viewers!

What is your favorite dance style?

I have many different dance styles, but it’s a close tie between hip hop and bachata.

What is your favorite dance move? What is your go to dance move?

When in doubt, Pop Lock & Drop it!  The drop split is my go to dance move, and really gets the crowd pumped!

What are the three words that describe you?

Inspirational, Innovative, Adventurous

What is your favorite music genre? Who is your favorite musical artist?

Anything I can dance to is my favorite kind of music!  Lately I have been listening to a lot of Bollywood & Bachata music.  My favorite music artist is Jennifer Lopez, she is incredible!

What is your guilty pleasure?

Sweeeeeeeeeeeets! Cookies & Milk are my ultimate guilty pleasure snack.

Facebook, Instagram or Twitter? Or some other app.

I’m a very active instagram user, although I don’t like to be on my phone all the time.  My favorite app has to be shazam because when I listen to a new song & want to save it to my phone I immediately press the button and SHAZAM the song is saved!  It’s also great to see what kind of music is trending in other countries around the world!

Who is the one person that inspires you the most?

The one person who truly inspires me is my mother.  My mom is hard working, determined and lets no one bring her down.  I often catch myself doing things my mom would do and I am proud to say I am my mothers daughter.

What advice would you tell someone who aspires to become a professional cheerleader?

Keep focused.  Especially when it comes down to audition day, go in with a positive attitude and show the judges everything you have worked for all year!  There are hundreds of other girls who want that spot on the team, so make it known that you are hungry for it.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

10 years from now I see myself starting new goals, and helping others achieve theirs!  I see my current business growing and would love to open more locations overseas in europe!  With a great support system, I would love to start a family of my own & be a supermom!  I plan on investing in a prestigious dance studio and prep future professional dancers/cheerleaders worldwide!  I want to inspire and volunteer my time by hosting students abroad into our community.  My ultimate goal is to receive the opportunity to be featured on Tedx or Forbes!


You can meet Erika and the rest of the Ladies of Ontario Fury at their next home game on February 13th at the Citizens Business Bank Arena.  For more information about the Ontario Fury, please visit their website here.

[Ladies of Ontario Fury]
[Ladies of Ontario Fury Facebook Page]

Redskins Cheerleaders at the Washington Auto Show

The Washington Redskins Cheerleaders made an appearance at the Washington Auto Show on January 27. Enjoy the photos.





This N.J. native is performing at Super Bowl 50

Siobhan Campbell-Martin, a Trenton, N.J. native, will be cheering for the Carolina Panthers TopCats cheerleading squad at Super Bowl 50. (Goodstuff Creative)

Siobhan Campbell-Martin, a Trenton, N.J. native, will be cheering for the Carolina Panthers TopCats cheerleading squad at Super Bowl 50. (Goodstuff Creative)

Kevin Shea | For
January 31, 2016

TRENTON — When the dance team at Trenton Catholic Academy turned into the cheerleading squad several years ago, Siobhan Campbell was named one of its leaders.

But the teenager, who had been training as a dancer for years, was too intimidated to be called a cheerleader, and quit the squad.

She later tried out for the dance teams at two colleges she attended, but did not make the cut. It looked she would never don a cheer uniform again, she said.

With a lift from God, the Trenton native says, she’s now a three-year veteran of the Carolina Panthers cheerleaders – the TopCats – and will be cheering at Super Bowl 50 next Sunday in California.

And she’s one of the captains.

“I give all the glory to God. He did all of this,” she said.

She is now Siobhan Campbell-Martin, a newlywed, and says persistence and some dance training in New York also played a role in her ascent to the TopCats squad.

The 25-year-old was even named cheerleader of the week in Sports Illustrated in 2014.

She has a message to anyone growing up in the city: “I am proud to say that I am from Trenton. Look at me now.”

NFL cheerleaders do not normally travel to away games, so Campbell-Martin said the Super Bowl is extra special to her squad because they will get to meet and cheer alongside the Denver Broncos cheerleaders.

And then there’s the halftime show. “I am a huge Beyoncé fan,” she said.

Although the TopCats will not be performing at the halftime show – which also includes Coldplay and Bruno Mars – Campbell-Martin said she will be watching up close.

Campbell-Martin said her route to cheering professionally started as a kid at the Hammond-Phelps Centre For Dance on Maple Avenue.

“That was where my love of dance was established,” she said.

She also played basketball, West Ward baseball and even shot a few rounds with the Trenton Junior Golf program.

“But I pretty much stuck with dance,” she said.

When she quit the high school squad, she remembers her coach Cassidy Manning’s words: “She told me she believed in me and I never forgot that.”

Siobhan.jpgSiobhan Campbell-Martin cheers with the Carolina Panthers TopCats squad during a game. (Goodstuff Creative)

Siobhan.jpgSiobhan Campbell-Martin cheers with the Carolina Panthers TopCats squad during a game. (Goodstuff Creative)

College brought her to the Carolinas, first to Winston-Salem State University, then Appalachian State University.

“I kind of felt like I was running from dance,” she said of her time at Winston-Salem.

She had an undeclared major and was trying new things to pursue. God was humbling her, she said.

Needing a new start, she transferred to Appalachian. She still did not make their dance team, but she majored in dance and minored in business, and the summer before her senior year, she returned to Trenton.

That summer, Campbell-Martin enrolled in a dance program in New York City and felt back on track.

“That is pretty much where it started again,” she said. She got come callbacks for dancing, including one from Disney.

“But the one thing I didn’t see coming was cheerleading for the Panthers,” she said.

She took a class at college, though, taught by a TopCats coach, where she earned a first round bye to the tryouts.

“She saw something in me that I didn’t see,” Campbell-Martin said. “I knew from there I would keep accelerating, keep moving forward and go with it.”

“And now I am in my third year, I am now a captain and we’re going to the Super Bowl.”

Off the field, she’s works as a project coordinator at Genera Solutions in Charlotte. Her parents still live in Trenton, as do her siblings, she said.

She sees herself as a role model to anyone like her growing up in the city. “I just want encourage people in Trenton, wherever they are in their development, to keep at it.”

St. Louis Cheerleader Alexis gets Pro Bowl honor


The Pro Bowl sidelines will feature Alexis, the last St. Louis Rams Cheerleader to participate for the all-star game for the foreseeable future (one can never say never about a move back to St. Louis, right?).

And speaking of the Pro Bowl, the poor game is taking its knocks, and who knows how long it will continue. But the talented, hard working cheerleaders of the NFL need to continue to reward one of their own per squad to a sweet post-season reward. So cheer fans, if the Pro Bowl was discontinued, what would be a worthy reward for the best of the best NFL cheerleaders? Being part of Super Bowl festivities, assisting with the NFL Honors and other shows that week, and then culminating with dancing on-stage with the halftime performers? Any other ideas?

Here are some photos of Alexis at the last St. Louis Rams home game. Cheers to you and all former and current St. Louis Rams Cheerleaders!

More photos of Alexis are at this link.




Continue reading St. Louis Cheerleader Alexis gets Pro Bowl honor

SI Cheerleader of the Week: Kayla from the Minnesota Vikings

Click here to check out Kayla’s gallery on Sports Illustrated!

SI 2015 MVC-Kayla