NFL Cheerleaders at the 2015 NFL Experience

I was in Phoenix today at the NFL Experience, hanging out with Mad Max and Pro Bowl Dan and we were fortunate to photograph some NFL cheerleaders at the event.  So here’s a few photos from the event.

Arizona Cardinals Cheerleaders

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Pro Bowl Cheerleaders

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Stay tuned for more coverage of the 2015 Pro Bowl game.

Baltimore Blast Cheerleaders

More photos from the game where Andrew proposed to Sarah

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[Blast Cheerleaders Gallery]

[Blast Cheerleaders on Facebook]

Oops! Westchester Knicks Dancers Gallery

I had the chance to visit the Westchester Knicks Dancers last month, but some how forgot to make all the photos public. So here’s your chance to see the rest of the photos.

 

[WCK Gallery]

Philadelphia Eagles Cheerleaders Announce Auditions & Prep Classes

WHEN: SATURDAY, MARCH 21, 2015

WHERE: LINCOLN FINANCIAL FIELD INSIDE THE SCA CLUB

ADDRESS: 1 LINCOLN FINANCIAL FIELD WAY, PHILADELPHIA, PA 19145

(INTERSECTION OF PATTISON AVENUE AND DARIEN STREET)

PARKING: THERE IS NO FEE FOR PARKING. TURN ONTO DARIEN STREET
AND MAKE A RIGHT INTO THE PARKING LOT. PARK IN THE “L” LOT.
(THERE WILL BE SIGNAGE DIRECTING YOU TO THIS PARKING LOT)

TIME: REGISTRATION BEGINS AT 10:00 AM. JUDGING STARTS AT 12:30 PM. All contestants should arrive by 10:30 AM.

REQUIREMENTS: YOU MUST BE 18 YEARS OF AGE OR OLDER AND A HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATE. 2015 HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATES ARE NOT ELIGIBLE.

REGISTRATION FEE: $25.00. Please note: The Open Call registration fee is waived for contestants that attended the optional Mock Audition, Beauty and Fitness Workshop or Dance Prep Class.

TO PRE-REGISTER: Click here
*There is a $7.50 Ticketmaster processing fee for Online Registration

CONTESTANTS CAN ALSO REGISTER UPON ARRIVAL AT THE OPEN CALL AUDITION

TO PRE-REGISTER BY REGULAR MAIL: PLEASE SEND YOUR NAME, ADDRESS, TELEPHONE NUMBER AND EMAIL ADDRESS AND YOUR CHECK OR MONEY ORDER MADE PAYABLE TO THE PHILADELPHIA EAGLES FOR $25.00 TO:

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES
Attn: Cheerleader Open Call Auditions
NovaCare Complex
One NovaCare Way
Philadelphia, PA 19145

Frequently Asked Questions


What happens when I arrive at the Open Call Audition?

Upon arrival, contestants will check in at the registration desk, sign a waiver, and receive a contestant number. Contestants will then learn a short dance routine. Contestants that learned the routine at the workshop or dance prep class can use this time to rehearse. There will be time for all contestants to rehearse prior to being judged.


What will I be asked to do during the Audition?

There are two parts to the Open Call Audition: Modeling and Dance. Contestants will walk in a set pattern to their places and then walk individually in front of the judges. This will be considered the modeling portion of the competition and will give the panel of judges the opportunity to score on physical fitness, confidence, and beauty. The contestants will then perform the dance routine twice in small groups. The judges will be scoring on dance ability including execution/technique, retention of choreography, and showmanship. There will be two elimination rounds during the Open Call Audition.


What are the judging criteria?

During the Open Call Audition, contestants will be judged on dance ability including retention of choreography and execution/technique, physical fitness, beauty, confidence, and showmanship.

What should I wear?
Contestants should wear a sports bra, lycra shorts and sneakers or dance sneakers for the audition. We suggest wearing nude hosiery with your outfit and wearing a warm-up over the outfit while registering and waiting to perform. Contestants should wear their hair down and have their make-up done. Any body jewelry should be removed and tattoos should be covered.


When does the Open Call Audition conclude?

Contestants should come prepared to stay the day. The audition is expected to conclude around 4 pm. Contestants remaining after the second elimination round will be invited back the following week to continue with the audition process. Can I bring a family or friends? The Open Call Auditions are closed to the public. Only contestants will be granted access into the SCA Club.

What should I bring with me?
You should bring bottled water and snacks with you. There will also be water stations available and a concession stand open for your convenience. We suggest bringing hair and make-up products for touch-ups and a small handheld mirror. Do not bring valuables with you. There will not be a place to store valuables.

[Complete Audition Information]

Photo of the Day – January 23

A Pair of Gotham City Cheerleaders

Heads-up Phoenix Dancers! It’s time for Sidewinders Auditions!

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Will Ferrell ‘Ejected’ After Hitting Cheerleader in Face with Basketball During NBA Game

From ABC7News.com

Will Ferrell may be a baller on the comedy court, but he fouled out big time with his latest stunt.

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During halftime at Wednesday’s Lakers-Pelicans game in New Orleans, Ferrell participated in a faux-half court shot competition. But instead of shooting the ball, Ferrell threw it and hit a nearby cheerleader in the head. Ferrell was then promptly “ejected” by security after hitting the cheerleader.

The stunt was filmed for Ferrell’s upcoming 2015 movie “Daddy’s Home,” according to Sports Illustrated. IMDb describes the film as “When a divorced guy’s ex-wife re-marries someone way more uptight, he re-enters her life and wreaks havoc.” Mark Wahlberg, Linda Cardellini, and Hannibal Burress are set to star in the film alongside Ferrell.

Watch a video of the “incident” here.

Trenton Freedom Xtreme Dance Team

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A few of the Xtreme Dance Team members pose with their 2015 Dance Team calendars at the Trenton (NJ) Freedom Fan Experience held at the Sun National Bank Center

[Trenton Freedom Xtreme Dance Team]

Weekend At Bernie’s – Part Deux

This past weekend, I spent some quality time over at Bernie’s. That would be Bernie Lilavois and the Ontario Fury of the MASL. Indoor soccer is fast and furious, kind of like what Arena Football is to NFL football. The action is non stop, the scoring is sudden, and this weekend…physical. I went to see some indoor soccer and a hockey game broke out.

Yes, there is boarding in the MASL and like hockey, when you slam a player into the boards, that’s a penalty. And yes, there are goons in the MASL and like hockey, when you cheap shot a guy, there will be retaliation.

I saw a lot of hockey type action in the two Fury games that I attended…and as a spectator…it was a lot of fun to see. Fast break action and thuggish play to boot! Well, I guess that’s one way to try to stop the Fury…or not…both opponents, the Turlock Express and the Las Vegas Legends, lost to the home team.

But the real reason for my return visit was the Ladies of Ontario Fury.

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Lynae de Leon, the director of the dance team, let me know that the Ladies of Ontario Fury were going to be performing a special Cowgirl themed dance on Sunday, so I was eager to forgo my NFL Championship Game watching to be able to photograph the hottest dance team in the MASL one more time.

So here is a collection of images taken over the course of two days with the lovely Ladies of Ontario Fury.

Pregame Meet and Greet

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Continue reading Weekend At Bernie’s – Part Deux

2015 LA KISS Girls Audition

Auditions for the 2015 LA KISS Girls kicked off over the weekend in Irvine, CA. It was the first day in a four part audition process that includes an open call, panel interviews, finalist bootcamp, and a final dance audition.

* (Skip all the blah blah blah and check out the photos)
*

It was obvious from the word go that this ain’t your momma’s dance team. Usually when I walk into a pro dance team audition, it’s all candy-colored track suits, Swarovski crystals, and long flowing hair extensions. Not here. Here the ladies were dressed in black, with metal studs, edgy hair, and lots of ink. We ain’t in Kansas anymore.

Outside in the corrider, six members of last year’s team, Vanessa, Alexis, Xandi, Julianne, Sheldon, and Niaps were on hand to greet people at the door and direct them into the audition. These six (and perhaps a few others from last year’s squad) will join the audition process at finals, in hopes of keeping their spots on the team.

Before the audition started, I had a chance to say hello to the new KISS Girls Director/Choreographer Lindsay Rodolico.

First impression: enormous blue eyes, big bright smile, and tons of positive energy. Warm and friendly, but make no mistake, this one takes care of bizness.

While all of the dancers were filling out their applications, I eyeballed the group to see if I recognized anyone from last year’s audition.

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I saw at least four or five that I recognized.

But THIS was someone I’d never seen before. Six feet tall. Flaming red hair. “Big Red” is her handle, and you couldn’t possibly miss her. I bet that hair glows in the dark.

I am in awe of that hair. That takes guts. I could never pull that off, but she totally owns it. (She did admit, however, that the maintenance is a nightmare.)

I also noticed this lady. Isabella, the only one who auditioned in a KISS shirt. Smart! In retrospect, I’m shocked that nobody else thought of this. Especially since they had no idea whether the members of KISS would be present.

There was also a dancer from last year who I did not recognize at all. And can you blame me? Last year Ellie wore pink. This year, she didn’t even look like a distant relative of the girl I remember.

If not for the Aussie accent (she’s from Perth), I never would’ve realized it. When I asked her about it, she said her overall look last year was “orange.” Hence, the makeover. LOL.

When it was time for the audition to begin, Lindsay gathered everyone together to explain how the audition would work. The dancers would be taught a combination, which would then be performed for a panel of judges in groups of three. At the end of the day, finalists would be announced, and those chosen would move on to the next phase in the process. Simple enough, right?

She also introduced last year’s KISS Girls and said that they were an example of what the organization is looking for. She also explained that the members of last year’s team only had an advantage until the end of the day. Once the open call was over, the dancers had to turn in their costumes, and from that point on, they were the same as every other finalist.

And then it was time to get started. The dancers spread out on the floor and Lindsay began teaching the first eight-counts.

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Sheldon and Niaps

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Xandi

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It was a little nerve-wracking for the dancers, as tons of gym-goers were loitering around, openly staring through the windows.

Lindsay has a very fun, relaxed teaching style, and the dance was just right for the occasion. Challenging but not too hard. Fun, and full of attitude, although Lindsay did have to warn them not to go too far over the top with the sexy. Some (relatively few) women can successfully pull off the sexy/sultry thing when they dance. Everyone else should just stick to a pretty smile because – it has to be said – what they think is a sexy face, looks more like stankface.

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The music was “The Beautiful People” which samples Marilyn Manson, with a hard, driving beat that is enough to get anyone’s blood pumping. The combination had break for a tiny solo in the middle, before repeating the from the beginning. The dancers would essentially have a chance to do the combination twice. Lindsay explained that this was by design. She and the judges want to see the ladies dance as much as possible, to get a good read on their abilities.


(Apologies for the quality. $100 Flip cam + gym lighting = you get what you get.)

I particularly enjoyed the hair whipping about 35 seconds in. I find myself doing this move at random moments throughout the day. Very awkward when I’m at the office, where we generally don’t see much stomping and head banging.

After about an hour of learning the choreography, it was time for the audition to begin. Lindsay left the music on repeat for the dancers while she gathered the judges around to talk about what they were looking for and how to score the dancers.

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The judges were an eclectic group, each one more accomplished than the next. The panel included a professional dancer/choreographer with a resume as long as my arm (Diddy, Rihanna, BEP, Katy Perry, Pussycat Dolls, Romeo, Snoop, and on and on), radio hosts from Playboy Radio (they broadcast from the concourse at home games), the General Manager of the fitness club hosting the auditions, and representatives from the LA KISS organization, including a wide receiver, the social media director, and the team president.

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Personally, the judge I was most excited about was Bonnie-Jill Laflin (in orange above). Bonnie-Jill is a reporter for Fox Sports. Before that, she was a scout for the Lakers. Before that she was a cheerleader for the San Francisco 49ers and the Dallas Cowboys. She’s also a huge advocate for animal welfare and for our armed services. I’ve seen her everywhere for years, and had no idea she was a close friend of Lindsay’s. So it was a chance to say hello to someone I’ve admired for ages.

Once the judges were assembled, last year’s KISS Girls took the floor to dance together for the last time as members of the 2014 team. #bittersweet.

No pressure, right?

The ladies auditioned in groups of three. Some groups were asked to do the combination a second time. My theory on this is in some cases, it was because they’d completely screwed up and Lindsay was giving them another chance. But in other cases, there was one dancer who did such a great job, the group needed to go again so the judges could pay attention to the other two ladies in the group.

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About half of the groups had performed when team President Schuyler Hoversten did something I’ve never seen before at an audition. He pointed at one dancer and said the group had to do the combination again because she’d completely screwed up the whole thing. OUCH! I am sure she was mortified. After the group did the combination, Schuyler called a halt to the proceedings to remind everyone what they were here for. The KISS Girls are the best. They aren’t like any other dance team. They go hard. They have attitude. Their dances are challenging. And they know the frikkin choreography!

Ok, he didn’t say that last bit, but that’s what he meant, and we all knew it.

On the one hand, I couldn’t blame the guy. It’s extremely frustrating to watch one lukewarm performance after another. It’s boring, and as a judge you feel like their time is being wasted. You’re trying to do something great here, and it’s annoying when the dancers don’t deliver. On the other hand, a lot of girls audition for a pro dance team just for the experience of doing it. They aren’t professionals, they aren’t used to learning choreography so quickly, and the whole experience is stressful. Stressful and very very scary. But after Schuyler read the whole room, they knew they needed to get it together. Immediately, if not sooner. Because the reality is this: LA KISS would rather have NO dancers than mediocre ones.

Well ok then.

Lindsay had the six KISS Girls come out and do the dance again. Think of it as sort of a palate-cleanser. A way to hit everyone’s mental “reset” button on this process.

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And we’re back…And many of the dancers visibly upped their game.

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After the dancing was done, the judges went off to deliberate. When they returned, Lindsay announced the 27 finalists.

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She congratulated everyone and explained the next steps in the process.The purpose of the interview is to get to know each dancer. The purpose of bootcamp is to learn the rest of the choreography, see how these ladies work, and see if they can look fabulous while doing it. The purpose of finals is to blow. the judges. away.

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Then she served up some audition realness.

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Dancers were expected to show up looking and acting the part at every stage of this process. From now on, they are representing the team, and need to comport themselves accordingly. They would be provided with tips and tools for how to do this, but it’s up to them to take advantage of that. She also mentioned that dancers could be cut at any point between now and finals. Dancers would be excused for having shady crap on facebook and instagram. And – this was interesting – Lindsay would likely be doing an additional invitation-only open call, so there might be some new faces at finals. (So don’t be giving the new girls the side-eye, all “Who is SHE???”, okay?)

The competition is just beginning.

So by now the dancers have been through interviews, and bootcamp is next on the agenda. What new faces will be in the mix? Will any of the other veterans audition? Who will ultimately be chosen for the squad? Patience, my friends. All will soon be revealed…

In the meantime, click here for more photos from the open call.

Photo of the Day – January 22

A Buffalo Jill

Pro Audition Boot Camp in Jacksonville

proOur Audition Prep Classes have a phenomenal success rate over the past seven years with nearly 80% of our participants making a pro or semi-pro dance or cheer team! Each year we bring in more expert current and former NFL alumni cheerleaders and guests to focus on targeted physical training, hair & make-up consultations and more. When combined with step-by-step techniques for audition skills like turns, kicks, jumps, splits, and various dance styles, you’ll feel a transformation that will give you an edge on the competition.

This year we will offer Pro Audition Prep “Boot Camp Style”- once a month, utilizing separate spaces based on your skill level and workshops by guest experts at the same time.
Which Class is right for you?

If you’ve taken PCA Foundation’s Audition Prep Classes before: Try the Pro Audition Boot Camp Refresher

Advanced dance technique and skills to help you brush up on all of the necessary skills and presentation without all of the information you’ve heard before.
You can choose to sit in on guest speaker events like hair, makeup, fitness, presentations if you would like a refresher
This class will be offered at the same time in a different classroom, to push you to a higher level of competition.

If you’ve never taken PCA Foundation’s Audition Prep Classes: The Pro Audition Boot Camp is for you!

Learn audition expectations and insider tips from alumni cheerleaders
Build your confidence with healthy diet and exercise tips
Refine your interview skills and composure
What to expect and bring on audition day

Required Attire:
Dance/Athletic Bra Top Dance pants/shorts
Dance shoes or sneakers.
Boot Camp Dates:

Each all inclusive class is $50. Payment methods: Paypal online, cash, credit card on site (please arrive early if paying the day of class)

Saturday, January 24, 2015 12:30 pm – 3:30 pm
Saturday, February 21, 2015 12:30 pm – 3:30 pm
Saturday, March TBD* 12:30 pm – 3:30 pm
*based on the date of local NFL team auditions to be announced

Location

Bailey’s Health & Fitness
Studios A & B
9550 Baymeadows Rd.
Jacksonville, FL 32256

[Complete Registration Information]

Patriots Cheerleader Gets Last Shot at Rooting for New England at Super Bowl XLIX

‘This is a good goodbye,’ she said.

By Steve Annear
Boston Magazine

michelleMichelle Nigro has been a cheerleader with the New England Patriots for four years. And with her last game as an official member of the squad coming up, she’s going out with a bang.

“Having my last game be at the Super Bowl is just a dream come true,” said Nigro, a full time PR professional by day and Miss Cambridge 2014 winner. “This is what I wanted from day one. I had been telling all of my teammates that I felt like we were going to be going to the Super Bowl this year.”

And they will.

On Sunday, February 1, the Patriots will take on the Seattle Seahawks in Glendale, Arizona, for Super Bowl XLIX. The team’s appearance will mark the second time since Nigro first became a cheerleader that she will set foot on the field to watch the Patriots play for the championship title.

“I’m ecstatic,” she said. “We just found out this morning; we got the official email that we will be going.”

Nigro, an Emerson grad, said she was thrilled to be able to attend the Super Bowl against the New York Giants in 2012, even though it ended with a loss. To return for a second time, capping off her short career as a cheerleader, feels once again like luck is on her side.

“I feel—I just don’t even know. I feel extra lucky to be going to two Super Bowls. Some NFL players don’t even get to go to the Super Bowl. I’m just happy the Patriots organization is taking us,” she said, adding that she’s looking forward to seeing this year’s halftime performers, Katy Perry and John Legend, take the stage.

Nigro said her appearance in Arizona alongside her squad is more of a business trip with some activities on the side. In 2012, the trip was a series of early mornings and late nights jam-packed with appearances on network television shows like Fox and Friends, and visits to a military base. There was also a planned media day and practice sessions squeezed into the short few days prior to the big game.

“We are able to have a little fun,” she said. “Last year, the Krafts had a welcome party, and after the game they had a get-together. It’s a great mix of working and enjoying the huge accomplishment of the Patriots making it to the Super Bowl.”

But this is the last time she’ll get to enjoy it. Due to regulations, Patriots cheerleaders can only serve four years on the squad before they are rotated out for a new crop of performers. Nigro was on the team for three consecutive years before taking some time off. She later returned for the current season.

“This is a good goodbye,” she said. “… It’s literally everything and more that I could ask for out of this season, to finish up my fourth year like this.”

The only thing that could top the opportunity to go to Arizona would be to ride on a Duck Boat during a post-game celebration in Boston, she said. “That would be incredible.”


[Michelle at Patriots.com]

Techie By Day, Luvabull By Night: How to Juggle Startup Life and Professional Dance

By Jim Dallke
ChicagoInno.com

The demands of working at a startup are notorious. Long hours, multiple responsibilities, and building a truly innovative business can put a lot of pressure on a young company and its employees. But if you’re used to performing in front of 20,000 screaming fans, maybe the pressures of the tech world don’t seem quite as intimidating.

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Amelia Carpenter is a marketing and communications associate at Narrative Science, a Chicago startup that turns massive amounts of data into written stories. She’s also one of the newest additions to the Luvabulls, the professional dance team of the Chicago Bulls. The dual roles have Carpenter growing a tech brand and doing internal communications during the day, and practicing and performing at the United Center at night. The two jobs require vastly different skill sets, but the gigs have more in common than you might think, Carpenter said.

“At Narrative Science, we have this product and we’re working day in and day out on this team and we all have the same goal,” she said. “And ultimately we have this audience that has these expectations of us. And it’s exactly the same as being on the Luvabulls. You’re working really hard as a team to put something together and deliver to an audience.”

After a full day at Narrative Science, Carpenter practices at least twice a week with the Luvabulls, plus games. During larger performances, like for Halloween and Christmas Day games, the team will practice four times a week. And there are the autograph signings and community outreach events that keep the dancers even busier. It’s a demanding schedule for the 25-year-old Detroit native, but doable with some creative time management, she said.

“I love working on a team,” Carpenter said. “I love working toward something awesome and putting in the work and the time to make it amazing. And the performance part of it, whether it’s delivering a product at Narrative Science or performing at a game, that’s the really rewarding part for me.”

Making the Luvabulls is intensely competitive; roughly 20 women make the team of over 200 that try out. Carpenter made the 2014-15 squad after unsuccessfully trying the previous two years. A dancer all the way through college at the University of Miami Ohio, she said making the Luvabulls was a dream come true.

“You don’t always get instant gratification as a dancer, so making the team was kind of indescribable,” she said. “It was amazing. I worked really hard for it.”

In college, Carpenter was in the entrepreneurship department at Miami and always had a desire to be a journalist and tells stories. So when Narrative Science CEO Stuart Frankel came to the school (where he graduated) to give a talk, Carpenter knew that was the company she wanted to work for.

“I knew about his success at DoubleClick and the sale to Google, and I was really interested in journalism, so when Narrative Science came up it was sort of a natural fit with journalism and tech. I pretty much just emailed him until he responded for an interview.”

Having a dual role in both the tech scene and the professional dance community comes with its challenges. And Carpenter acknowledged that both professions come with their fair share of stereotypes. But Carpenter is proof that techies can be extroverted performers, and dancers can be sort of nerdy. Both communities are very open minded, she said, which is something that attracted her to both professions.

“I think both communities are accepting of all personalities, especially in tech.” she said. “There’s so many good ideas and so much innovation, you have to be (open minded). And you have to be smart to be a dancer … to be that creative and to do the things that we do.”

The jobs have Carpenter thinking about how to merge the two, like using Bulls data at Narrative Science to perform predictive analytics before the season. She said both jobs compliment her personality, and she hopes to continue the roles in the future.

“I get to have my day job, and I’m really passionate about the people I work with there. And I get to go and be really creative and pursue my passion in dance at night.”

[Amelia the Bulls website]

Photo of the Day – January 21

A Baltimore Ravens Cheerleader