2015-16 Pittsburgh Penguins Ice Crew Auditions

The Pittsburgh Penguins have chosen of their 2015-16 Ice Crew. It’s the largest squad ever with 24 members. Check out the video for more on the selection process.

Photo of the Day – July 24

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From 2008 – Janelle of the Philadelphia Eagles Cheerleaders

LA Kings 2014-15 Ice Crew Profile – Keegan

Kings Vision was on hand for the 14-15 Ice Crew calendar photo shoot Check out this profile featuring Ms. November 2015, Keegan!

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Where’s Waldo? Just ask the Charity of the Ohio Dance Machine!

Charity is a third-year veteran of Major League Lacrosse's Oho Dance Machine

Charity is a third-year veteran of Major League Lacrosse’s Oho Dance Machine

Charity gets asked, “Where’s Waldo?” all the time. And she knows the precise answer, “I say it’s between Delaware and Marion.”

The reason Charity gets asked “Where’s Waldo?” so much, is because the member of the MLL’s Ohio Dance Machine is from the town of Waldo, Ohio. So when Charity tells people she is from Waldo, she often hears the standard “Where’s Waldo?” pseudo-question. “I usually laugh, because I do hear it a lot, but it’s still funny. I like that they make that connection. Sometimes my automatic response, even though I understand the joke, I say, ‘It’s between Delaware and Marion,’ because that helps people locate where it is. And they say, ‘Wait, do you get it? The joke?’ So they get a little confused, and I say, ‘No, I get it.’”

And a frequent answer to the question, “Where’s Charity?” is “Dancing.” As far as dance, Charity explains, “I started when I was four. My sister danced, so I’ve just been dancing at Douce Dance Studio since I was little. And I love it!” During the 2014 season, the ever-smiling Charity kindly spent time with UltimateCheerleaders so we could learn more about where Charity has been, and what the future may hold.

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The Ohio Dance Machine is the first sidelines cheer role for Charity. “Before that I’ve only danced. I played violin and trumpet, but I quit all that when I went to high school. I just focused on dance.”

Charity’s dance support begins at home. “My mom’s always has been there for me, for all dance. And she’s really supportive of anything I do, and she never misses any performances. She’s been to every single one I’ve ever done. My family’s very supportive of dance.”

Like much of the Ohio Dance Machine, Charity has a Capital University connection. Charity graduated last May from Capital with a degree in Exercise Science, and she says, “There’s a dance group there called Orchesis and one of the girls that was on the team last year was in Orchesis and she posted it on the page, and someone saw it. So I went to try out.”

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And third year veteran Charity found a sidelines home with Major League Lacrosse’s Ohio Machine, “I really like it. I like that I can still dance. And it’s not just dancing in the room, but I actually to perform, and show people what I’ve learned. And plus, the girls made me want to come back more, because I really like all of them.”

So Charity, if you were in charge of picking a location to take your teammates on a Ohio Dance Machine Calendar shoot, where would you pick? “I would want to pick different locations,” Charity replies, “but if I had to pick one, Colorado’s pretty nice, because of the mountains, and you can have different looking backgrounds in the same area.”

Asked about what her dream job would be, Charity made it all about giving to others. “I don’t really know my dream job. I just like helping people, that sounds weird, but I just really like to help, somehow.” Not weird at all Charity! Charity’s enjoyment of anatomy and physiology lead her to exercise science, and she would like to use her knowledge to assist others, like going into a field such as occupational therapy. “That’s why occupational therapy is really awesome, because it helps you live your daily life better.

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Charity has worked as a personal care assistant in a retirement home and really liked it a lot. Charity values time spent with the senior generation, saying, “Learning their lessons through life, they have a lot of wisdom to teach us, and help us with our decisions; to just mentor us. And I think it’s important to help them too, because sometimes they might get lonely because they’re not around their family at the retirement home. So just going in and talking with them really helps them, plus you learn from their past, and I like that.”

And Charity’s past has some great memories already. Charity liked growing up in small Waldo, with her parents and her older sister, plus “My friends, who are down the road from me. They have eight kids in their family. And they have some of my best friends in their family. So it’s nice being able to hang out with all of them.”

Charity also loved her time at Capital University, which is kind of the opposite of Ohio State. “It would take me maybe four minutes to get to my farthest class, if I left my room, so I loved how small Capital is. My biggest class was under thirty. So that was nice, you knew the professors a lot better.

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On Saturday, July 25, the Ohio Machine hosts the Boston Cannons at Selby Stadium on Fan Appreciation Night. It is the final regular season home game for the Machine before beginning its playoff run. The Ohio Dance Machine will be there too, and we appreciate sweet Charity’s lovely spirit, love of dance, and concern for others. Wherever Waldo is, it creates some really special people.

Thanks so much to Charity for spending time with UltimateCheerleaders last season, and the support of the Ohio Machine franchise. More photos of Charity from 2014 are at this link.

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Brooklynettes Final Auditions

The Brooklyn Nets held final auditions for the Brooklynettes dance team on July 14 at Barclays Center.

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[Brooklynettes Finals Gallery]

Former Oregon Ducks Cheerleader Delaney Burns Makes New England Patriots Dance Team

By Pete Christopher
The Oregonian

When Delaney Burns applied to become a New England Patriots Cheerleader, she kept it a secret.

“I didn’t want to jinx it for myself,” she reasoned.

Originally from Beaverton, Burns danced at Westview High School before cheering for four years with the Oregon Ducks, where she served at team captain her senior year. She moved to New England, where her family resides, after graduating in 2014. Burns kept her goal of making an NFL cheer team quiet from nearly everyone except family, including Oregon cheerleading coach Dana Guthrie.

“I actually didn’t even find out she was going through the process until after she was in it,” Guthrie said. “She didn’t want to tell many people in case it didn’t work out.”

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Although Burns grew up in Oregon, her family roots in New England made her a Patriots fan from a young age. In March, Burns began a month-long tryout with the Patriots that included four rounds of auditions, interviews, performances and cuts. By the end of the month, Burns was one of 28 women who made the team among nearly 300 applicants.

If college athletic program success is measured by the percentage of athletes that reach the professional ranks, Oregon’s top program might well be cheerleading. Five others in Guthrie’s six-year coaching career at Oregon are now with professional sports franchises that include the Portland Trail Blazers, the Golden State Warriors, the San Francisco 49ers and the San Diego Chargers.

“I wish more of them would come east with me, but I have just lucked out where I’ve landed,” Burns said. “It’s also fun hearing from friends with the Blazer Dancers, which is way different from an NFL experience.”

Cheerleaders and dancers in the NBA typically work at all 41 home games, but perform routines intermittently during game breaks. NFL cheerleaders are responsible for fewer games during the season, but are visible in the spotlight throughout the entire game.

Burns enters the professional cheerleading ranks at a turning point in the sport’s history. In July, California legislators passed a law requiring all professional cheerleaders in the state to be treated as team employees, as opposed to contract workers. The law, which goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2016, gives cheerleaders access to minimum wage, overtime, sick pay and more benefits.

The bill stemmed from a lawsuit filed by cheerleaders for the Oakland Raiders, who claimed that they were denied basic benefits because of their contract worker status, even though they were otherwise treated like team employees.

Although no such bill exists in Massachusetts, Burns is considered a team employee with the Kraft Group, which owns both the Patriots and their home in Gillette Stadium.

Getting ready for her first NFL season is not the only thing Burns has on her mind, as she also holds a full-time job outside of the NFL as a merchandising analyst for a home furnishing company in Boston. Several of her Patriots teammates are graduate students. The Patriots cheerleading team holds practice twice per week, with occasional promotional appearances included.

When the regular season begins in September, Burns’ schedule will get even busier. The Patriots cheerleading team works during all eight regular-season home games, and during two preseason home games. Those Sunday home games require Burns and her teammates to arrive up to five hours before kick off. When asked if she would still be able to watch Oregon Ducks games on Saturday, she sighed.

“I’ll record any games that I can’t watch live,” Burns said. “I’m still trying to figure out if I can go to any, but it is not looking likely. I have still never been to Patriots game, but Ducks games are just special.”

2015 P-R-O Convention All Star: Minnesota Vikings Cheerleader Molly

As we begin to wind down our coverage of the 2015 P-R-O Convention, we still have a few more cheerleaders to feature. Purple must be my favorite color because I seem to be attracted to all the cheerleaders that were wearing purple at the convention…it’s a flattering color…at least in my opinion. And our next honoree wears purple well and she happens to be a five year veteran of the Minnesota Vikings Cheerleaders…introducing Molly, our next 2015 P-R-O Convention All Star.

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More to come.

Philadelphia Soulmates on Military Appreciation Day

For Military Appreciation Day, the Soulmates donned the camo and broke out the combat boots”

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Soulmates_WWAFT_0101[Soulmates Gallery]

Photo of the Day – July 23

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A Minnesota Vikings Cheerleader

Photo of the Day – July 22

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A pair of Baltimore Ravens Cheerleaders

Westchester Knicks Dancers Auditions

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[WCKD Audition Information]

2015 P-R-O Convention All Star: Charlotte Honey Bee Sam

Our next 2015 P-R-O Convention All Star is, perhaps, the cheerleader that made the most memorable first impression at the event. Tall. Good looking. Great smile. Wonderful dancer. Great body lines. Statuesque. Photogenic. Enthusiastic. She’s everything that you would want in a cheerleader, visually speaking…I cannot attest to those other qualities that one can only ascertain via an interview, but I would expect she does well in those aspects as well.

Another one of those amazing Charlotte Honey Bees, introducing Sam…a 2015 P-R-O Convention All Star.

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Let’s just say that I am impressed with the Honey Bees…my only regret is that I was only able to shoot half of the squad on the morning of the first day and never got the chance on Sunday to shoot the rest. They are truly an amazing squad…too bad I live on the West Coast.

Who’s next? We still have several more special girls to feature…so stay tuned.

My Perfect Job

By Steve Pettit
KDHNews.com

With blonde tresses tossing, a dancer’s perfect posture and her signature smile flashing, Traci Tipping strode across the foyer in Vive Les Arts Theatre.

After a hasty conference with VLA’s technical guru, John Arceneaux, she turned and concisely evaluated the status of this month’s show, “Shrek the Musical.”

“We’ve all put forth a lot of effort on this show and I think our audiences will have a fabulous experience.”

As executive director of Killeen’s pre-eminent nonprofit arts organization, her appraisal carries considerable weight. She’s in charge of all aspects of the eight main stage and four children’s shows produced each season at the Killeen theater.

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“I wear a lot of hats — from writing grants, working with the board, hiring staff, planning the shows, coordinating all of the marketing, public relations and advertising for each production. I love getting kids involved on the stage as well as behind the scenes. We’ve partnered with the Boys & Girls Cub, started poetry nights, a VIP card for members and lots more.”

And that burst of activity is a thread that’s run through this hometown girl’s life.

“I was born at King’s Daughter, went to school at Clifton Park Elementary, Eastern Hills Middle School and graduated from Killeen High School. I’m a fifth-generation Killeen resident — Conder Park is named after my great uncle,” she said. Born Traci Curb, she has a twin brother, Travis, and began her dance career early.

“I started tap and jazz at age 3, and had dance recitals, competitions and drill teams. I went to Tarleton State and graduated with a B.S. in business.” Degree in hand, she made a momentous decision. “I auditioned and was chosen for the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders.”

Tipping’s smile widened as she recalled her year with the fabled troupe. “It was amazing — something I’d never experienced. If you saw the reality TV show, you saw what it’s like. I truly cherish the experience and it’s a feeling and memory I’ll have forever.”

And what brought her stint with America’s Team to a close?

“I met Will Tipping at Tarleton and we started dating. After graduation, he went to the University of Houston’s pharmacy school but drove to Dallas each weekend to see me.”

The road trips paid off — the couple married after Will’s graduation in 2008, he landed a job at H-E-B in Belton and the newlyweds built a place in the Salado countryside. The family now includes Grace, 7, and Wyatt, 5, sharing the homestead with a gelding pony and a pet dog.

Traci taught Zumba at a local gym and later was a ballet and jazz instructor at Central Texas College. Professional experience in the IT world was gained through her affiliation with Modis as a recruiter of tech industry consultants.

But she still made time for her first love, dancing at VLA in 1999’s “Vive Les Dance,” “Beehive” in 2000 and 2008’s “Cats.”

“The arts are my passion,” she explained. “That’s why this is my perfect job. There is a great team of employees here at VLA and like me, they’re intent on staying. We want patrons to feel like we care about them and enjoy this one-of-a-kind entertainment.”

With deep roots in the Killeen community, Tipping shared her feelings about Vive Les Arts. “I love being a part of the VLA family.”

2015 Pacemate Auditions

On Sunday roughly 100 ambitious dancers auditioned at Bankers Life Fieldhouse to become a member of the 2015-16 Indiana Pacemates.

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[Pacemates Audition Gallery 1]

[Pacemates Audition Gallery 2]

The Agony and the Ecstasy of Dallas Mavericks Dancers Tryouts

By Paige Skinner
The Dallas Observer

Inside D1 Sports Training, 30 women perform a newly learned dance routine on a small basketball gym floor.

One woman, in the back, stops mid-performance to fix her top after realizing it had come undone. None of the other women notice because they are solely focused on their performance.

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It’s the Dallas Mavericks Dancers training camp. After 300 women went through the rounds of auditions, 30 women remain, but only 20 will be chosen for the final team.

Trying out for and being on the team again means a lot to Emily Villarreal, a one-year veteran of the dance squad. Having already experienced the high of performing at sold-out Mavericks games and becoming best friends with her teammates, she knows how much she has to lose.

“Going into my second year means more than my first year because I know what I have to lose,” she says. “All of these girls are my best friends and just the opportunities that I’ve had with the Mavericks this year, I definitely don’t want to give that up, so it means everything to me to come back and make it my second year.”

About 45 minutes before the final night of training camp begins, Villarreal sits in a small room inside D1 Sports Training surrounded by her dancing peers. They are applying makeup, teasing their hair and changing into their clothes to prep for the last night of training camp before the squad is announced. Most have just fought rush-hour traffic driving from their full-time jobs or schools. But all of the prepping has gone on for a while. Prep classes were offered to the women, one hour Monday through Thursday. Even though she had made the team once before, Villarreal still attended the prep classes to feel extra prepared. With all of the time spent, she compares being on the team to a full-time job.

“It’s a lot of work. I feel like this is basically a full-time job as well, because we have practice every night or we have games or appearances,” she says. “I just feel like it’s a lot to handle, but it’s worth it.”

Outside of the small room, Mallory Mills, the director of the Dallas Mavericks Dancers, greets each woman as she walks in the training facility.

She is friendly. The women show her their respect by answering, “Yes ma’am” and “No ma’am.”

It’s all familiar for Mills, however. Tall with short brown hair, Mills easily could be mistaken for one of the dancers. She was in their position years ago, performing as a Dallas Mavericks Dancer for seven years. She’s been director for six.

“I guess for me, being in their shoes before, it kind of pulls on my heartstrings a little bit because I can tell if a girl was awesome, you know, she was so good and then she came to auditions and her nerves just got the best of her,” Mills says. “So I’m kind of a sucker for that. I’m always like, ‘She was really good at prep class, I want to see what she can do after.’ Because for some people, it’s just like taking tests. Some people aren’t good at it.”

After stretching, the candidates shed a layer of clothing to practice and learn their routines in black shorts and a black half-top. Mills asks to see the women, 10 at a time, perform last night’s routine. She sits on the ground with a notebook and watches each of the women.

Afterward, a veteran of the squad teaches the women a new dance she choreographed. She goes over every move with counts, as well as words. “So your butt is going out on 8,” she says to the women. “You’re going to do a stanky leg on 1, 2.”

The women pick up the routine quickly. After 40 minutes, the minute-or-so routine is taught and there are no major hiccups. The candidates’ hair is down and their earrings are in place. While they are sweating, they continue to smile and focus throughout.

“This week in training camp, we look for the performance,” Mills says. “I mean, obviously, we did as well on Saturday and Sunday, but they’re nervous, so this week, it’s more of, ‘Are they going to shine, are they thriving, are they getting better than they were on Saturday?’”

The final squad will be announced Thursday.