It’s only January, but the Spokane Shock fans who attended last night’s Dance Team Finals at the Knitting Factory were in mid-season form.
In front of a standing room only crowd, 27 talented finalists performed three routines under the watchful eye of judges and adoring fans. The finalists were divided into nine groups of three to perform a hip-hop routine, a jazz routine and a pom-routine.
“We changed the format a little bit to allow the audience to see more performances from the dancers,” Dance Team Director Maggie Kazemba explained. “The audience really seemed to enjoy and it allowed the judges to evaluate the contestants on three primary forms of dance that we use in our choreography.”
KREM-2’s Jane McCarthy hosted the event and also interviewed the women to show their personalities.
After all the performances and interviews, the panel of four judges – led by Kazemba – had the difficult task of narrowing the field down.
“That’s always the hard part,” Kazemba said. “We saw a lot of dramatic improvement from people who made it from the first round. It was clear that they worked really hard to perfect the routines.”
After the results were tallied 18 women, including 13 returners, made the 2011 Shock Dance Team.
“I think this year’s team is one of the most talented we have ever assembled. I’m really going to push them this year so that we can continue to raise the bar.”
So, what’s next for Kazemba and her new team?
“Practice. We have our first practice on Sunday,” Kazemba said. “Now that the team is assembled, we need to get to work!”
The defending ArenaBowl Champion Shock open the season on the road in San Jose on March 11th against the SaberCats. The following weekend the Shock will host the Cleveland Gladiators on March 19th with the Dance Team and Shock fans ready to cheer them on.
Click here for some pictures from the first round and the Finals as captured by Gary Peterson and Randy Cahalan. More pictures will be added soon!
Meg Ayers came to long distance running, as she describes it, on a whim.
In 2004, while she was a Lady Wrangler cheerleader for the Austin Wranglers arena football team, she entered the lottery for the ING New York City Marathon in 2004.
“I had hardly run at all before that, maybe a few miles now and then, but I got picked, so I started running,” she says.
Ayers, who is a business development consultant for the MMC Group, followed a 16-week marathon training program, which included one 20-mile long run, and then ran in New York.
“It was so painful running that far. I slept the whole day after finishing. Now, I can run 20 miles and go work afterwards,” says Ayers.
In October 2006, Ayers ran, and won, the Marathon 2 Marathon in West Texas — a race from Alpine to the town of Marathon. Her time: 3:33:51. In 2008, she improved her marathon time at the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Antonio Marathon: 3:08:44.
Some runners start at the shorter distances and work their way up. Ayers started at the longer distances and has been working her way up.
She became interested in ultra races after pacing her boyfriend, Josh Hare, for the last 15 miles of the Jemez Mountain Trail Run 50K in May 2009. Pacing Hare at that event in Los Alamos, New Mexico, was Ayers’ first taste of what it might be like to run an ultra, and her first taste of trails.
“It was fun. Jemez Mountain is a hard race, but I loved it,” says Ayers. “I think it’s good to find a balance between the trails and road. I like that you can get lost on the trails. It’s a great place to think and reflect. And I like the variety of the terrain.”
After Jemez Mountain, Ayers decided to compete in the Palo Duro Trail Run 50K in Palo Duro Canyon near Amarillo. To prepare, she spent time in Boulder, Colorado, running mountain trails. In Austin she trained with Teammac, a group coached by Mac Allen.
Ayers didn’t just finish at her first ultra in Palo Duro. She won the event in five hours, eight minutes and 16 seconds.
“Obviously, she has a certain level of natural ability, but Meg’s work ethic is off the charts. Her success is a direct result of how hard she hits her workouts — every single time. She’s got the competitive heart of a lioness,” says Phil McDuffee, a longtime training buddy.
Last weekend, Ayers went to Big Bend National Park, intending to run her second 50K. The Big Bend Ultra starts at 3,200 feet and drops steadily to 1,900 feet on packed dirt park roads.
Ayers changed her plans and ran, instead, the 25K race that is staged at the same time.
“I woke up Sunday morning at 5 a.m. feeling sick to my stomach, and decided to run the 25K instead,” says Ayers. “I had planned on running the 50K, but I’m really glad I didn’t because my stomach was so bad I just couldn’t eat anything.
“I won the 25K race in 2:11:11. Other than my stomach problems, it was a great experience — gorgeous, with spectacular views.”
To dance like no one is watching is a lot easier said than done. Just ask the more than 30 women who tried out this past weekend to be a part of the Spokane Shock Dance Team under the watchful eye of a panel of four judges.
“I’ve been dancing for a long time but I still get anxious and nervous,” Dance Team hopeful Casandra said. “Dancing is what I love and so it makes it all worth it.”
Casandra, a fourth-year veteran, is one of eleven members of the 2010 team who hopes to earn a spot on the 2011 team.
“We had a lot of talented girls come out,” Dance Team Director Maggie Kazemba said. “Each year, we want the team to continue to improve and I think we have been able to do that. We still have some tough decisions to make for the final cuts.”
27 girls advanced to the finals, including all 12 returning members.
The Dance Team Finals will be held on January 20th downtown at the Knitting Factory, 919 W. Sprague Ave., for an all-ages show. The doors will open at 6 PM and the show will start at 7 PM. Tickets are $5 in advance or $7 the night of the event through the Knitting Factory.
At the end of the night, the Shock will announce the 2011 Rockstar Shock Dance Team.
“It’s a fun event every year,” Kazemba added. “The team enjoys it and our fans do also. We really want to pack the house to give our team a taste of what it’s like at the Shock games.”
Due to the impending snowstorm, the Philadelphia Soulmates Final Auditions have been postponed from tonight to Thursday night. The location is still Chickie’s & Pete’s in South Philadelphia. The auditions are closed, but once the squad is selected, they will be unveiled to the public for the first time that evening.
This is Deonna at last week’s semi-finals. She’s danced the the NJ Prancers last season, and her tryout uniform is the same one that Natalie, the Prancers coach, wore when Natalie made the NY Jets Flight Crew.
Soulmate bootcamp has been going on for close to a month, and last night the finalists were selected. Today (Thursday) the hopefuls will interview with team management. And then next Tuesday the forty dancers will compete for a spot on the squad at Chickie’s & Pete’s in South Philadelphia. While the finals are closed, fans should still stop by. After the squad is selected, they will be introduced to the public for the first time.
The Philadelphia Soul have been gone for two seasons, but the team has returned for the 2011 AFL season. And so has their dance team, the Soulmates. Open Call auditions were held this past Sunday and more than 100 dancers from across the tri-state area tried out.
Since we last saw former Soulmate Justina she graduated from Rowan University and is now looking to go to graduate school and study speech pathology.
The Soulmates new choreographer Andrea Mychaels taught a high-energy routine that had exhausted just watching it.
Dana and Sam were member of the NJ Prancers Dance Team this past season.
Assisting Andrea with teaching the choreography was Brett, who majored in Dance at Arizona State University.
Yasmeen is a former Soulmate; she also cheered for the Philadlphia Eagles and the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Pioneers. She’s finishing up her Masters in Elementary Education at St. Joseph’s University. And if that weren’t enough she’s the current Miss Pennsylvania Galaxy.
Yes, there were plenty of leaps on Sunday.
Alex earned a spot on the 2010-11 Philadelphia KiXX Dance Team, before the club suspended operations for the season.
At the end of the day the 100+ hopefuls were narrowed to 60. The sixty semi-finalists will now go on to Soulmates Bootcamp. After bootcamp there will be one more cut. The remaining dancers will compete for a spot on the squad at finals to be held at Chickie’s & Pete’s in early January.
Preliminary Tryouts Scheduled for Saturday, January 8, 2011
Orlando, Fla. – The Orlando Predators are looking for some Prowlers! The team is proud to announce the 2011 Prowler Dance Team tryouts, scheduled to take place on Saturday, January 8, 2011. The auditions will be held at the New Dimensions Dance Academy, located at 2462 W. State Rd. 426, Suite 1040 in Oviedo, Fla. Prowler tryout check-in and registration will open at 10:30am. Tryouts will begin promptly at 12:00pm.
All female dancers who will be at least 18 years-old by January 18, 2011 are encouraged to tryout. Pre-registration is recommended and encouraged. To pre-register or for more information on the Prowler tryouts please email Jen Menzel at JMenzel@OrlandoPredators.com, Billie O’Hara at BOhara@OrlandoPredators.com or call 407-447-3333.
The requirements to become and Orlando Prowler are as follows:
* Participants must be 18 years-old by January 18, 2011.
* Participants must participate in all phases of the audition, including the finals on January 18, 2011.
* Participants must provide a headshot, full-body shot and resume – these items will not be returned.
* The will be a $25.00 non-refundable registration fee.
The final auditions will be held on Tuesday, January 18, 2010 at a TBD venue.
Chicago Rush (December 4, 2010) – Saturday marked the conclusion of the 2011 Adrenaline Rush Dancer auditions after four weeks of extensive training and preparation. Eighteen ladies were awarded a spot on the squad after a panel of judges determined that they best exemplified the skills, appearance and attitude of an Adrenaline Rush Dancer.
Several faces on the 2011 team will be familiar to Rush fans with seven veterans of the last season’s Adrenaline Rush Dancers returning this year; Mekial, Ashley F., Brittanie, Courtnie, Lindsay, Raquel and Vicky. Mekial is the Adrenaline Rush captain entering her sixth year with the squad. The other eleven members are entering their rookie campaign as Adrenaline Rush Dancers; Ashley M., Ashley C., Corina, Crystal, Nicole, Kara, Michelle, Amber, Kim, Emily, and Caitlin.
“The final audition was one of the most exciting and nerve-wracking experiences I’ve ever been through! Knowing I had just a few minutes to make a lasting impression on the judges was the most stressful part,” commented Adrenaline Rush Dancers rookie Michelle. “But the second I saw how many supporters and fans we had out there, it was totally exhilarating and reinforced how much I really wanted a place on the team. Being a rookie, I’m not quite sure what to expect this season but I know there will be a lot hard work and fun times. I’m thrilled to be a part of the awesome RUSH organization!”
”On top of the jitters the girls already were feeling, we had to throw in a potentially dangerous drive downtown in the midst of a snow storm, but despite all that pressure the girls performed extremely well,” Dance Coordinator Gloria Esposito said. “I couldn’t have been happier with the way they performed. We had a huge range of talent to choose from and the final decisions were hard, as each judge had their favorites. I think in the end we picked a great team of 18 ladies who will represent the Chicago Rush in every manner that is expected of us.”