Two weeks ago the Philadelphia Soulmates traveled back to the 40s for Salute the Military night. See all the photos here.
Two weeks ago the Philadelphia Soulmates traveled back to the 40s for Salute the Military night. See all the photos here.
Multi-faceted Joie’s path to Director of the Arena Football League’s talented GFC squad included an extensive dance history, including dancing for NBA, NFL, and AFL teams, and an impressive corporate resume, including being a Vice President. All of this began in Prince George’s County, Maryland, where Joie first started cheerleading and gymnastics during elementary school. Joie continued competitive cheerleading throughout high school and college, and discovered a love for physical fitness and nutrition along the way.
Joie’s professional dance career began with the Washington Bullets NBA Dance Team in 1993, where she danced for two seasons. After moving to Atlanta, Joie became a member of the AFL’s Georgia Force Cheerleaders for six seasons, two of which she served as line captain. Joie had the privilege of being selected to perform at the 2008 Arena Bowl in New Orleans as a member of the Aaron’s AFL Dream Team. Joie is also a former Atlanta Falcons Cheerleader of three seasons, receiving such awards as “Teammate of the Year” and the team “Community Service” award. Outside of cheerleading, Joie has choreographed and performed in various concerts and themed shows in the Atlanta and Washington, DC metro areas.
Mentoring is a passion for Joie in all areas of her life, and she considers herself a lifelong youth mentor and dance enthusiast. In addition, Joie’s professional career led her to become a Vice President for a major financial institution. Over the course of 15 years with the company, she developed and mentored several young men and women. Today, she continues her role as mentor by serving as the Director of the Georgia Force Cheerleaders. She is also a small business owner and a regular volunteer for Habitat for Humanity. Joie is a graduate of The University of Maryland College Park where she obtained a B.S. in Marketing.
Joie graciously agreed to share her insights and history with UltimateCheerleaders.com.
UC.com: Tell us about your progression from childhood to pro cheerleading.
Joie: I grew up a painfully shy kid in Maryland who couldn’t sit still. My only release was to dance and sing in the family room for my parents with the fireplace hearth as my stage and my brother’s Legos as my ‘mike.’ I knew I had to break out of my shyness, so cheerleading became the answer to that problem. You see, as a cheerleader on a team, I could dance and scream because I was supposed to and I was not the only one! Perfect! I cheered in middle school, high school and college, and cheerleading was pretty much my life. It was so important to me to do well in cheerleading that I taught myself how to do back hand springs and other gymnastic stunts.
I heard an ad for Washington Bullets dance team tryouts on the radio, so I decided to give it a shot. I had to be brave and do something I wouldn’t normally do. All these years I had challenged myself to get outside of my comfort zone and see how far it would take me. That bravery paid off and I made the team. That also landed me a gig at Six Flags singing, acting, and dancing in a Sixties sock hop revue; yes, I was on a REAL stage! My fireplace hearth rehearsals paid off too!
After two years dancing with the Bullets (now the Washington Wizards), I was ready to graduate college and test my bravery again by moving to a new city. I landed a job as a Vice President at a major financial institution and set my sights on Atlanta. I chose Atlanta because of the youth of the city and the opportunity to buy cheap real estate. After settling in I began to ‘gig’ around town, dancing for various recording artists and meeting great people in the process. I heard about the Georgia Force and thought it might be right up my alley; I was right. I made the team and loved every minute of my six years on the team. For the last two years of my Force career, I danced for the Atlanta Falcons simultaneously. There were several Georgia Force Cheerleaders (GFCs) that cheered for the Atlanta Falcons Cheerleaders as well. Therefore, we rehearsed Monday and Wednesday for the Force, Tuesday and Thursday for the Falcons, and we still had Force games on the weekends. My final year as a GFC, I was blessed to be chosen as the Dream Team representative for the Force at Arena Bowl. Therefore, I also had to learn all of the material from a DVD. I’m not sure how I did all of that, but I was addicted to dancing and I loved it! If the AFL had not folded after 2008, I’m not sure I would have quit dancing for the Force. But it did, and life goes on. I still had the Falcons. I danced for the AFC for one final AMAZING year and I quit while I was ahead. I had danced for eleven amazing seasons in the NBA, AFL and NFL and I have no regrets.
UC.com: What do you remember about those first tryouts with the Bullets Dance Team? Did you have any idea you would still be part of pro cheer/dance years into the future?
Joie: I couldn’t believe I made the team my first try! I didn’t know what to expect so I just did what I had been doing throughout high school and college. I was a little embarrassed because I was such a cheerleader! The other girls had studio dance training and I had none. So I had to quickly adapt and gave it my best shot. The only thing I remember clearly is the smile on the face of who turned out to be the President of Washington Sports; she came up to me after my audition and told me I did a great job. That actually made me feel welcome and when they called my name, I felt this was the beginning of something big in my life. Professional cheerleading was not something I intended to be a part of, but I’ve never felt more at home than when I’m with my teammates, all doing what we love.
UC.com: What are you most memorable moments in your years cheering for the Bullets, Force, and Falcons; any moments when you were a little TOO close to the action?
Joie: If you cheer or dance long enough, you will come a little TOO close to the action! I was tumbling during an NBA time out to my favorite song – YMCA! I stepped out of my tumbling pass at the end of the court and didn’t see the photographer sitting cross legged under the basket. I plopped right down into his lap and he looked at me and said, “Hi there!” I was mortified, especially since it made the highlight reel that night.
The “AFL Dream Team” is composed of one dancer from each AFL team who along with performing at the ArenaBowl will also make appearances during the AFL’s championship week.
“’AFL Dream Team’ adds even more excitement and entertainment for our fans at ArenaBowl,” Commissioner Jerry B. Kurz said.
36 dancers (two in each market) competed for a spot on the team. Fans voted on one dancer per team once a day on ArenaFootball.com. The dancers with the most votes on each team made the cut.
DiBiase-Wheat, comes to the Americans with an impressive resume, including stints with both the Dallas Mavericks, 2000-2002, where she was Team Captain. And the Dallas Desperados, 2003-2004 as a choreographer/dancer. She has also made appearances on “Live with Regis and Kelly, Good Day Dallas, and Fox Sports Net.
“After dancing and choreographing for different sports organizations, it feels great to have a team of my own, said DiBiase Wheat. I look forward to sharing my experiences and expertise that I received as a dancer and choreographer for the Dallas Mavericks, and Dallas Desperados”. “To be a part of the Americans organization and The Ice Angels is extremely exciting for me. Let the fun and entertainment begin”.
“We feel with the experience that Stephanie brings to our organization, the Ice Angels will
The Ice Angels were founded by BreAnna Foddrill in 2009 and have been an integral part of the Americans organization. The Allen Americans Ice Angels are actively involved in the Collin County and surrounding communities civic and nonprofit organizations.
The Ice Angels prep classes begin July 22nd and tryouts are August 13th.
Often, pro dancers either began performing at such a young age that they cannot even remember not dancing, or were stricken with a lifelong love of dance like a lightning bolt during a memorable opportunity when they were a bit older. But Britney of the Georgia Force Cheerleaders started dancing when she was young, only to quit. Twice! But that period of her dance journey illustrates three aspects of Britney’s personality: a keen desire to excel at everything she puts her mind to, always keeping an open mind, and being true self-starter. These traits led Britney to being valedictorian of her high school class, graduating Magna Cum Laude from college, earning a Master’s degree at Georgia Tech, and now being part of the ‘thinking outside the box’ world of software. And read on, because Britney’s advice may help save your computer from utter peril and destruction.
The first bump in her road to professional dance occurred when Britney was about three years old. “The preschool I attended had a ballet program,” recalls Britney, who was born and raised in suburban Atlanta. “I did not enjoy dancing at that time and stopped taking ballet when I turned five; to this day I wish I had stuck with it. At the age of eight, I began taking jazz dance classes and that’s when I fell in love with dance. Like any child, I had always danced around the house whenever music was playing, but when I first saw my jazz teacher dance, that’s when I fell in love with it as an art form.”
So this must be the key moment, Britney loves dance, so she dances for the rest of her life, eventually making it to the AFL sidelines, right? Nope, as Britney explains, “Though I loved it, I don’t think it loved me back because I was not very good. My sister told me that I was too stiff and needed to loosen up. I was not accustomed to not excelling and I did something that I dedicate myself to not doing now, I quit. I stopped dancing around the age of ten and didn’t dance again, outside of the regular dancing everyone does, until my junior year in high school.”
But luckily for Georgia Force fans, Britney relaxed and allowed dance to love her back during her third encounter with it. “My best friend had made our high school dance team our sophomore year, and I would watch them perform and want to be out there so badly. When auditions came up our junior year she begged me to audition and so I went, and I was actually good,” Britney remembers. “Up until that point I had pretty much been known as a ‘brain.’ I was, ‘Britney, the smart girl.’ People were surprised when I auditioned, and even more surprised when I actually performed well. I had of course grown both physically and mentally since the age of ten, and I stopped caring so much about not looking good and just performed. I truly enjoyed performing and I have not stopped dancing since, and I plan to keep dancing until I just can’t anymore.”
‘Britney, the smart girl’ persisted, just morphing into ‘Britney, the smart girl who can dance.’ Britney’s desire to make herself the best she can be at any task can be traced to her childhood. “My first ‘job’ ever was folding boxes in the bakery my grandfather owned when I was around ten years old,” Britney recalls. “Though I believe he was just trying to keep me and my sister busy, this was the first time that I was paid for doing work. He probably would have given me the $10 whether I folded the boxes or not, but it felt good to believe that I had earned it. Even back then I tried hard to excel at what I did even when it something as simple as folding more boxes in a shorter time than my older sister.”
School was the central venue that provided a chance for Britney to excel, as she says, “Excellence in academics was always important to me growing up as well. Although my parents assured me they simply wanted me to do the best that I could, ‘the best I could’ for me became being number one. Starting in elementary school, once I knew what a Valedictorian was, I set my sights on becoming Valedictorian. It was never my parents who pushed me to be at the top of my class, though once I got there it was an expectation of theirs and mine that I would stay there.”
CHICAGO (July 14, 2011) — The Chicago Rush is pleased to announce that Adrenaline Rush dancer Brittanie has been selected by arena football fans to represent the Chicago Rush on the AFL Dream Team sponsored by Aaron’s at ArenaBowl XXIV. She will be performing during the game as well as making numerous appearances throughout the week leading up to the ArenaBowl on August 12th.
“I’m very, very excited and thankful to have been selected by the fans,” says Brittanie. “It’s a great accomplishment to represent Chicago.”
Brittanie is a second-year member of the dance team and lives in the suburbs of Chicago. Off the field she works as a teacher as well as a bartender.
“I am so happy for Brittanie,” said Adrenaline Rush Dance Coordinator, Gloria Esposito. “She is extremely deserving of this recognition and will represent us well.”
The Aaron’s “AFL Dream Team” is comprised of 18 dancers from each AFL team who will perform at ArenaBowl XXIV. 36 dancers competed for the available spots as fans voted for one dancer per team at ArenaFootball.com. The dancers with the most votes were named members of 2011’s Dream Team.
When you think of the coolest movie characters of the 20th Century, people like Tom Cruise flying in Top Gun, John Travolta dancing in Saturday Night Fever or Pulp Fiction, and Harrison Ford, either jetting through the galaxy in Star Wars or going from academia to adventure as Indiana Jones, come to mind. Well, move over fellas, in the 21st century there is going to be a young woman who rolls all of these cool roles into being one of the singular coolest people of the new millennium. And she isn’t going to be relying on a script or using stunt people, she will be doing it all on her own, for real. Kim of the Georgia Force Cheerleaders is an aerospace engineer, and after work, she may be out flying planes or dancing on the field during a sold out AFL game at Gwinnett Arena outside of Atlanta. Plus, she is gracious, hospitable, and as nice a person as you’d ever want to meet.
Kim is in her rookie season as a Georgia Force Cheerleader. Her dance experience includes being a member and captain on both the Georgia Tech Goldrush Dance Team during undergrad, and then the Atlanta Chiefs Semi-Pro inaugural team after graduation. This is just the recent stuff; Kim has over 22 years of dance experience, and has choreographed routines for semi-pro and high school teams.
Kim received her undergraduate degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2009 with a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering and is currently working on her Masters in Aeronautical Science from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. She works as a flight test engineer at the Georgia Tech Research Institute, and has participated in test programs on the AT-6C and A-10 aircraft. Kim also has her private pilot’s license and is a VFR rated pilot for single engine aircraft and enjoys flying Cessna 172’s when she can. Her future plans include applying for a fighter pilot slot with the United States Air National Guard, in addition to one day coaching her own high school or collegiate dance team. So if they ever need to get away that James Bond concept and looking for someone to be Jane Bond, or to develop an original super cool adventure hero, I think Kim is the person to fit the bill.
Kim kindly agreed to be interviewed by UltimateCheerleaders.com, and we learn about her love of dance, and her passion for engineering and flight, and why someday, we may all be flying around like “The Jetsons.”
UC.com: Tell us about your life’s journey: Where were you born? What was your first job ever?
Kim: I was born and raised in Tallahassee, Florida, where I lived until I moved to Atlanta for college. I grew up in a three generational home with my maternal grandmother helping raise my little sister and me in our house. Both of my parents are law enforcement officers, so I had a very protected but loving life growing up, and my first job was at my dance studio working as an assistant teacher to children from age two to twelve. After high school graduation, I moved up to Atlanta to go to Georgia Tech, and have never left. After graduation from Tech, I went from undergraduate student to research faculty member in a three week time span, and have been a Research Engineer at the Georgia Tech Research Institute for the past two years.
UC.com: Tell us about how your love of dance developed! Were you a high energy child with no shyness about being in the spotlight?
Kim: My family has always had dance in our lives, and so I believe my love of dance came from my mother. My mother and aunt danced for over fifteen years growing up, and it was as much a part of their lives as it was for my sister and me. I don’t quite remember too much about when I first started dance, except I remember being really excited to put on mommy’s make up at my first dance recital and every year, without fail, my father would show up with a beautiful bouquet of flowers to give me after my performance. I was always a social child, but I loved keeping my nose in a book and was quite happy at home, so my parents were a little shocked when they saw how much I loved performing on a stage. I think that dance has always been an outlet for me to escape whatever realities I was facing, and get to be an actress of sorts for whatever piece I’m performing. My parents recognized this early on, and encouraged me to continue to dance all the way through the collegiate and professional levels.
Kiley of the Georgia Force Cheerleaders (GFC) has had quite of few memorable experiences in her young life. Sure, I bet meeting Oprah was cool, but encountering Mr. Belding from the “Saved by the Bell,” the show with the best TV theme song of all time, now that had to be be uber awesome. And now, Kiley will represent the GFC as a member of the Dream Team at the upcoming Arena Bowl, which will feature the best of the best AFL teams. But one has a feeling that the real superstars to Kiley are the cancer patients and families she works with on a day to day basis. Though their names are not as universally known, Kiley’s mission is making their days the best they can be.
Kiley is in her first season with the GFC and also serves as captain. A relative newcomer to Atlanta, Kiley recalls, “I was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, where I spent my time with a huge Irish Catholic family. The only period I lived outside of Chi-town was when I was in college at Purdue University. I never thought I would live anywhere but a big city, but I bleed Black and Gold despite Purdue being in the middle of the corn fields of West Lafayette, Indiana.”
Growing up, Kiley had an eventful childhood, including, as she says, “I worked a ton of special event jobs growing up! One of the craziest jobs I ever had though was working the Taste of Chicago. I worked in one of the grocery store booths and was in charge of dipping the corn into giant butter tubs and chopping up watermelon. It was an interesting way to spend the hot and humid Chicago nights. “
But one unique childhood job provided an opportunity to meet a multi-media icon, Kiley recalls, “I did a few promotional videos for Oprah with my little brother. Thankfully we were two kids who could ham up any situation and were selected among several to goof around on playgrounds and shoot scenes acting out the serious situation Oprah would speak on that day. We did meet Oprah and her voice is larger than life! It’s great. The studio is much smaller than you would think! We had a blast and if anyone still has a working VHS, those videos are ready to be shared (laughing).”
Since practically the beginning, dance also played a big role in Kiley’s life, as she was inspired and mentored by truly special people, including, “My mom is my biggest supporter and number one role model. She says I danced before I could walk and decided to channel all my energy into ballet classes. It’s a good thing I’ve always been taller than most, because my mom snuck me into ballet as a two year old, when you are supposed to be three to start! (laughs) I am very shy when you don’t see me under the spotlight or in uniform, and dance has helped to increase my self-esteem and allowed me to meet so many amazing people! Aside from my mother, all of my coaches have always inspired me to be stronger and dig deeper than I thought possible. My college coach at Purdue first introduced me to the professional world through the Indiana Pacemates. I’m living in a dream world now, and I can’t believe the many blessings I’ve been given. Dance will always be deep in my heart, so it’s unbelievable to see the journey it’s taken me on so far!”
Continue reading From Oprah to Mr. Belding to Purdue Pete; Georgia Force Cheerleader Kiley Continues Her Star-Studded Journey with the Dream Team
Congratulations to Captain and 1st-year Philadelphia Soulmate who will represent her squad on the Arena Bowl XXIV Dream Team.
If there was a Guinness World Record entry for, “First Planking by an Entire Professional Cheerleading Squad,” I think the Georgia Force Cheerleaders could be the winner of 2011′s photo craze. GFC Director Joie Ashworth had the squad planking prior to last Saturday’s AFL game against the Chicago Rush.
And the Force Cheerleaders choice to balance upon the padded sideline walls is appropriate for this squad comprised of engineers, math majors, and a host of other bright women, as their knowledge of gravitational pull, perpendicularity, and fulcrums certainly may have helped their “not as easy as it looks” balancing act.
Here are some photos as the GFC prepared to have a planking good time. And we will have features and interviews with some of the talented women of the Georgia Force Cheerleaders in the coming days!
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