Japanese Cheerleader, Azusa Makes The Washington Redskins Cheerleaders

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Special to UC.com
SidelinePrep.com
May 26, 2016

On April 9th, the final audition was held for 2016-2017 Washington Redskins squad.  Japanese native, Azusa made the team as one of eight rookies.  The Washington DC area will be her new home for the next few years as she dances on the sidelines at FedEx Field in support of the burgundy and gold.

At the age of 5, Azusa started classical studio ballet in Tokyo.  Since then, she has always loved dancing, performing and growing her technical abilities.  In her college years in Canada, she didn’t have the opportunity to dance.  She focused on her education but she missed performing and knew in the not so distant future that she would begin dancing once again.  Her college degree landed her a reputable job for a major Japanese electrical company.  Three years after she started working as a sales representative traveling to many countries like Germany, UK, Switzerland, Italy, China and Korea to conduct business, she began focusing on her love for dance again.  She auditioned for IBM BigBlue cheerleaders, an American Football cheerleading team in Japan, and made it on her first attempt.  From there her cheerleader life began.

In regards to cheerleading, Azusa said, “In the very beginning, I tried out because it looked like fun, but little by little, I was hooked.”  During the summer of 2014, she took a Redskins Cheerleader workshop in Japan, which a former Japanese Redskins Cheerleader Maki Nakayama hosted.  Then she started to think about trying out for the National Football League…with her eyes on the Washington Redskins Cheerleaders.  She wanted to as well prepared for the auditions as possible, so in addition to taking numerous dance classes in Tokyo, she also applied for a spot on Sideline Prep’s Professional Cheerleader Coaching Program.  She received one-on-one and group advice from Sideline Prep, pro cheerleader alumni, and other participants in the group. This also enabled her to have the “inside scoop” on auditions on the east coast.  It was a great support system for preparing to be a pro cheerleader.

In January 2016, she attended Sideline Prep’s Pro Cheer Audition Prep Workshop where she was able to learn from and meet the top coaches in the DC area.  Then in March 2016, she flew to Washington D.C to attend prep classes and try out for the Washington Redskins Cheerleaders.  As Azusa thinks back to the auditions held at the beginning of April, she said “There was a moment where I exceeded my limit but I have always believed in myself and slowly but surely, I pushed myself through.  After many hours of preparation and practice, now I’m happy to be a member of the First Ladies of the Football and can’t wait to perform at FedEx Field in front of fans!” Her journey as Redskins Cheerleader just has begun.

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Aspiring DCC Berkly Brown

Scenes from Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders Finals

DFW.com has extensive galleries from last weekend’s auditions.

Click here for photos from the individual solos.

Click here for photos from the kickline and choreography

2016 DCC Finals_wait

2016 DCC Finals_solos.

2016 DCC Finals_solo

2016 DCC Finals_choreo

2016 DCC Finals_kickline

Dolphins cheerleader Jennifer Chang defies odds to walk, dance

By Jim Varsallone
Miami Herald
May 20, 2016

Told by doctors as a youth that she would never walk again, a determined and inspirational Jennifer Chang not only walks but dances and cheers, making the world-renowned Miami Dolphins cheerleading team.

It’s been some journey for the talented young lady.

She and her family (mom, dad, sister) defected from Cuba to Miami 11 years ago. They stayed with her uncle in Palmetto Bay. Assimilating to their new country, she learned a new language while learning to walk again.

Jennifer and her family overcame plenty, sticking together and supporting each other. During the final auditions for the Dolphins cheerleaders on Sunday, May 1, they proudly watched Jennifer make the team.

Final auditions for the 2016 version of the Dolphins cheerleaders were at the Miniaci Theater at Nova Southeastern University in (South Florida) Davie. The practice/training facility for the Dolphins’ football team is across the way.

Residing in Kendall and studying to be a nurse, Jennifer, 20, is a graduate of Palmetto Sr. High School and Miami Dade College.

Of 70 beautiful finalists, she was one of 40 selected for the team. They will attend the Dolphins Cheerleading Training Camp. There are no mandatory cuts at training camp, but if a team member does not attend or can not pick up the cheers/dances, she can be cut.

Twenty of the 70 who qualified for the finals were from other countries. The Dolphins became the first NFL team (and pro sports team) to host auditions internationally, traveling to Bogota, Colombia; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Mexico City, Mexico; and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Eleven of the final 40 chosen were from the international auditions.

Dolphins cheerleading summary

The Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders at the Miniaci Theater at Nova Southeastern University selected 40 lovely and talented women to advance as Training Camp Candidates. These ladies will participate in a seven-week boot camp that consists of workouts, etiquette training, team building, uniform fittings, look development and performance training. Cuts are not mandatory but are possible during training camp.

The 40 were selected from the largest turnout for Miami Dolphins Cheerleader Auditions.

More than 800 ladies registered to be the next Miami Dolphins Cheerleader, as the organization became the first NFL team (and pro sports team) to host auditions internationally, searching for enthusiastic, charismatic and talented women in Bogota, Colombia; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Mexico City, Mexico; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and South Florida to represent one of the most prestigious teams in the NFL.

Respected talent

Jessica and Monica are two women with Miami roots who are firmly planted within the Miami Dolphins Cheerleading infrastructure.

Jessica was chosen for the squad on May 1 for the fifth consecutive year and Monica heard her named called for the fourth time.

Nothing is given. They again earned it.

Just because you were a member of the team the previous year does not automatically grant you a spot for next season’s team. There are no multi-year or guaranteed contacts with NFL cheerleaders. If you want to remain a member of the team, you have to tryout and show well.

Jessica and Monica did just that.

Jessica, a graduate of Ronald Reagan High School in Doral, is a college student.

Monica, a Braddock High School graduate, is a long-time cheerleader. Starting with the Tamiami Colts youth cheer program, she also cheered for Beckham Elementary School, W.R. Thomas Middle School and Braddock. She joined Heidi & Joe’s Dance Center, specializing in hip hop, jazz and tap. A flyer on the cheer team, she took gymnastics as well.

Very beautiful, Monica twice graced the cover of the Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders Swimsuit Calendar. Her mom, Lily, who cheered from the crowd for her at the audition finals on May 1, is very proud.

Cowboys Cheerleaders Hold Final Tryouts

2016 Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders Training Camp *SPOILER ALERT*

Final auditions for the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders took place yesterday. And if you don’t want to know any more about what happens before the CMT reality show airs in a couple of months STOP READING NOW NOW NOW.

Look away, scroll down, close the tab, do whatever you have to do to preserve the mystery for yourself.

DCC 2016 Training Camp Group_names

For those of you still with me, this is how it broke down. There were 34 Cheerleaders on last year’s team. Ten retired and one left the team before the end of her contract. The remaining 23 veterans competed in finals this year, joining 48 rookie candidates, for a total of 71 ladies in contention for a spot in training camp.

In the morning, the dancers did solo talent presentations for the judges. In the afternoon, they performed the choreographed dance and kickline they learned for semifinals. Finals are always grueling for the DCC, and at the end of a looooooooong day, 47 women were invited to training camp. That includes 21 veterans (unfortunately two were not invited back) and 26 aspiring rookies.

Veteran and rookie candidate photos are below. For the rookies, I included information on their experience on other pro or semi-pro teams and how many times they’ve been to the DCC rodeo. As always, additions and edits are welcome.

DCC 2016 Training Camp - VetsDCC 2016 Training Camp - Rookies v3.0

Vote for your favorite Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader Rookie Candidates

Preliminary auditions for the 2016-17 Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders took place last weekend. The field has been narrowed down to 48 dancers who will join 23 members of last year’s team to complete for spots on this season’s team. Among their ranks are finalists and training camp candidates from previous years, alumni of numerous other NFL, NBA, NHL, and other pro and semi-pro teams, and one veteran who was a DCC back in 2011 and is determined to make a comeback.

As in past years, the Cowboys have opened it up for fans to vote for their favorite aspiring rookies. They haven’t stated it explicitly (probably because they aren’t advertising the vote yet) but I assume the dancer who gets the most votes will automatically win a spot in 2016 DCC training camp. Click here to watch each dancer perform the audition choreography and cast your vote for your top ten. (Or click here for the mobile version.) You can also use this link to watch the videos (it’s an easier way to view one right after another.)

2016 DCC Finalists

Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders 2016 preliminary auditions

HighKick

By Jay Betsill
Special to DFW.com
May 16, 2016

Mini Gallery/Highlights (32 photos)
Pics: Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader Auditions – Day 1 (It says 456 Photos, but it’s only about 250 with many duplicates)
Pics: Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader Auditions – Day 2 (228 Photos)

ARLINGTON — With the cameras rolling for the 11th season of CMT’s Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team, the legendary Phil Whitfield welcomed over 500 ladies who were following their dream to be a member of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders at the preliminary auditions at AT&T Stadium.

Rather than the traditional lineup in the $1.2 billion stadium’s plaza, the rain forced the DCC to improvise and move all of the hopefuls inside the stadium for check-in.

Checkin

Once inside, the ladies recovered from being out in the rain and prepped to look their best in the ‘Fluff & Puff’ area before heading down to the field for the welcome address from DCC Director Kelli Finglass.

While attempting to ease the anxiety and nerves of the ladies in attendance, Finglass went over the process for the first day and down the line through semi-finals, finals and training camp on the path to naming this year’s Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders.

Kelli Finglass2

“Today’s preliminary round is about you getting noticed and being memorable,” Finglass told the attentive group of ladies who were on the edge of their seats overlooking the touchdown deck. “Today is not a day of technical dancing or where we will teach you a combination and you have to execute it immediately. You want 16 judges to think ‘wow, she’s fun to watch.'”

Back upstairs on the stadium’s main concourse level, the 16 judges included DCC choreographer Judy Trammell, Dallas Cowboys Executive Vice President Charlotte Jones Anderson, the Official Trainer of the DCC Jay Johnson, DallasCowboys.com’s Mickey Spagnola, Meredith Land from NBC 5 and Candice Romo, wife of Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo.

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The preliminary round offers each of the ladies 90 seconds of freestyle to impress the judges and stand out among the crowd all while knowing that there will be only 10 advancing to semi-finals and eventually 45 ladies invited to DCC training camp.

“To get ready for this process, I reached out to Erica, who is currently a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader and who I know from our time at LSU,” said Cersten, a DCC hopeful who is from Euless. “She was very helpful in giving me guidelines of what I needed to work on and what I needed to expect.

“Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders has always been my ultimate goal since I was a kid,” she continued. “I started dancing at age 6, did the junior DCC and fell in love with the feeling of being able to perform for an entire stadium. That is something I have been chasing ever since. It has always been a dream and today as I drove to stadium and saw it in the distance, it became a reality.”

1996 Jennifer MosleyOn the opposite end of the spectrum was Jennifer Mosley. She has actually worn the iconic DCC uniform for two seasons, in 1996 and 97, when the Cowboys played at Texas Stadium.

“I loved everything about being a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader,” she said. “I loved the rehearsals, I loved the roar of the crowd and the dedication that went into the whole process. Once I got my bearings on how it all worked, every day was exciting.

“My time as a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader, especially my first year was so great that I still dream about it,” she continued. “That’s what brought me back today, it’s exactly 20 years from when I auditioned for the first time and made the team.”

And what is the biggest difference between auditioning in the 90s and today?

“The process is very similar. Back then, we were in the Stadium Club at Texas Stadium overlooking the field, where now this stadium is very different and, of course, the TV show cameras were not around then,” she said. “I’d say the biggest difference being here at AT&T Stadium is there is more glitz and glamor now. There was a lot then, but there is a ton now. Being 39, I just wanted to be a part of it all again, if only for a day or a weekend and I am proud of myself for doing it.”

When Saturday came to a close, the numbers were unveiled to let those know who would be advancing to semi-finals the next morning. While 104 ladies were celebrating being a step closer to their, others fought back tears and faced the sudden reality that either this was not their time or that their dreams were coming to an end.

For further information, visit dallascowboyscheerleaders.com

NBA Dance Team Audition Dates Updated

I’ve finally gotten around to updating the audition dates page with the most recent NBA Dance Team auditions dates.  We will be updating this page on a regular basis, so stay tuned for the latest audition news.

Update: Philadelphia 76ers Dancers & Los Angeles Clippers Spirit auditions dates added

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NBA Dance Teams (2016)
Atlanta Hawks Cheerleaders: TBD. [Details]
Boston Celtics Dancers (Boston Audition): Friday, July 8th. [Details]
Boston Celtics Dancers (NYC Audition): Wednesday June 16th. [Details]
Boston Celtics Dancers (L. A. Audition): Wednesday, May 18th. [Details]
Brooklynettes: Saturday, June 4th. [Details]
Charlotte Hornets Honey Bees: Saturday June 25th. [Details]
Chicago Bulls Luvabulls: Saturday, July 23rd. [Details]
Cleveland Cavaliers Cavalier Girls: TBD. [Details]
Dallas Mavericks Dancers: Saturday, July 9th. [Details]
Denver Nuggets Dancers: Friday, July 15th. [Details]
Detroit Pistons Dancers: TBD. [Details]
Detroit Pistons Cheer Team: TBD. [Details]
Golden State Warrior Girls: TBD. [Details]
Houston Rockets Power Dancers: Saturday, July 9th. [Details]
Indiana Pacers Pacemates: TBD. [Details]
Los Angeles Clippers Spirit: Saturday, June 25th. [Details]
Los Angeles Lakers Laker Girls: Saturday, July 9. [Details]
Memphis Grizzlies Grizz Girls: TBD. [Details]
Miami Heat Dancers:TBD.[Details]
Milwaukee Bucks Dancers: Friday, July 15th. [Details]
Minnesota Timberwolves Dancers: TBD. [Details]
New York Knicks City Dancers: Saturday, June 11th. [Details]
New Orleans Pelicans Dance Team: Saturday, July 16th. [Details]
Oklahoma City Thunder Girls: TBD [Details]
Orlando Magic Dancers: Saturday, July 23rd. [Details]
Philadelphia 76ers Dancers: Sunday, June 26th. [Details]
Phoenix Suns Dancers:TBD. [Details]
Portland Trailblazers BlazerDancers: Sunday, July 10th. [Details]
Sacramento Kings Dance Team: Friday, June 3rd. [Details]
San Antonio Spurs Silver Dancers: Saturday, July 16th.[Details]
Toronto Raptors Dance Pak: TBD. [Details]
Utah Jazz Dancers: Monday, June 6th. [Details]
Washington Wizards Wizard Girls: TBD. [Details]

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Los Angeles Clippers Spirit Announce Open Call Audition and Pre-Audition Workshop Dates

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To register for either the pre-audition workshops or the open call auditions, please visit the Clippers web site at: Clippers.com/spirit.

Nurse Dances Her Way To The Broncos Sidelines

By Kathy Walsh
CBS Denver
May 11, 2016

DENVER (CBS4) – This football season there will be a nurse on the sidelines at Denver Broncos home games. She won’t be practicing her profession, but rather, her passion.

It took three attempts for the young woman to realize her dream. Now, she’ll be dancing for joy with the Broncos cheerleaders.

Gabby Windey
Gabby Windey is a registered nurse. She focuses on the sickest patients, those in intensive care at the University of Colorado Hospital.

“It takes it to a kind of level in compassion and empathy and skill that I connect with,” Windey told CBS4 Health Specialist Kathy Walsh.

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Gabby Windey (credit: Denver Broncos)

2016 DBC Finalists_Gabriela (Gabby) Windey
Gabby Windey (credit: Denver Broncos)

Windey has worked in ICU for three years. It can be stressful, but she has her own way of coping.

“With dance. It’s huge. That really helps get my mind off of everything,” Windey said.

Nursing is her profession, but dancing is Windey’s passion.

“When I’m dancing, nothing else matters,” she said.

She started dancing at age 12 and hasn’t stopped. Windey danced through high school and college. Last year, she was on the dance squad for the Denver Outlaws lacrosse team.

2014 Outlaws_Gabriela W

This year, she’s had a dream come true. On her third try, she made the Denver Broncos cheerleaders.

“They hold their girls to a really high standard and they also give back in the community, which is huge,” Windey said.

A patient’s bedside and a pro football sideline are very different worlds. But for Windey, they work.

She said she’ll be nervous when she performs at her first Broncos game as a cheerleader. At the hospital, Windey leans on her coworkers for support. She says she’ll do the same at Broncos games with two dozen dancers by her side.

A Sapphire’s golden opportunity

Erin HardyCarly Saber, Staff Writer
Sonoma State Star
May 9, 2016

Many students play sports throughout their childhood and into high school, but a select few continue on to play their sport in college. From there, it’s only the best of the best that continue on professionally. It takes a certain kind of dedication and talent to enter the professional realm.

Erin Hardy, senior psychology major and dance minor, been given the opportunity to be a professional dancer. She will be dancing for the San Francisco 49ers Gold Rush cheer team for the 2016-2017 football season.

Hardy has been dancing her entire life. She started dance in kindergarten when it was an option to be in a ballet dance class instead of going to recess.

“I was pretty self motivated right from the beginning, but I also only wanted to take ballet and not branch out into any other style,” Hardy said.

Ballet became her passion and she continued to dance all throughout her childhood. Her mom encouraged her to try out for her high school dance team and she ended up being on the team for all four years. Hardy’s time in dance was not all glamour and fun.

“Before high school, I was dancing with a ballet company where I was bullied pretty bad. I was so conflicted because I hated the environment I was in but I loved ballet and performing,” said Hardy. “I did end up switching ballet schools, but I feel like if I hadn’t found my new school when I did I might have hit my breaking point and quit dance all together.”

She didn’t let the bullies win and she went on to continue dance throughout high school.

“My inspiration to continue has always come from trying to be the best possible role model I can be. Throughout the years, I wanted to set a good example for the younger girls on my team.” Hardy said. “Then, when people who had just seen me dance in shows would approach me and talk about how I inspired them to pursue dance and improve, I began to realize the impact I was having on others.”

Hardy knew she wanted to dance in college and joined the Sonoma State University Sapphires dance team her freshman year.

“Erin is a beautiful dancer, she is very passionate about dance and really cares about the overall success of the team. She is extremely friendly and just an overall genuine person,” said Erica Pecho, captain of the Sapphires.

Hardy was able to broaden her dance styles and gain confidence on the stage.

“Being on the Sapphires and being surrounded by dancers so talented and versatile has definitely helped me improve my own dance and performance skills,” Hardy said. “One style I really struggled with coming into college was hip hop, and three years ago I would have never thought I would be able to call myself a hip hop national champion.” The Sapphires won the Grand Hip-Hop Championship title for division II and III at their national competition.

Hardy decided she wanted to audition for the Goldrush team two years ago and she made it all the way to the final round. She was offered a position for a pre-game rally event at Great America, but not a spot on the team. “It was great experience and gave me a better idea of what I would be doing if I made the Goldrush,” Hardy said.

When the time came to audition this year, she was ready.

“Pro dance is always something I had in the back of my mind and I felt like the 49ers had the platform I was looking for,” Hardy said.

“I was really excited for Erin when I found out that she made the 49er cheerleaders. This was something she had wanted for a really long time, so I’m happy that she made the team. It’s great that all her work has paid off,” Teammate Lena Stephens said. “Not only that, it’s great that someone is representing Sonoma State and the Sapphires through this wonderful opportunity.”

Hardy is extremely grateful for the opportunity to dance professionally. “It is something I worked very hard to achieve. I hope by being on this team I can inspire young girls who have been bullied or who have low self-esteem. I want to prove to them that it is possible to accomplish a dream as long as you persevere and do not allow your insecurities to stand in your way,” Hardy said.

Congratulations 2016 Kansas City Chiefs Cheerleaders

Veterans Alexis, Sarah, and Megan. Alexis and Sarah were on the team last year, but Megan is back after a year off.

Veterans Alexis, Sarah, and Megan. Alexis and Sarah were on the team last year, but Megan is back after a year off.

Woohoo! Auditions are over and the Kansas City Chiefs Cheerleaders have been selected. This year’s team of 33 includes 21 veterans. Can’t wait to see you on the field in a few months, ladies. Click here to see who made the team.

2016 KCCC Audition Coverage:
Video: Chiefs Cheerleader Auditions – Day 1
Video: Chiefs Cheerleader Auditions – Day 2
Video: Chiefs Cheerleader Auditions – Day 3
Photo Gallery: 2016 Chiefs Cheer Auditions Behind the Scenes
Photo Gallery: 2016 Cheerleader Candidates
Photo Gallery: 2016 Cheerleader Finalists
Photo Gallery: 2016 Chiefs Cheer Audition Finals

Scenes from Ben-Gals Finals

WCPO.com CINCINNATI — The Cincinnati Ben-Gals hosted their final round of auditions for the 2016 squad May 1 at the 20th Century Theater in Oakley.

Click here for photos from the event.

Congratulations 2016 Ben-Gals

Auditions are over and the members of the 2016-17 Cincinatti Bengals Cheerleaders have been announced. This year 30 ladies were chosen for the team, including 10 newbies and 20 veterans (three returning to the team after a hiatus). Click here to see who made the team!

Aliea and Seazun are both back for their 7th year on the team!

Aliea and Seazun are both back for their 7th year on the team!