The Carolina Panthers have posted a gallery of photos from their recent uniform photoshoot. Click here to check it out!
The Carolina Panthers have posted a gallery of photos from their recent uniform photoshoot. Click here to check it out!
Date: Saturday, March 12
Contestants should wear two-piece dance attire, skin-tone tights and sneakers suitable for dance. Bring a warm-up or other casual clothing to wear over dance attire.
For more audition information, click here.
NJ.comKevin Shea | For
January 31, 2016
TRENTON — When the dance team at Trenton Catholic Academy turned into the cheerleading squad several years ago, Siobhan Campbell was named one of its leaders.
But the teenager, who had been training as a dancer for years, was too intimidated to be called a cheerleader, and quit the squad.
She later tried out for the dance teams at two colleges she attended, but did not make the cut. It looked she would never don a cheer uniform again, she said.
With a lift from God, the Trenton native says, she’s now a three-year veteran of the Carolina Panthers cheerleaders – the TopCats – and will be cheering at Super Bowl 50 next Sunday in California.
And she’s one of the captains.
“I give all the glory to God. He did all of this,” she said.
She is now Siobhan Campbell-Martin, a newlywed, and says persistence and some dance training in New York also played a role in her ascent to the TopCats squad.
The 25-year-old was even named cheerleader of the week in Sports Illustrated in 2014.
She has a message to anyone growing up in the city: “I am proud to say that I am from Trenton. Look at me now.”
NFL cheerleaders do not normally travel to away games, so Campbell-Martin said the Super Bowl is extra special to her squad because they will get to meet and cheer alongside the Denver Broncos cheerleaders.
And then there’s the halftime show. “I am a huge Beyoncé fan,” she said.
Although the TopCats will not be performing at the halftime show – which also includes Coldplay and Bruno Mars – Campbell-Martin said she will be watching up close.
Campbell-Martin said her route to cheering professionally started as a kid at the Hammond-Phelps Centre For Dance on Maple Avenue.
“That was where my love of dance was established,” she said.
She also played basketball, West Ward baseball and even shot a few rounds with the Trenton Junior Golf program.
“But I pretty much stuck with dance,” she said.
When she quit the high school squad, she remembers her coach Cassidy Manning’s words: “She told me she believed in me and I never forgot that.”
College brought her to the Carolinas, first to Winston-Salem State University, then Appalachian State University.
“I kind of felt like I was running from dance,” she said of her time at Winston-Salem.
She had an undeclared major and was trying new things to pursue. God was humbling her, she said.
Needing a new start, she transferred to Appalachian. She still did not make their dance team, but she majored in dance and minored in business, and the summer before her senior year, she returned to Trenton.
That summer, Campbell-Martin enrolled in a dance program in New York City and felt back on track.
“That is pretty much where it started again,” she said. She got come callbacks for dancing, including one from Disney.
“But the one thing I didn’t see coming was cheerleading for the Panthers,” she said.
She took a class at college, though, taught by a TopCats coach, where she earned a first round bye to the tryouts.
“She saw something in me that I didn’t see,” Campbell-Martin said. “I knew from there I would keep accelerating, keep moving forward and go with it.”
“And now I am in my third year, I am now a captain and we’re going to the Super Bowl.”
Off the field, she’s works as a project coordinator at Genera Solutions in Charlotte. Her parents still live in Trenton, as do her siblings, she said.
She sees herself as a role model to anyone like her growing up in the city. “I just want encourage people in Trenton, wherever they are in their development, to keep at it.”
By Amanda Thames
Two Jacksonville natives will be among the many cheering for the Carolina Panthers this weekend — the difference is they’ll be on the field.
The two were both dancers and cheerleaders from a young age, and the first time the two girls remember spending time together was at a friend’s house where their families were watching a Panthers game.
Their families still watch the games, but now they’re in the stands and pay more attention to the cheerleaders than the football team.
Both girls are enjoying their first year as TopCats during one of the Panthers’ best seasons in the team’s history. The football players are hosting the NFC Championship game against the Arizona Cardinals today, and the TopCats will perform during halftime.
Annalise’s mother Vanessa Coleman said she asked about Sunday’s game in hopes of learning more about a possible Panthers Super Bowl game, but her daugher wouldn’t talk.
“They don’t want to jinx it,” Vanessa said, laughing. “They just want to get out there and win.”
Vanessa will be wearing her lucky Panthers earrings and socks at today’s game.
Out of the 28 on the squad, Annalise and Aliscia share Jacksonville roots and are in the same group of six on the sidelines that cheer together every game.
Aliscia graduated from Northside High School in 2010 where she was captain of the cheerleading squad. She started cheering at the age of 5, according to her mother Valerie Taplin, and her mom immediately saw that cheering would be a part of her future.
“Her hands were straight. She stood out from the other girls,” Valerie said. “That’s when I knew.”
Aliscia was known as a “silent leader,” Valerie said. “Others looked to her as an example because she was a good cheerleader.”
Vanessa said Annalise also showed early talent.
“Her preschool teacher rated her ‘Gifted in Rhythm’ at 4 years old,” she said.
Annalise has a long history of dancing, including ballet, pointe, jazz and modern dance. Vanessa Coleman has more than 170 of her daughter’s trophies in her home. Dancing is her passion, Vanessa said, and she’d wanted to be a TopCat for years.
“We went to a Panthers game when Annalise was 17. She watched the cheerleaders and she said, ‘Mom, I’m going to do this,’” Vanessa said.
It wasn’t a straight shot to the Panthers’ field for either girl, though.
Aliscia originally planned to join the U.S. Air Force. She was set to leave on a Tuesday but the Sunday before, she changed her mind. Aliscia told her mother she wanted to be a TopCat. Valerie said some people take rejection and settle for another, easier-to-achieve goal, but not her daughter.
“It really inspires me because she believed in her dream even when things weren’t going her way,” Valerie said.
Aliscia told Annalise she was trying out for the squad again and shared tips with her friend about the auditioning process. Annalise was teaching at a dance studio and double majoring in public health education and dance at UNC-Greensboro, and decided to join Aliscia and try out for the 2015 squad.
Richelle Williams, the TopCats manager and choreographer, said she’s had a great season with Aliscia and Annalise on the squad.
“When you speak with them, when you watch them perform, it’s hard to say to yourself, ‘They’re rookies,’ because the learning curve was not that big for them,” Williams said.
Now both girls practice three hours once per week and another three hours the day before each game, getting ready to pump up the crowd at the Panthers’ games.
“They’re quiet, they come in and learn and they get the job done,” Williams said. “I appreciate that.”
To prepare for games, Aliscia focuses on her plate. At the beginning of the season, Aliscia researched the best foods for energy and what foods would keep her body in the best shape. She also said prayer has been the most consistent thing she’s done throughout the season.
“The reason I’m dancing is because of God,” Aliscia said, adding that it was a spiritual feeling to be out on the field.
Quiet by nature, Aliscia said she shows more personality when she’s cheering for thousands than she shows in one-on-one conversations.
“When I’m out in front of the crowd and dancing it’s a certain type of freedom,” Aliscia said. “It’s the rush and the excitement of it.”
The cheerleaders sign contracts for the season, and Vanessa said the contracts state they are not allowed to mingle with the football players. Annalise has had a couple of close-up encounters, though.
During one play, Luke Kuechly was running straight for her and Annalise told Vanessa later, “Mom, he was so big!” Vanessa said, laughing.
The girls do appearances and sign autographs as part of the squad, representing the Panthers organization. Aliscia said her favorite event was celebrating with fans as the 50-foot Christmas tree was lit up outside the Panthers stadium. It was a family event, and Aliscia is all about family. Her mother is one of her biggest supporters.
“I’m not really a football fan,” Valerie said, laughing, “but this year I would definitely call myself a Panthers fan. It’s all about those cheerleaders.”
Each year, veteran cheerleader or newcomer, the girls have to re-tryout for the TopCats squad. Aliscia said she’ll be there and hopes to be back on the field for the 2016 season.
“I just want to dance for as long as my body will let me,” Aliscia said.
For any local dancers and cheerleaders interested in trying out for the TopCats, Williams said to attend the TopCats Audition Clinic. The clinic gives an inside look at what it takes to be a TopCat and helps girls choose whether it’s a good fit for them.
The clinic will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on March 5 at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte. The cost is $185 and open to girls age 21 and older.
Click here for the Houston Chronicle’s photos of the Cardinals, Panthers, Patriots, and Broncos Cheerleaders from last weekend’s action.
Former Carolina TopCat Eiesha is now a proud Atlanta Falcons Cheerleader. She is continuing her dream after formerly dancing with the NFL Carolina Panthers in 2005, 2010, 2011, and 2012 (Captain).
Eiesha graduated with a BA in Psychology from Norfolk State University, obtained a Masters in Human Resource Management from DeVry Keller Graduate School, and is currently completing her PhD in Management from Walden University in just a few months (May 2016).
She married a Captain in the United States Army in May 2015 and moved to Columbus, Georgia. She was crowned only 1 month after marriage as Mrs. Georgia America 2014-2015, competing in the Mrs. America pageant August 2014. She is the Owner and director of MADE Today, Inc. in Charlotte, NC and travels as a motivational speaker to many youth groups, organizations, colleges and universities.
A new team photo and individual bios have been posted on the Panthers website. Click here to learn more about this year’s team!
The Carolina Panthers website has been updated with individual profile photos for this season’s team. Click here to go there now!
Former NFL cheerleader Eiesha Horsley’s motto is, “Each and every person should dream and dream BIG!” Well, Eiesha recently was named Mrs. Georgia America 2014, so the next stage if a dream as big as the whole country, as she progresses to compete for Mrs. America.
Eiesha performed on the NFL sidelines for the Carolina Panthers’ “Top Cats” during the 2005 and 2010-2012 seasons, the last year as one of four captains. An entrepreneur, scholar, philanthropist, and renowned cheerleading, dance, and gymnastics instructor, adding Mrs. Georgia America is another accomplishment in Eiesha’s dream-filled life.
“I am truly a dreamer of all things exquisite and extraordinary!,” Eiesha says. “I am the proud wife of Jarrell Horsley, a Captain in the United States Army and reside in Georgia. Being crowned Mrs. Georgia America 2014 is not only an honor and humbling experience, but a phenomenal blessing to compete for Mrs. America. Representing the perfectly ‘peachy’ state allows me the opportunity to uplift not only married women, but families and individuals of all ages in a variety of ways. Specifically, empowering women to achieve and promote the importance of personal and professional goals, while providing a forum in which to express my talents, intelligence, and experience is my ultimate goal and way to give back in a greater capacity. I can surely say that my experience as a professional cheerleader prepared many in more ways than one!”
As accomplished in the classroom as in dance and pageants, Eiesha graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor’s degree from Norfolk State University and was named a Ronald E. McNair fellow, Psi Chi National Honor Society Scholar, and appeared in Vibe, Ebony, and Charlotte Women’s Magazine for her professional and personal accomplishments. Eiesha holds a Master’s degree in Human Resource Management with honors, and is currently completing her dissertation and Ph.D. Studies in Organization Management with an emphasis in Human Resource Management, expected during the summer of 2015. “Continuous learning brings continuous opportunities in my career and possibilities in serving others,” Eiesha says.
Eiesha is also the owner of M.A.D.E. (“Making A Difference Everywhere”) Today, Inc., a professional development company in which Eiesha directs, conducts, and leads programs working with community and state organizations, families, and youth in both Georgia and North Carolina. MADE has collected over 200 cheer and dance regional and national titles in four states in just five years. “As a former professional NFL cheerleader and captain for the Carolina Panthers, I was able to be an ambassador for the community and young girls who aspire to live their dreams,” Eiesha says.
“During my spare time, I enjoy my active involvement in Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, traveling, interior design, camping, and giving back to the youth and aspiring individuals who desire to live their dreams beyond their belief,” Eiesha continues. “Making a positive contribution to society is all worth living for, and leaving a legacy is timeless. I believe laughter is contagious, joy is strength, and courage is motivation. I encourage all to dream big and believe that all things are possible, giving back is essential and believing through execution and consistency is longevity.”
Here’s your first look at the 2014-15 Carolina Panthers Cheerleaders, the TopCats. Congrats ladies!
By Luke Garrat
By Joey Millwood
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