Golden State Warrior Girl Auditions

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Auditions for the 2015-16 Warriors dance team began on Saturday, August 15, with many aspiring dancers trying out at Las Positas College in Livermore.

More photos here.

Former Golden State Warrior Girl Lisa Murray on AB202

KTVU –

STRENGTH IN NUMBERS – Golden State Warriors Store Opening in Westfield Mall

With the incredible momentum and popularity of the NBA brand in SF Bay area, the Golden State Warriors have opened up a storefront on Market Street of 1800 sq ft of retail space to sell merchandise to new adoring hordes of fans. At 11am on Saturday May 23, fans lined up at the grand opening and had the chance to buy 2015 NBA Playoffs memorabilia and take advantage of other specials.

With a weekend trip planned to SF Bay for Memorial Day Weekend, I was happy to take advantage to checking out some fan events of the Golden State Warriors even if the team is in Texas for the duration of the time I am in town. Of course the highlight was a brief conversation with a few members of the Golden State Warriors Dance Team and get a free swimsuit calendar.

Fans who arrived early were able to grab an assortment of handouts from a car flag, MVP Stephen Curry poster, and a Strength In Numbers button.

GSW Dance Team Member Rachel

GSW Dance Team Member Yvonne

GSW Dance Team Member Danielle

Up 3-1 in the Western Conference Finals vs Houston Rockets, hopes are high for the first NBA Championship to SF Bay since 1975.

“My Life: I’m An NBA Cheerleader”

Mode Studios’ GLAM channel’s new segment,”My Life: I’m An NBA Cheerleader,” shadows Amira, a captain for Golden State Warrior Girls, as she trains and prepares for performances during basketball’s most important games of the year. See how she navigates game day, from prepping meals at home to pregame practice to putting on a spectacular show for NBA fans.

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Watch the video here.

[Amira at the Warriors website]

More from the Warrior Girls Calendar Release Party

Warriors.com: On December 8, the Golden State Warriors Dance Team hosted their second-annual calendar release party for the 2015 Warriors Dance Team Swimsuit Calendar at Blu 42 Sports Lounge and Grill in Walnut Creek.

Click here to check out the photo gallery.

Golden State Warrior Girls Calendar Unveiling

Monday night at BLU 42 in Walnut Creek the Golden State Warrior Girls released their 2015 swimsuit calendar. Fans got a chance to cheer on the Warriors vs the Timberwolves at a viewing party and then things heated up as the calendar was unveiled.

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[Golden State Warrior Girls]

[Calendar Unveiling Gallery]

[Buy the Calendar]

Golden State Warrior Girls Finals

(This post got overlooked during the server issues we had during the summer)

 

The finals for the 2014-15 Golden State Warrior Girls were held at the Warriors Practice Facility back in July. Enjoy the photos.

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[Finals Gallery]

[Golden State Warrior Girls]

[Auditions Recap]

Scenes from Warrior Girls Auditions

Click here to check out the gallery on the Golden State Warriors site.

Almost 200 try out for Warriors Dance Team

Hamad Aleaziz
SF Gate
July 12, 2014

While most of the basketball world focused Saturday on the return of LeBron James to Cleveland, nearly 200 women – and one man – focused on impressing judges as they tried out for the Warriors Dance Team in Oakland.

The tryout meant a chance for the hopefuls not only to be a part of a team, but to achieve what many said was their lifelong dream of dancing in front of large crowds for the Golden State Warriors.

[Photo Gallery]

The competition was tougher than the rivalry between the Warriors and the Lakers.

By the end of Saturday’s preliminary audition at the Warriors’ practice facility in the downtown Oakland Marriott, hundreds of hopefuls were to be reduced to 40 to 50. And by the end of the audition process on Thursday, only 16 to 20 will be selected for the team. Even past members have to try out again.

The dancers learned jazz and hip-hop routines, getting a chance to practice each of them for just 10 minutes before their big audition. They teamed up in groups of four, spinning, dipping and shimmying in brightly colored skimpy outfits for the eight judges.

Most were in their 20s, yet many were left breathless – but excited.

“Should we do it again?” said the choreographer. In unison the women – and the man – shouted “Yes!”

Though they knew the odds of making the team weren’t high, many hopefuls expressed gratitude for the opportunity to dance for the chance.

“I love being part of a team and getting to share this experience with other girls who have the same passion as me,” said Danielle, a San Jose resident who will go into her third year with the team if she’s selected. Sabrina Ellison, the team director, told the dancers not to give their last names.
Hard to keep composure

Danielle, who works at a restaurant while attending school, said she has danced since she was 3. “I absolutely love doing live performing for an audience,” she said. Still, she noted, auditioning against so many other women can make it hard to stay calm.

“I’m very nervous – it never gets easier, even coming back as a veteran,” she said.

Ellison – also a judge – said she senses the anxiety at the auditions. “There’s a lot of nervous energy. … When you’re being judged, it’s natural. We try to make it fun and energetic and like a dance class,” she said.

Beyond just dance ability, the judges were looking for well-rounded applicants who enjoy being out in the community, she said, adding that most team members have full-time jobs or are in school.

Ellison declined to say what the dancers earn but said they are paid hourly and “well above minimum wage.”

Newcomers like Lauren, a Hayward resident who works as a receptionist for Virgin America and has danced since she was 6, said that despite the competitive vibe at the tryout, she felt like those auditioning were a team. She reminisced about her three years on the 49ers’ cheerleading team, where she experienced a similar sense of camaraderie.

“You’re always helping each other out – you need help with a dance, you’re in a bind and can’t get to practice – everyone watches each other’s back,” she said. Lauren added that being a cheerleader gave her lifelong friends, including two former teammates that will be in her wedding next year.
Lone male contender

The 40 to 50 attendees who make it through Saturday’s preliminary audition will try out again Thursday. They’ll perform both routines, do an on-camera interview, and dance a 45-second individual freestyle routine.

If the man is one of the winners, he’ll be the first male dancer on the team once known as the Warrior Girls.

Golden State Warrior Girls Auditions and Prep Classes

PRELIMINARY AUDITIONS

Saturday, July 12
9 a.m. Registration | 10 a.m. Audition
Warriors Practice Facility
1011 Broadway (5th Floor)
Oakland, CA, 94607
Map/Directions

$15 Pre-Registration Fee
$25 For Walk-Ins On Day of Audition

 

PREP CLASSES

Touch up on your dance skills and learn
what it takes to be a Warrior Girl!

$30 per workshop
$100 for a workshop package

All classes are at ClubSport San Ramon
350 Bollinger Canyon Lane
San Ramon, CA 94582

Tuesday, July 1, 8-10 p.m.
Tuesday, July 8, 8-10 p.m.

[Complete Audition Information]

[Game Day with the Warrior Girls]

Game Day with the Golden State Warrior Girls

Warrior Girls Dance Team Director Sabrina Ellison grew up in Los Angeles and went to school at USF, where she danced for the Dons. She danced professionally in the NFL for eight years: six seasons with the San Francisco 49ers Gold Rush and two seasons with the Seattle Sea Gals.

Sabrina is in her seventh season as a dance team coach in the NBA. She started in Seattle with the SuperSonics, then moved to Oklahoma City and started the Thunder Girls dance team from scratch. This is her third season coaching the Warrior Girls.

“The Warriors were always my ideal team to coach. It is great how my career went full circle and I’m back in the Bay Area.”

Sabrina on Going From Dancing to Directing:

“It’s a night and day difference. When you’re ready to put your dance boots away, throw your poms away and take that leap to become a director, it’s 100% different. As a dancer, you’re a part of the team and it’s more about you. When you’re a director, it’s not only about getting the performers to look amazing on-court and dance as a team, but you’re influencing them in so many different ways. A director is the glue to the team that makes sure each girl feels like a part of a sisterhood and grows as a woman.
“I think as a dancer, you’re always going to miss performing. But I love coaching because it is a different skill set. You have to be selfless. You have to be there for your girls and help them grow as dancers and as women. You have to be supportive and be a teacher. You have to take all of these different personalities and make them into a team. And I love it. I love seeing them become good friends. I love seeing them dance out there and go from not being the strongest dancer to suddenly blossoming into an amazing performer.”

Sabrina on the Warrior Girls as Ambassadors to the Organization:

When Sabrina first started with the Warriors, a new ownership group purchased the team and set out to create a first class organization from the players to the front office to the Warrior Girls dance team.

“The Warrior Girls are really ambassadors for our team. Our team participates in over 100 appearances a year, interacting with fans and participating in various events and fundraisers. Last summer the team went to China as part of the NBA’s Global Games initiative. I am really focused on preparing the girls to represent the team the best way possible. Learning how to interview well and engage fans of all ages and backgrounds. It’s important for each girl to become well-rounded, both as a dancer and as a person.”

Warrior Girls with Director Sabrina Ellison

Sabrina on the Warrior Girls Dancing Style:

“As a basketball team in an urban area in California, you have to be cutting edge. To entertain our fan base, we dance to hip-hop, but also do a lot of novelty routines to perform for older fans who are die-hard and have been going to Warrior games for years.”

During the Golden State Warriors-Brooklyn Nets game on Saturday, February 22, the Warrior Girls performed a hip-hop routine to “Can’t Hold Us,” and later performed to Janet Jackson’s 1989 single “Rhythm Nation,” connecting with older fans and allowing them to enjoy the team’s performances.

“My dancers love the art of dance and performing all styles of dance. Sometimes the girls dance to Bollywood, sometimes it’s jazz or country music, and sometimes it’s hip hop. But no matter what genre they perform, they want to be the best.”

 

Shonna

Shonna

Warrior Girl Shonna

Shonna is a first-year Warrior Girl, and she admits it has been demanding to learn a new style of choreography that is unfamiliar to her. But she recognizes that the challenge has allowed her to grow as a dancer.

“I’m working hard, bonding with the other girls and really pushing myself to become a better dancer.”

Shonna also says the responsibilities of being a Warrior Girl is more than she was expecting.

“Having been a professional dancer previously, I knew it was going to be a big commitment to be a Warrior Girl. But I didn’t realize it was going to be such a physical and mental challenge for me.

“The veterans are helpful, making sure all the rookies know what they need to know and just pushing us along as we embark on this journey and really making sure we can be the best Warrior Girl possible.”

Shonna’s advice to those auditioning for the Warrior Girls?

“Go into the audition as who you really are and let the judges see that. It’s so much more than dancing. It’s who you are as a person and what you embody. It’s about being a classy woman and being a woman who can carry herself with poise and grace. You’re auditioning to be an ambassador for the Golden State Warriors. If you show up on audition day in tip-top shape, confident and dance to the best of your abilities, the judges will see that.”

Warrior Girl Casey

Casey is in her sixth season with the Warrior Girls, making her the longest-tenured member of the team. Just turning eighteen year old during her first season with the team, she felt intimidated when the other dancers were in their twenties with years of dancing experience.

She was the leader of her high school’s pom team and dance team, and now she was joining a team where every dancer had to be in unison. It was a difficult learning experience, but over the years Casey came to learn and embody the Warrior Girls style.

“I basically grew up on this team. It also helped me to develop into the woman I wanted to become by building confidence, skills when interacting with fans and learning how to be a brand ambassador for a professional organization. There’s a lot more to being a Warrior Girl than looking pretty and being able to dance. You have to have a good head on your shoulders, be humble and definitely be able to work hard.”

One of her biggest motivations for coming back every season and re-auditioning are the fans and the Bay Area community.

“I love that our team is committed to community outreach by working with schools and children to give back to the Bay Area. If our community didn’t love the team and come to our games, we would have no one to perform for. So every time I step on the court, I look at it as another opportunity to make somebody smile or to make somebody happy for that one minute and ten seconds. As a performer, that is your only job.”

Casey was honored to be voted by the team as a Warrior Girls captain for the second consecutive season.

“As a captain a lot of responsibilities are placed on you, but that also means that my teammates felt confident in me to lead them and help them achieve success. Going from a rookie on the team to a 6th year captain wasn’t easy. I’ve had to learn a lot.”

Casey went through some tough times when she didn’t think she could perform any longer with the team because of the time commitment and the energy need on a daily basis. But she stayed with it and tried to carry herself as a role model for the other girls.

“I really encourage the girls to keep pushing yourself in every practice and to stay with a positive mentality, because the more you stay with it the schedule and the time commitments, the training and everything else becomes easier. Everything gets easier with time and effort.”

“We all go through difficult times and hardships as women. This is a hard industry to be in, and a lot is expected of you.”

In her six seasons with the team, Casey has traveled to Italy, Japan and India as a member of the Warrior Girls. Her favorite experiences are her trips to China, where she has represented the team on three separate visits.

“The fans are so enthusiastic, they really love basketball. They have a basketball league over there too, NBA China. But they all watch Warriors games and Lakers games. Those are the most popular teams in China, so the fans really appreciate us and recognize us as a huge part of the organization. They travel hours to come watch us perform, so it’s heartfelt and meaningful when we get to dance for them.”

This year Casey was voted to the NBA All-Star Dance Team at the 2014 NBA All Star Weekend. She describes the experience as the most amazing week of her life. “I was able to dance on a team with 29 other women who each dance for an NBA team. We shared our dancing styles and blended them together. We went out and performed for a huge crowd of locals and celebrities. It was exhilarating, but it was definitely frightening, and we worked long hours practicing for the performances, but as soon as we stepped out on the court, it was all worth it.”

[All New Golden State Warrior Girls Wesbite Updated for 2014]

[Warriors-Nets  Gallery]

Photo of the Day – February 27


A Golden State Warrior Girl

Shab

Shab started dancing before the time she could barely walk; she was born to be an entertainer. She began choreographing dance routines at 10 years old and throughout early childhood for her school chorus and dance teams.

Shab grew up listening to Madonna, Janet Jackson, and Paula Abdul, all of which were her first albums when she came to the US from Spain. She became fascinated with these female artists as performers and knew one day she would be just like them. She spent her childhood summers shooting music videos with her older sister (who was the director at age 12), mimicking moves from her childhood idols.

Shab also danced professionally in the NFL and NBA, cheering for the Oakland Raiders, San Francisco 49ers, Sacramento Kings, and the Golden State Warriors. In 2007, she was featured in music videos for Hilary Duff, James Blunt, and other artists. Although Shab loved dance, she knew, she did not want to stay a back up dancer and placed her focus back onto her music. Just like her childhood idols, Shab promises to entertain as she is the next best female performance artist.

[Shab at iTunes]

 

[Official Website]

Warrior Girls Alum Speaks Out About Pro Cheer Compensation

Cheerleaders deserve fair pay
Lisa Murray
SFGate.com
February 12, 2014

For more than 40 years, professional cheerleaders have been poorly compensated for their countless hours of hard work for multimillion-dollar sports franchises in a billion-dollar industry. This should embarrass professional sports.

After hoping to change this problem from the inside, I quickly realized that was never going to happen.

The Baltimore Colts were the first team to have cheerleaders in the National Football League, in 1954. In 1979, Jerry Buss commissioned the Laker Girls after he purchased the basketball team from Jack Kent Cooke. Soon afterward, dance teams became more popular across the United States. Sadly, women have allowed these organizations to shortchange them for years, and we only have ourselves to blame. The bottom line is that it is illegal for these teams to be paying women below minimum wage. Not all teams do this, but far too many do. That is an issue in itself, but the bigger concern goes much deeper than that.

Anyone who has spoken in support of these multimillion-dollar organizations shortchanging the dancers is part of the problem. Women have valued their notoriety as cheerleaders more than their rights in the workplace, especially in a male-driven industry. They continue to set all women back, after so many have fought to create equality and fair pay.

In order to raise awareness on the issue and work toward receiving reasonable pay for all National Basketball Association and NFL professional cheerleaders, we need to stand up and fight for our rights as a united front.

This is not a starting point, but an end goal. Women are selected for a professional dance team because of their skill set, potential or experience. They are good enough to make a team – just like any other athlete being signed to a professional sports team. Yet we have no one advocating for us, so we have been taken advantage of. Wouldn’t it make sense to let the players association decide what fair and just pay for cheerleaders is for each market?

Prior to making an NBA dance team, I had not had professional experience. I played basketball in high school and was fortunate enough to be trained by former college and NBA players who are family friends. I heard about an audition on the radio, and the next thing I knew, I was standing in a gym with 250 other woman fighting for a spot on the Golden State Warriors Dance Team. It seemed like an amazing opportunity because two of my passions are dance and basketball.

Not knowing much about this profession, I looked down and thought to myself, “Do I really need to wear a sparkly outfit to get this job?”

Shortly after making the team, I realized there was much more to this profession than fake eyelashes and pompons. NBA dancers practice at least 12 hours a week, work out independently to stay in shape and are expected to learn routines on their own time (which takes about two to four hours each week). They have 41 home games, each of which are seven-hour workdays, and in addition a set number of personal appearances per season.

NFL cheerleaders have 10 home games, which are nine-to-10-hour workdays, practice for up to nine hours a week, and have a set number of appearances for close to nine months straight. All this is done while being paid lower than minimum wage (or in some cases $10 an hour), while holding another full-time job or attending university.

In order to fix a problem, you have to become aware of it. Then it is our job to educate others in order to produce change. This is so women in the workplace can soar and stop being held back by stereotypes.

Raiders cheerleader sues, says pay is less than $5 an hour

Bob Egelko
San Francisco Chronicle
January 22, 2014

The Oakland Raiders didn’t give their fans much to cheer about during the football season, and now one of the team’s cheerleaders says they’re being shortchanged as well.

Lacy T. accused the Raiders in a lawsuit Wednesday of failing to pay the Raiderettes minimum wages for the work they do, both on the sidelines and in the community for charity. The team also sticks them with travel costs and levies “fines” that eat into their meager salary, she said.

She filed her lawsuit in Alameda County Superior Court as a proposed class action on behalf of 40 current Raiderettes and other members of the squad over the past four years. And she said she hopes other NFL cheerleaders will join the fray.

“I love being a Raiderette, but someone has to stand up for all of the women of the NFL who work so hard for the fans and the teams,” Lacy T. said in a statement released by her lawyer. “I hope cheerleaders across the NFL will step forward to join me in demanding respect and fair compensation.”

The suit identifies her as Lacy T. in accord with a team policy that withholds the Raiderettes’ last names for security reasons.

The Raiderettes’ contract calls for $125 per home game, or $1,250 per season, she said. That amounts to less than $5 an hour, counting hours of unpaid work in rehearsals, performances at 10 charity events and participation in the team’s annual swimsuit photo-shoot, the suit said.

Additionally, the suit said, the Raiders withhold the cheerleaders’ pay until the end of the season, in violation of a state law requiring pay at least twice a month.

“I’ve been dancing for 16 years, and I was paid more for dancing in college than I am as a pro cheerleader,” Lacy T. said in an interview. “I’m a stay-at-home mom, and every dollar out of my pocket is noticed.”

The 27-year-old Alameda resident, hired by the Raiders before the 2013 season, said she was treated much better in the previous two years as a member of the Golden State Warriors’ dance team, the Warrior Girls. They were paid $10 to $14 an hour, depending on experience, with no unpaid work or expenses, she said.

Lacy T. said the other Raiderettes were unaware of her lawsuit until Wednesday, but she’s talked with many of them and “we all have the exact same complaints.”

Her attorney, Sharon Vinick, said she has been told that other NFL teams have similar wage practices for their cheerleaders, though she has not seen the contracts. She said 26 of the 32 NFL teams have cheerleading squads.

In contrast, Vinick said, the teams treat their male mascots as paid employees with benefits, which the Raiderettes don’t receive.

Vinick said the Raiders apparently got wind of the suit and tried to head it off by paying the cheerleaders considerably more than their 2013-14 contract salaries last week – in Lacy T.’s case, $2,780 for 332.5 regular work hours and 10 hours of overtime. That still was less than the promised contractual rate of $125 for an eight-hour shift in a home game, the suit said.

Raiders officials said they would not comment on the suit.

The suit said Raiderettes are required to take part, without pay, in two to three rehearsals per week, the 10 charity events, a team rally, Fan Day and the swimsuit calendar photo-shoot. They must also pay the costs of traveling to those events, it said.

In addition, the suit said, the cheerleaders must buy accessories such as tights, false eyelashes and a yoga mat, and pay for a team-selected hairstylist, whose appointments cost several hundred dollars. Lacy T. claims in her suit to have spent about $650 on those items this past season.

The team fines Raiderettes $10 or more for such offenses as failing to bring the right pom-poms or a yoga mat to practice, the suit said. It said a cheerleader who gains 5 pounds from her weight at the start of the season, or who appears “too soft” to the squad’s director, is benched for the next home game, has to stay in the locker room, and forfeits the $125 wage she would have made for participating, though she still must take part in pregame and halftime activities.

The suit seeks compensation for minimum wages, overtime, expenses and meal and rest breaks that state law requires after five hours of work.