(As the year ends, we’re sharing our favorite photos from the past 12 months)
Houston Rockets Power Dancer Paige at the RPD tryouts this past June. The most senior veteran on the team, Paige is always on giving her best performance.
The House of Blues was the place to be last night as the Finals for the 2014-15 Rockets Power Dancers took place.
[RPD Finals Gallery]
Houston Rockets: Click here to learn a little about each finalist and tweet your favorite.
Cilck here for photos from this year’s open call audition.
A few resume factoids:
Casey danced for the Houston Texans (NFL) 2012-14
Mari danced for the Austin Toros (NBA D-League) 2009-14
Mayem danced for the Minnesota Timberwolvesw (NBA) 2010-14
Taryn danced for the Houston Dynamo (MLS), Houston Aeros (AHL), and Houston Energy (IWFL)
Dresdynn danced for the Houston Texans (with her twin Schuyler) 2010-14
Wilneisha danced for the New Orleans Hornets (NBA) 2010-12
June 21, 2014
More than 100 hopefuls took to the floor in their quest to make the next squad of Rockets Power Dancers.
Dancers faced a panel of 16 judges during the preliminary rounds of auditions, held at the downtown YMCA on Saturday, June 21, 2104. The girls performed a freestyle routine in groups of eight before the field was narrowed. Additional choreography was taught to the hopefuls, ending the day with a group of finalists chosen.
The finalists attend additional boot camp sessions before the final auditions held on Tuesday, July 1, when the 2014-2015 squad of roughly 14 dancers will be named.
The Rockets Power Dancers perform in Toyota Center at the Houston Rockets home games, as well as performing as ambassadors for the team at Houston community events.
Auditions for the 2014-15 Houston Rockets Power Dancer Auditions began this past Saturday.
Hopefuls lining up outside the downtown YMCA.
Next up is RPD Finalist Interviews and Boot Camp.
And on Tuesday, July 1, 2014 at House of Blues, the new squad will be selected and announced. And it’s free and open to the public.
The city of Houston has something to be cheer about as one of its own, Tammy Harris, was chosen as the winner of the first-ever “LIVE’s Top Fitness Instructor” contest on the “LIVE with Kelly and Michael” show.
Show hosts Kelly Ripa and Texas Southern University’s own Michael Strahan announced Harris the winner this past Monday morning. Harris got the opportunity to showcase her moves in front of the national audience because she was nominated by her students.
“LIVE” partnered with Emergen-C® for “Top Fitness Instructor Week,” during which the top five finalists traveled to New York and demonstrated their routines on “LIVE.” After the last finalist was showcased, “LIVE’s” viewers voted for Harris as the overall grand prize winner of $10,000 in cash. Each finalist took home a $2,000 cash prize, and all five will be featured in a future issue of Fitness Magazine.
Harris, who is a dancer at heart, is a former member of the Houston Rockets Power Dancer cheerleading squad and has over 25 years of extensive dance training under her belt. She is certified as a personal trainer by the Aerobics Fitness Association of America, and launched her own company, Soul Grooves, LLC, with the motto “Health and Wellness is a way of LIFE.”
With popular exercise movements such as Insanity, Zumba, and CrossFit gaining notoriety, Harris knew that she would have to create a unique cardio workout in order to stay competitive in the market, so creating ‘Soul Grooves’ gave her the opportunity to be a cheerleader, fitness instructor and inspirational speaker rolled into one.
Soul Grooves is a cardio dance workout that enables people to get fit, feel healthier all while enjoying the time of their life. It involves varied choreographed cardio dance routines that inspire you to get fit while feeding your mind, body and soul. Soul Grooves is considered a motivating alternative to a regular fitness routine because it keeps people moving, inspired and in an upbeat and positive frame of mind as they reach their fitness and personal goals.
Typically in the group fitness industry, a large class is considered 50 people. Soul Grooves workouts bring in more than 200 participants. Her classes are held at three different Life Time Fitness locations across Houston, every Monday through Saturday. Harris said that at her ‘Soul Grooves’ classes, it’s not uncommon to see participants of all different ethnicities, ages, genders, and fitness levels getting a much-needed and fun workout.
“We are a Top 40 class,” says Harris. “We have a library that consists of more than 200 routines, so our workouts are innovative and exciting. We workout to pop, rock, R&B, country or anything that is on the Top 40 list. It’s a very easy-to-follow class.”
Prior to becoming a successful fitness instructor, Harris struggled with her own weight challenges, which prompted her to develop Soul Grooves in order to stress the importance of fitness, nutrition and behavioral changes to achieve physical and psychological goals.
When Harris is not training others, she spends time with her family, traveling and working with charities. Be sure to visit the ‘Soul Grooves’ website at www.soulgrooves.com.
OPEN AUDITIONS: SATURDAY, JUNE 21, 2014
Downtown YMCA – 808 Pease St. Houston, TX 77002- Free Parking available in select lots or daily hourly parking in YMCA garage
Registration fee: $20
Finalists will be announced on this day.
Must be 18 years or older and a high school graduate by October 1, 2014 (valid photo I.D. required)
Must be a full time college student or hold a full time job
Completed application, release form and professional/dance resume
Must provide one non-returnable current color headshot photo & full body photo
Must be able to attend Rockets home games & all evening rehearsals two times a week
Must be able to attend a certain number of appearances & other related Rockets activities
If selected to the team, a one year contract and commitment are required
Drug test screening for finalists
Walk ups day of auditions are also welcomed
What to wear:
Dance or athletic half-top (Must show midriff)
Hot pants, booty shorts, boy shorts, skirts – two piece dance ensemble (must be fitted, no full length pants or capri pants)
Shoe of preference with non-marking soles (please no black soles)
Flesh tone hose or tights
Performance ready hair and make-up
What we’re looking for:
Confidence, personality, showmanship, energy and enthusiasm
Professionalism and maturity
Dancers who are well spoken and can represent the Houston Rockets and RPD in a professional manner at all times
Ability to pick up dance choreography quickly
Consistent positive attitude
Strong teamwork skills
Ability and desire to commit for one full year
AUDITION PREP CLASSES: MAY 15 & JUNE 12
Tellepsen Family Downtown YMCA
808 Pease Street
Houston, TX. 77002
Registration fee: $15/per class
[Complete Registration and Audition Info]
Here’s Rookie Houston Rockers Power Dancer Casey in a just released promo photo for the RPD’s new 2014 Calendar:
[Casey at the Rockets Website]
Bios and individual uniform shots have been posted on the Houston Rockets website. Click here and check ‘em out!
Check out the RPD’s music parody of Blurred Lines here.
The two things junior Scarlett Ellingson used to balance her University of St. Thomas activities and her work as a Houston Rockets Power Dancer was her day planner and her cell phone – to call her mom for support.
Ellingson, a double major in international development and international studies, maintained her studies as a full-time student, was captain of the UST Cheerleading Club, vice president of the Presidential Ambassadors, public relations officer for the International Students Association, treasurer for UST’s Model United Nations, vice president of Celt Crazies (the UST fan club) and she worked in the UST Office of Undergraduate Admissions. Not to mention she was one of only 14 women on the NBA’s Houston Rockets Power Dancers. Somehow, she was even able to get a full night’s sleep.
“It was difficult – I’m not going to lie,” Ellingson said. “I made commitments though, and I told myself this is what I want and this is going to work. If you want something, you do anything to make it work.”
She kept up with school work and clubs, while attending two to three Rockets games a week and Power Dancer practices. She weathered the long Rockets season, which included All-Star Weekend in Houston and a brief run in the playoffs. Ellingson said she was going 24/7.
“I had to learn time management very quickly,” she said. “In a way, it made me really organized because I had a very limited amount of time to study and have free time. No one sees the hard work behind it, and it’s not all fun and games. We have our personal trainer, our practices and deadlines to meet. Just because you have a pretty face and you can dance doesn’t mean you can do it all. We always say, ‘Only the strong survive.’”
Ellingson used her experience with the Rockets to impart a professional work ethic to the women in the University Cheerleading Club. Because of her busy schedule, the girls were practicing at 6 a.m. on Thursdays and midday on other days. Ellingson helped the student-athletes understand that diligence is a must, regardless of one’s skill level.
“I’m at the professional level, but I always told them that they can be, too,” she said. “I would tell them, ‘You should take this just as serious as I take my job.’
“I think they got the bigger picture because we worked very hard.”
Ellingson has a special place in her heart for the fortitude it takes to be a dancer and entertainer. At the end of her senior year in high school, she planned to become a ballerina in New York. Three days before prom, she broke her collarbone in three places and shattered her shoulder. She lost her full ride to the school in New York and had to rebuild. Ellingson went into panic mode when she realized she had deferred all her other acceptance letters but wanted to take advantage of her St. Thomas acceptance. She said UST welcomed her with open arms.
“My classroom was going to be a dance room, so I didn’t know what I wanted to study,” she said. “The last two years of high school, I was preparing myself for the dance world, not for a solely academic world. But the vibe at St. Thomas was like family. I want my education and to pursue my career, and I couldn’t let one distract from the other.”
Ellingson’s internship with World Refugee Day Houston helped her understand the journey of a refugee. This inspired her new plan – to go to law school and eventually work with refugees.
Not even realizing it, Ellingson inspired a fellow UST cheerleader, junior finance major Alessandra Scotto, to follow a similar path. Scotto is a Dynamo Girl with the MLS team the Houston Dynamo. Scotto is a part-time student who is now in the crux of Dynamo season.
“This past semester took me by surprise,” Scotto said. “I knew Scarlett was a Power Dancer, so I thought I would audition for Dynamo Girl tryouts. I was so proud when I made the team. Game days are long hours and there is no rest, but I love my experience with both so far. I hope to continue on both paths, and I’m happy I can make both work in my life right now.”
Scotto, who is also in the UST Cheer Club, plans to get her masters and continue to be a good example for her three younger sisters.
Ellingson and Scotto will continue to motivate the other women in the UST Cheer Club and show them that endurance and ambition will go much further than a pretty face and cool dance moves.
The RPD auditions started with 200 dancers. By Monday night at The House of Blues, there were 19 finalists. In the end 14 were selected to be the new 2013-14 Houston Rockets Power Dancers.
[Power Dancers Finals Gallery]
HOUSTON – With equal parts skill, swag and sexiness, a new era of RPD is underway.
After more than a week’s worth of intense, grueling training, three rounds of auditions and nerve-wracking performances, the results are in and the next generation of Rockets Power Dancers has been unveiled.
With more than a thousand people on hand to watch the event Monday night at the House of Blues in downtown Houston, 14 lovely and talented dancers were chosen, launching the team’s second season under coach and choreographer Natalie Alvarado.
This year’s edition of RPD promises to feature an even heavier dose of hip-hop style and attitude, and all the dancers delivered the goods Monday, showing off an abundance of attitude, ability and sex appeal while wowing the audience during performances set to the steady grooves and sonic blast of Bruno Mars and Birdy Nam Nam.
The event marked the fifth consecutive year that the Rockets have held the final auditions in public, and the spectators on hand were treated to a tremendous show, bearing witness to the festivities which included top-notch performances from each of the 19 finalists.
Be sure to keep an eye on the soon-to-be-revamped Rockets Power Dancers’ homepage in the weeks and months to come for more pictures, news and information on the 2013-14 team.
Click here for photos from the final round of auditions for the 2013-14 Houston Rockets Power Dancers. It looks like it was pretty intense!
The new squad was announced last night after the Finals at the House of Blues