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
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.
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.
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.
Houston Rockets: Meet your RPD finalists! Don’t miss The Finals on Monday,July 1, 2013 at The House of Blues to see if your favorites make the team. Its free and open to the public. The finalists will get one last opportunity to perform the audition routines for the judges panel and guests in attendance, after which the 2013-2014 Houston Rockets Power Dancers will be announced. Tell us what you think by tweeting hashtag #RPD2013.
Click here to check out the Houston Chronicle’s photo gallery!
Oh honey…why didn’t your friends stop you? I understand that you want to stand out. This certainly does it for you. If nobody else noticed you, the photographers certainly did. Unfortunately that lipstick is probably the only thing most people will remember about you. Not your cute outfit, and not your dancing.
Thank goodness you saw the light. You’ve got such a pretty face. Why hide it with all of that … BLUE?
AUDITION PROCESS ON SATURDAY, JUNE 22, 2013
* Open auditions are closed to the public, family, and friends
* This round will consists of a series of 2-3 eliminations that will include, freestyle, stylized choreography and hip-hop choreography
* Finalists will be chosen and announced at the end of the day
* We recommend that you bring snacks, water and any items to freshen up between rounds
* Candidates will be judged on appearance, dance ability, style, strength and completion of choreography, energy, projection and potential
Finalist Interviews: Monday, June 24 by appointment
Finalist Boot Camp: June 25 – 28 – Evenings
The Finals: Monday, July 1, 2013 at House of Blues
1204 Caroline Street
Houston, TX 77002
Doors – 6:30pm
Show – 7:00pm
* Free and open to the public, family, and friends
* One final opportunity for the finalists to perform the audition routines for the judges panel
* 2013-2014 Houston Rockets Power Dancers will be announced on this night