Photo of the Day – September 18

A Phoenix Suns Dancer

Congratulations 2014-15 BlazerDancers

(Somewhat belated) Click here to learn more about the ladies chosen for the team! 2014 Hot Issue

By Jay Betsill
Special to
September 4, 2014

It took a while. At the tail end of a cooler-than-usual summer, August made up for lost time: The sweltering heat and humidity that we have all come to expect finally arrived and put some sizzle in our summer. Since DFW has a well-deserved reputation for being so hot, this is when we celebrate all things that go along with summertime here, including some of the hottest people in the area at some of the coolest locations the Metroplex has to offer.

This year’s bevy of “it” women and men is a nod to the sports-obsessed nature of North Texas: You’ll meet a former Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader, an NBA dancer, an Ice Angel, a former Indianapolis Colts cheerleader and a former Dallas Stars Ice Girl. We even have a beautiful woman who once played football herself and now owns her own business that specializes in helping DFW residents join “Team Sexy.”

[Click here to read the article in its entirety]

Vivian Ralena
Born: Riverside, Calif.
Current city: Denton
Day job: Dance instructor, second-year veteran of the Allen Americans Ice Angels and full-time student at UNT
Dream job: An inspirational speaker for adolescent teenagers who are going through hard times and need guidance
People may recognize you from: I actually get recognized a lot in public from the CMT show Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team, which I have been on the past two years.
Interesting fact about you: I love to write, especially poetry.

[Click here for the rest of Vivian's profile and more photos]

Tessa David
Born: Bloomington, Ind.
Current city: Dallas
Day job: Executive administrative assistant for Blume Architecture and BSN Sports
Dream job: Own my own wellness center. I’ve always wanted to start my own dance studio that is geared more towards workout-type dance for the moms while their children take dance classes. Now I would like it to be even more than that and I want it to have a cryotherapy machine, nutritionist and many other things that would help a person develop a very balanced, healthy life.
People may recognize you from: I had the privilege of being an NFL cheerleader for the Indianapolis Colts for five years, which provided so many memorable and amazing opportunities, including getting to perform at Super Bowl 44! After moving to the Dallas area, I spent one season with the Allen Americans Ice Angels.

[Click here for the rest of Tessa's profile and more photos]

Sequel Molina
Born: Fort Worth
Current city: Dallas
Day job: Administrative assistant at HEB Dental Excellence
Dream job: Working with orphaned chimpanzees. I recently saw a documentary on the Discovery Channel and I think they are the cutest things ever.
People may recognize you from: I am heading into my fifth season as an NBA dancer (for the Dallas Mavericks Dancers). My family had season tickets to the NBA when I was growing up and after being a cheerleader in high school, I knew this was my next step. The coolest aspect of being an NBA dancer is being on the court in front of a sold-out arena. It is definitely a major adrenaline rush.
Interesting fact about you: Sequel really is my name, not a nickname … I promise! (Editor’s note: Her parents named her Sequel because she was their second child.)

[Click here for the rest of Sequel's profile and more photos]

Chelsea Chaney
Born: Merkel
Current city: Dallas
Day job: Bridal stylist
Dream job: Host my own national TV talk show about the lifestyle world similar to my blog, My first guests on the show would be Ellen DeGeneres, Taylor Swift and Chris Pratt.
People may recognize you from: The 2012-13 NFL season, when I was a member of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders.
How would you describe your season as one of Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders? I had a fantastic time on the squad, made a lot of great friends. It was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience and for me it was an opportunity to live out my dream of a small-town girl in the big city.
Interesting fact about you: I am borderline diabetic so I can’t eat sugar. Growing up, there was never any candy or Coke in the house.

[Click here for the rest of Chelsea's profile and more photos]

Mercedes Owens
Born: Tulsa, Okla.
Current city: Dallas
Day job: Sports reporter for D210TV on Time Warner Cable Sports Channel. I cover the Dallas Cowboys, SMU football and SMU basketball.
Do you have any special experiences from your time as a sports reporter that stand out? As an SMU alum, having the chance to work in the same environment as a legend like head basketball coach Larry Brown last season is something I will never forget. I also did some fan-reaction interviews during the Mavs playoffs against the Spurs, and I filled in for the D210 entertainment reporter last summer, and I interviewed Marlon Wayans for A Haunted House 2. This summer I began covering the Cowboys on draft night and have continued through camp and will do the home games this season at AT&T Stadium.
Dream job: I want to host a national sports show and be the “Chelsea Handler of sports.”
Who would your first guests be on your show? I’d have a panel of four with LeBron James, Doc Rivers, Dez Bryant and Kevin Hart.
People may recognize you from: I was a Dallas Stars Ice Girl for the past two seasons.
Best feature: My sense of humor. I love to laugh and make people laugh. I am definitely a jokester.

[Click here for the rest of Mercedes's profile and more photos]

Redskins cheerleader, Wizards dancer battles rare form of tumor

By Autria Godfrey
September 4, 2014

LEESBURG, Va. (WJLA) – We’ve all heard about the success of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Now, a local woman is seeking to raise awareness for another cause, after a harrowing battle of her own.

Lindsey Murray had a life many young women only dream of—she was a Wizards dancer and then a Redskins cheerleader, all while maintaining a professional sales career. Then, she heard the words that changed it all.

“I was not expecting to hear the word ‘tumor’ and ‘chemo’ to come out of my specialist’s mouth,” Murray said. “To be honest, I was in a state of shock.”

Doctors told Murray not to worry about the lump she found in her breast, that it was just an enlarged rib or inflammation. She went undiagnosed for six months until, finally, an oncologist classified her grapefruit-sized lump as a desmoid tumor. It was benign but rare, aggressive and difficult for surgery.

“It’s typically seen in young patients, so most patients are actually fairly healthy with a good lifestyle,” said Dr. Alex Spira. “Nothing we know can cause this.”

Murray underwent five months of chemotherapy, only to discover the tumor had grown by 25 percent. Dr. Spira tried something new—nearly a year of an oral chemotherapy typically only given to liver and kidney cancer patients.

“At that point, every phone call I was getting from him was, ‘It’s growing a little bit,’” Murray said. “My phone rang and I was shaking. And he goes, ‘Lindsey, good news!’ And I literally just, like, fell to the ground.”

The tumor had shrunk by 82 percent, then 99 percent as of April. So grateful, Murray has joined a “Dizzy for Desmoids” Challenge, inspired by the success of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. She hopes to raise both awareness and funds for a cure, and has nominated the current Washington Redskins cheerleading squad to participate.

Because desmoid tumors often re-occur, Murray must now be closely monitored. But she says she wants to turn a negative into a positive and help others with the disease.

Murray’s dancing days aren’t over just yet—she’s just hung up the professional pom poms for now.

Behind the scenes at the Clippers Spirit photo shoot

The ladies of the Los Angeles Clippers Spirit dance team recently completed their photo shoot for the upcoming NBA season. Here’s a little sneak peek at how the day went. [photo gallery here]

It took place at the Clippers training facility in Culver City, which is south of Los Angeles proper. This is the same place where they had final auditions in July.

(I tried to get a photo of the outside, but there’s a tree in the way)

As everyone who has been through it knows, on photo shoot day, there’s a lot of this going on.

It starts with hair and makeup to get everyone glamorized

Veronica looking lovely even half done with curlers in her hair

Brooke gets her hair done

Kellie’s all glammed up from the neck up. (Not so much from the ankles down.)

This was the outfit for the individual shots:

This one has just a slight shimmer under the lights. This team wears a lot of red. More than white. Much much more so than blue. Now that I think about it, Clippers blue may be a hard color to match. And I doubt the boots come in that color.

Lights! Camera! Action!

Once it’s time to get started, some of the rookies were a bit nervous, but the team’s director Audrea Harris was there to make sure everyone looked her absolute best, from head to toe.

Gabri (working it without even trying.)




In between shoots, the crew from Fox was also filming for this year’s “Making the Team” special.

After all of the individual shoots were over, the ladies changed costumes. This was the costume for the group photo.

Karissa and Brianna after the wardrobe change.

And this happened:

I have no idea. I turned around and she was in the middle of doing it.

Audrea also took a turn on camera…

…and that was when we noticed the tinsel wall, and its many possibilities.

Sharon and Kellie started it.

The tv crew’s lighting set up was excellent, so we took advantage.

Yay! Sister photo with Tatum and Tyra!

Text thing I knew, it turned into this and this and this.

Veterans Kelsey, Brooke, Natalie, Tatum, Brittany, Kellie, Brianna, Candace, and Karissa

Just the vets for now. Nina was still shooting, so we didn’t get to to a rookie shot until after:

Rookies Gabri, Mariah, Tyra, Amber, Sharon, Jen, Nina, Veronica, and Roxy

The group photo went really quickly. Ten minutes. Fifteen max.

They lined everyone up by height, made a few adjustments, and click-click-click it was over.

The day started around 8am and everyone was finished by 2. It goes so fast! In prior years, the team shoot has been at the dance studio, and it’s followed by several hours of rehearsal. This year, they got a break. Once the shoot was over, they were free to go.

These are the faces of women visualizing the Double-Double and fries they’re about to order over at the In-n-Out Burger. (Mmmm….burgers…)

I’m not sure how long it will be before the Clippers site is updated with the new photos, so I leave you with a hit of what to expect.


Amber (rookie)

Brianna (year 2)

Brittany (year 8 )

Brooke (year2)

Candace (year 3)

Gabri (rookie)

Jen (rookie)

Karissa (year 3)

Kellie (year 5)

Kelsey (year 3)

Mariah (rookie)

Natalie (year 2)

Roxy (rookie)

Sharon (rookie)

Tatum (year 3)

Tyra (rookie)

Veronica (rookie)

Introducing The 2014-2015 San Antonio Spurs Silver Dancers!

The newest members of the five time NBA Champions’ dance squad have been announced and we have your first look! Lori Gorry is a returning Silver Dancer and is here to tell us about the audition process and a little about what all of the members experienced!


The Sun Also Rises: The 2014 Phoenix Suns Dancers Auditions

This past Saturday, the Phoenix Suns held their preliminary auditions for their dance team at the Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale, Arizona.  Over a hundred girls tried out for roughly 18 positions.  With 13 veterans trying out again, in reality the 100 hopefuls were essentially auditioning for five open slots, give or take an unexpected vacancy or two.

It was clear that the returning veterans were clearly a cut above the majority of those trying out.  A season’s worth of rehearsing and performing was evident in their technique, showmanship and ability to learn the audition routine quickly.  From this person’s perspective, there was a clear difference between the veterans and the other girls at this audition.

That is not to say that there weren’t any qualified candidates in attendance.  In fact, I saw many girls who had previously tried out for the Suns Dancers or the Arizona Cardinals Cheerleaders and many of them were quite talented and good looking.  But with only a handful of openings in any given year, many talented dancers go wanting.

But I am getting ahead of myself…







Continue reading The Sun Also Rises: The 2014 Phoenix Suns Dancers Auditions

2014-15 Milwaukee Bucks Dancers Final Auditions

Reader Max was the Bucks Dancers Finals and he shares a few photos with us:

MBD staged Final Auditions for the 2014-15 season at the Peck Pavilion open to the public. Dancing in front of friends and family, the girls made their final impression to the team director and judges. With on-stage DJ, special smoke effects, and intense neon lights which never diminished, everyone cheered for their favorites and the judges gave compliments. Hearts broken and dreams fulfilled, there were sixteen girls chosen for the squad.

Congratulations to the 2014-15 Milwaukee Bucks Dancers


2014 NBA Dance Team All-Star Andrea in the spotlight


MBD final pose after the group opening number


Dancer #2 got a great compliment from a judge – that she should be #1

Megan shows makes her introduction with incredible style

Dancer is recognized for receiving the most fan votes in an internet contest

For the final number, dancers change into uniform team colors

And the celebration begins for the newly minted MBD

Wizard Girls Finals Showcase

The Howard Theatre was the place be on Monday night. Before a paced house the Washington Wizards Girls Finalists put on quite a show!

[Wizard Girls Finals Showcase Gallery]

Joining Pistons’ dance team a dream come true for Windsor teen

Kelly Steele
The Windsor Star
August 6, 2014

When Nathalie Couvillion went to her first Detroit Pistons game in Auburn Hills, Mich. last season, it wasn’t for the basketball players.

“It was the first NBA game I’d been to and I loved it,” she said. “Everyone was watching the game but I couldn’t stop watching the Pistons dancers. The whole time I kept thinking how much I wanted to do that.”

After the game, Couvillion, 18, jumped on the Pistons website and much to her surprise discovered they were already holding auditions for the dance team’s next season.

“I was really excited,” she said. “I signed up right away. I didn’t really know what to expect, but knew it was something I really wanted to do.”

Nervous, the Windsor teen attended the first tryout in July along with 150 other women ranging from 18 years old and up. She was thrilled when she made the first cut, becoming one of only 24 left for the 19 coveted spots. A week later, she was called back for another audition and wasn’t sure what to expect.

“When I walked in I noticed right away there seemed to be less than 24 of us,” she said. “The organizer said, “stand in line,” and told us to look to our left and look to our right because we were the members of this year’s Detroit Pistons Dance team. I couldn’t believe it. I was so excited.”

The coaches had already made their decisions and made the final cuts through phone calls. Not only is Couvillion the only Canadian on the team, but she is also one of the youngest.

The former competitive gymnast and dancer said the auditions were challenging as the choreographer would quickly teach the routine and then have everyone perform it as a group.

“At the auditions, I knew I had to stand out so when I would see them looking at me I would do a crazy gymnastic or dance move that the other girls couldn’t do,” she said. “It was hard not to look at the other girls and compare yourself.”

Couvillion, who teaches dance at Edmund Towers School of Dance in Windsor, loves to perform and can’t wait to take the floor at the Palace of Auburn Hills during a Pistons’ game in October.

“I love to perform and I love to make people smile while they are watching me dance,” she said. “When people watch me dance they say it helps them to forget about things. I also love the dancers’ gear — it’s really cool and the colours are great.”

As important as dance skills were, the coaches also wanted their team members to have a strong personality, confidence and athleticsm. Dancers perform during games and at halftime as back-up dancers alongside some of the biggest names in the music industry. Dancers are also required to appear at various team events throughout Detroit.

“They were really big on your personality,” she said. “They really want you to be a good person and someone who will represent the team positively. In addition to the dance auditions, we also did a few interviews where they asked a bunch of questions. It was an important part since the dancers also do signings and take pictures with fans before the games.”

Couvillion has always known she wanted a future in dance, but besides coaching wasn’t sure where the path would lead.

“That night watching the dancers at the Palace, I knew that’s what I wanted to do,” she said. “I’ve watched them on TV before and always thought how much I would love to do it. Once I was there and could feel the atmosphere and the audience going crazy I knew I wanted to do it. I’ve always wanted to do something big and make a name for myself. This feels like that chance.”

Practices will start for Couvillion the end of August and she won’t take the floor at the Palace for the first time as a Pistons Dancer until October.

“I’m really excited, this really feels like a dream,” she said. “The whole experience is going to be amazing and I can’t believe I get to do this. I can’t wait to take the floor as a Pistons Dancer.”