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Redhawk Becomes Sea Gal

piagillan

By Katie Farden
The SU Spectator
5/27/09

With four wins and 12 losses last season, the Seattle Seahawks ended 2008 leaving most of their fans with dim hopes for next year. Seattle U students and alumni still have cause to head down to Qwest Field, however, even if it is only for the half-time show.

Senior criminal justice and forensic psychology major Pia Gillan recently earned a spot on the Sea Gals, a professional dance team that performs at Seahawks football games.

When Gillan first found out she made the team, she was in disbelief.

“You have to wait for an hour to find out, and that’s the worst part,” she said. “When they first called my number I was in shock, I had to double check to make sure it was me.”

Gillan has been a member of Seattle U’s dance squad, SU Dance Team, for the past two years. Her dance coach, Kate Kelly, wasn’t surprised with Gillian’s success at the Sea Gals tryout.

“She is one of the best performers I have ever coached,” Kelly said. “She just has that air about her.”

Performing in front of a large audience is one aspect of her new job Gillan says she is most excited to take on.

“I’m really excited just to be in the stadium interacting with the crowd,” said Gillan who was born and raised in Guam and danced competitively in high school for Skip Entertainment Studio. Before dancing on the SU Dance Team, Gillan spent her freshman and sophomore year playing rugby for Seattle U.

“Rugby was a lot of fun, especially because we played it a lot in Guam,” she said. “But I really missed dancing. It’s not that I didn’t like rugby, but I do wish I had tried out for the dance team earlier.”

The most unforgettable moment of her two years on Seattle U’s dance squad, she said, was her initial audition.

“I had never really auditioned before, and I was nervous choreographing my own dance,” she said of her 2007 tryout. “But I got through it.”

Gillan auditioned for the Sea Gals in late April at Qwest Field. The try outs, which held three rounds of cuts and personal interviews, proved to be far more overwhelming than the Seattle U dance team auditions.

“At the SU audition, there are about eight girls there, and everyone knows your name,” she said. “At the Sea Gals audition, there were over 200. You’re just a number.”

Gillan’s number, however, drew the coaches’ attention. She was selected along with 27 other women for the 2009 Sea Gal’s roster.

“My mom called everyone she knew. And my family keeps checking the [Sea Gals] Web site,” she said with a laugh.

The Sea Gals practice every Tuesday and Thursday at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center in Renton, Wash.

“Practices start at 6:30 p.m., and they don’t give you an end time because you don’t know when it will get over,” Gillan said.

She said while it’s often challenging, she works to strike a balance between school and her new job as a Sea Gal.

“It’s pretty stressful,” said Gillan, who also works 15 hours a week at Super Copy. “I just seriously have to time-manage.”

Still, the Sea Gal practices, which usually run for about two and a half hours, offer her time to unwind.

“I look forward to those practices because it’s a chance to put school behind me.”

Although Gillan is now a professional dancer, her former coach said she still retains her humility.

“She is probably one of the most down to earth people I know,” said Kelly. “She definitely deserves this.”

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