ChivaGirls stage successful try-out

More than 100 women audition for spot on dance squad
By Jeffrey King

CARSON, Calif. — The players of Chivas USA might be away on a training trip in Mexico, but The Home Depot Center was still busy on Saturday morning. The ChivaGirls, the official dance team of Chivas USA, hosted their tryouts for the 2010 squad, auditioning more than 100 girls during the course of the morning.

The Chivagirl hopefuls were put through their paces on Saturday, learning a complicated series of steps in just under an hour and then performing that routine for a panel of judges.

“We’re looking for 19 girls total,” said Aimee Edmundson, director of the ChivaGirls. “I see a lot of really talented girls here this morning. I’m really happy. A big part of it will also be the interview process [on Sunday]. The girls have to be good dancers, but they also have to be able to communicate with the public.”

The ChivaGirl auditions featured a diverse group of women, ranging in skill level from amateur to experienced professional. Fourteen girls from last year’s squad were on hand to re-audition, as a place on the team is not guaranteed from year to year.

“The idea ChivaGirl is great dancer, but also outgoing, articulate, and well-educated,” said Edmundson. “They have to be out there dancing in front of 20,000 people, so they can’t be somebody who gets intimidated or somebody who lacks confidence. They have to have a great personality when they’re dancing — they have to sparkle.”

Once the dancers had learned a short routine at the start of the audition, they were split into smaller groups and asked to perform the number without any help from choreographer John Peters. A panel of judges looked on, evaluated the skill of the girls.

“There is a particular team style that we’re looking for,” said Peters, who regularly choreographs routines for the Chivagirls. “We’re not just looking for the girls that can actually do it; we’re looking for the girls who can learn fast. Sometimes they’ll have to learn a routine on Tuesday and then do it on Saturday.

“We’re also looking for the wild factor,” he continued. “This is sports entertainment; it’s different than just studio dance. You’re out on the field in front of thousands of people, you have to have that something special that reaches the people up in the seats.”

Beyond their performances on the field during halftime of Chivas USA matches, the ChivaGirls also make time to visit fans, attend community events and greet ticket-holders.

“The ChivaGirls are on the stage dancing before games,” said Edmundson. “They’re signing autographs and posters for the fans, taking pictures, and shaking hands. Then they do a field entrance for the players and perform at halftime. They also do a lot of community appearances and media events, so they’re pretty busy during the season.”

While being a ChivaGirl is no easy task, it’s a job that many of the girls from last year’s team were proud to have.

“I really want to be apart of this again,” said Laura Lach, an Inland Empire native who served on the 2009 squad. “I know how much fun it was last year and I would be devastated to not make it this year.

“It is a part-time job; you do it because you love it,” she continued. “But we have a really cool director in Aimee who makes everything a lot more fun. This organization is really great and the whole thing is really enjoyable.”

The official announcement of the roster for the 2010 Chivagirls will be made on Wednesday, Feb. 17.