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Lindsay Shoemaker and the Sacramento Mountain Lions Dance Team Auditions

by Ahsan Awan
Sacramento Press

The UFL’s Sacramento Mountain Lions cheer and dance team is set to hold tryouts June 5.

The team’s director, Lindsay Shoemaker, was hired in late April, and has been busy preparing ever since. With preliminary tryouts only a week away, there is still a lot of work to be done. For example, the team needs a name. Cougarettes, Lady Lions, Capital Kittens? “We’ve narrowed it down to a few names, but nothing is for sure yet,” said Shoemaker.

But coming up with a name isn’t the first priority. About 200 women are registered to try out for 32 spots, and Lindsay said she and her assistants have to come up with a routine for the women to learn and perform in one day.

The women on the team will be announced June 12, but first comes a week of interviews and performances in front of judges and fans. “It’s important that the community be involved in the process,” Shoemaker said.

Indeed, the life of a Mountain Lion cheer and dance team member calls for broad community appeal. In addition to two practices per week, and one team workout and physical training session per week, there will be many public appearances. Shoemaker said the team could make appearances every week. “Any time our girls are out in public, they represent the league and the organization,” she said.

According to the Sacramento Business Journal, members of the squad will be paid for the four home games and promotions that they attend. Shoemaker confirmed this, but added that there will be work on behalf of charities, and appearances at schools and other community events.

According to information provided by the UFL, Shoemaker is trained in jazz, ballet, hip- hop and funk. She was a member of the Universal Rhythm Dance Co. and Sheldon High School’s cheer and song team. She also danced for Chico Dance Theater at California State University, Chico, and Sacramento’s Empire Dance Team.


Lindsay Shoemaker. Photo Courtesy of Tanya Atkinson.

Shoemaker worked for Radio Disney as an on-air personality. She also developed a dance group made up of Radio Disney listeners that performed at events including the California State Fair and a number of festivals, and she coached the Sheldon Huskies Junior Cheerleaders.

Shoemaker was the lead dancer and scheduled all appearances as a charter member of The Lipstick Girls and Groovement. She also managed and taught at Get Dancing Academy of Dance in Fair Oaks. Her dancers performed at Paramount’s Great America and the California State Fair.

The Sacramento native has a degree in public relations and communication studies from California State University, Sacramento and currently works for the State of California’s Department of Public Health. She also competes in triathlons and half marathons, and is a football fanatic.

She’s a busy woman with a big task in front of her, and yet the question remains: What will the team be called and who will decide? Shoemaker said, “We’ve thought about asking the community to decide, much like they did with the naming of the football team.”

There’s no official suggestion box, but suggestions are welcome (below).

The Sacramento Mountain Lions cheer and dance team preliminary tryouts will be held at 24-Hour Fitness at 1314 Fulton Ave. (corner of Fulton and Hurley) on June 5 from 12:30-8:30 p.m. on June 5. Registration forms available on the Mountain Lions website. The finals will be held at Cosmopolitan Complex, 1000 K St., June 12 at 4:30 p.m. Lindsay Shoemaker can be reached directly by email at mountainlionscheer@gmail.com.

The Best Kept Secret in Southern California – The Inland Empire 66ers Spirit Girls

The Inland Empire 66ers are a minor league baseball team that plays in the California League. They are the Single A affiliate of Los Angeles Dodgers and play their home games in San Bernardino, California. The origins of the organization date back to 1941, but for the last several years the Inland Empire 66ers have fielded a dance team.

Dance teams are a somewhat new innovation to baseball and in California the concept hasn’t quite caught on with our Major League Baseball Teams. Sure, there are squads that do in game promotions and community service, but there are only a few, real dance teams in all of baseball and we are lucky to have one in our backyard here in sunny Southern California.

One of the great things about minor league baseball is that they go the extra mile to create a fun and entertaining environment for the fans. Perhaps it’s the nature of minor league sports, but there are more fun and quirky promotions than in the big leagues. And on this night, the Inland Empire 66ers Spirit Girls turned back the clock to give the crowd that 50’s feel.


Continue reading The Best Kept Secret in Southern California – The Inland Empire 66ers Spirit Girls

“I’m So Excited” to see the Pacemates in the 500 Festival Parade

Pacemates alongside the Pointer Sisters' Float

Pacemates alongside the Pointer Sisters' Float

Amidst the fun, sunshine, and excitement of attending the 500 Festival Parade in Indianapolis are the occasional concerns that these might be the last moments of life if you are sitting in the front row.  Motorcycle daredevils whizzing past your feet, a horse that seemed a bit TOO nervous, and always (and why, on days with little wind?), helium cartoon character balloons that seem WAY out of control (yes, I’m talking about you Uncle Sam).  But, if I had been squished by a large multi-colored cartoon figure, I would have died happy having seen the Pacemates along the parade route.

Jessica R leads the way along the 500 Festival Parade route

Jessica R leads the way along the 500 Festival Parade route

From my seats, the Pacemates, the dance squad for the NBA’s Indiana Pacers, walked alongside a float carrying the Pointer Sisters.  The Pointers performed at one the pre-Indy 500 concerts later that night, no doubt Neutron Dancing up a storm.   The Pacemates were in appropriate race week checkered attire, and walked along a parade route on a sunny and a bit hot Saturday afternoon.  The 500 Festival Parade is the state’s largest parade and features all 33 drivers that race in the next day’s Indy 500.

Brittany and Kayla alongside the Pointer Sisters

Brittany and Kayla escort the Pointer Sisters

But walking in the parade was the LEAST of the Pacemates’ role in the parade.  For those sitting in the big bleachers at the front, where the TV cameras capture the parade, the Pacemates were part of the big opening musical number, featuring country music’s Laura Bell Bundy.

Pacemates perform in 500 Festival Parade

Dancer Turned Lawyer Keeps a Foot in Both Courts

By Jan Pudlow

Yolyvee Rivera, center, an associate at Richman Greer in Miami, works with the Miami HEAT dance team. Rivera danced with the squad while in law school. Now she volunteers 10 to 15 hours a month helping the team prepare for game days.

By day, Yolyvee Rivera excelled as a third-year law student at St. Thomas University, serving as senior articles editor of the Law Review and making the dean’s list.

By night, she sweated through grueling rehearsals from 7 p.m. to midnight, perfecting spirited routines to rev up the fans at pro basketball games as a Miami HEAT dancer.

Her dual life in 2008-09 combined her two passions: law and dance.

Before lacing up her dancing shoes for her big gig before an audience of 19,600 at American Airlines Arena, she was buckling down with law books.

In the spring of 2008, she’d interned for Florida Supreme Court Justice Harry Lee Anstead. From May to August, she completed another internship at Richman Greer in Miami.

Before embarking on a demanding legal career, this classically trained ballerina wanted to “scratch her dancing itch,” so she tried out for the very competitive HEAT dance squad.

Since she no longer worked there and had no idea she’d make the cut from 300 women trying out for the team, Rivera never told her supervisors at Richman Greer.

“The partners are HEAT season ticket-holders, so they figured it out. But I have gotten nothing but support from them,” Rivera said.

She also got the promise of a job after graduation and passing the Florida bar exam and was hired in 2009 at Richman Greer.

Now an associate at Richman Greer in the practice areas of commercial and complex litigation, and family law, 27-year-old Rivera is no longer on the dance team, but still stays involved with the HEAT dancers.

She donates about 10 to 15 hours a month assisting Janine Thompson, director of the Miami HEAT dancers, with coordinating the dancers on game days.

“On game day, we go nonstop from 5 p.m. to 10:30,” said Thompson. “Yoly (pronounced Jo-lee) is extremely helpful and so professional and so sweet at the same time. I have to say, Yoly is the one who has dedicated her time the most out of everyone. She has gone above and beyond.”

Thompson, who was an IT consultant when she was on the dance team, said a lot of dancers are in school or just starting careers, including one dancer in medical school.

heat2In looking for dancers, Rivera said, the HEAT wants to make sure the women have not only the right moves but the right stuff for representing the team in the community at promotional and charity events.

During the interview process, Rivera recalls, she was asked why she thought she could be a positive role model.

“My response was: ‘I am a young lady of character. Not only can I feel I can serve the team, I can show diversity. I am pursuing my degree in law.’ We are not just young ladies who go out on a stage and shake our behinds. We are actually intellectual.”

Dancing since age 4, Rivera grew up in St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Every summer since she was 11, she’d receive scholarships to train at prestigious Joffrey Ballet School in New York, Ballet Concierto de Puerto Rico in San Juan, and at the School of Boca Ballet Theatre.

Not only a classical ballerina dancing en pointe on the tips of her toes, she trained in jazz and hip-hop dance, too, and considers Janet Jackson her dance icon.

While receiving her undergraduate degree in public communications at American University in Washington, D.C., she minored in dance. Her dream to be a professional dancer took her to New York, until she realized how difficult it is to make ends meet in the big city on a dancer’s paycheck and her family so far away.

Rivera wondered what else she could do to make a good living that would incorporate her love for dance, and decided to go to law school, where she wrote an article titled: “Dance and Copyright: Twirling Around the Issues of Statutory Protection for Choreography,” and dreamed of representing dancers in court one day.

Dancing for the HEAT was a part-time job with full-time responsibilities, she said.

“At first, it was so overwhelming dancing in front of such a large audience,” Rivera said.

“I enjoyed doing what I love to do, which is dancing. After a while, it became so easy. Our role was to entertain the audience. I had such an amazing experience as a Miami HEAT dancer. The message I would like to get across is these girls who sacrifice their time are extremely dedicated. It’s a job we take very seriously.”

While her colleagues at Richman Greer have been “extremely supportive with this decision,” Rivera acknowledged everyone doesn’t think it’s dignified to be a scantily clad dancer in tail-shaking routines. But to Rivera, it is an art form and vehicle for self-expression.

“I am aware that other attorneys are not happy with that decision. When people see dancers for the first time, and see the costumes they wear, they automatically, just being natural human beings, think of it as degrading,” Rivera said. “There is a negative stigma about dancers from the NBA. It’s very sad. My goal in this whole thing is to be one of the individuals able to take that stigma away.”

[Yolyvee at Heat.com]

[Cheerleaders/Dancers who are also lawyers]

Whadya Think? Orlando Predators Prowlers Uniform Poll

Here’s what the Prowlers wore for their pre-game performance.

The uniform for the first half.

And the uniform for the second half.

[Prowlers Gallery]

Which is your favorite Prowlers Uniform?
Pre-game Uniform
1st Half Uniform
2nd Half Uniform
Love them all!
pollcode.com free polls

Results from our last poll:






Sixers Dancers are Dance Club Divas

Kate and Amber-Joi show off their moves:

[Dance Club Divas]

Billie O’Hara and the Florida Tuskers Cheerleader Auditions

billie-pic-1Billie O’Hara is the Cheer and Dance Development Director for the UFL as well as the Director of the Florida Tusker Cheerleaders. A former Orlando Magic Dancer, O’Hara has more than 20 years of experience in dance as a performer, instructor and director. A native of Jacksonville, Fla., O’Hara began her formal dance training in 1989. She attended several prestigious dance schools, including the Tremaine Dance Center in Hollywood, Calif. and Douglas Anderson School of the Performing Arts, where she was accepted into the All American College Program at Walt Disney World.

In addition to dancing for the Orlando Magic for four years, she also danced professionally for the Orlando Predators (Arena Football League). She served as a back-up dancer and choreographer for former Backstreet Boys member Phoenix Stone. O’Hara has served on the faculty of the Dance Conservatory of Orlando and Academy of Performing Arts.


[Complete Tuskers Cheerleader Audition Info]

Mallory Mills is the New Director of the Mavs Dancers


Congratulations to Mallory Mills who is taking over as the Director of the Dallas Mavericks Dancers. Mallory is a seven-year veteran of the Mavs Dancers and represented her squad on the 2007 NBA All-Star Dance Team.

Maryland Lady Maniacs

I can’t be everywhere. So back on May 8th while I was covering another event, I had our latest contributor, Randy, visit the Cole Fieldhouse at the University of Maryland, College Park. That night the IFL Maryland Maniacs hosted the Richmond Revolution. Here are some of Randy’s photos of the Maniacs Dance Team, the Lady Maniacs.


The Lady Maniacs are under the direction of Charita White. Charita served in Iraq with the Army Reserves, works for the Pentagon and is a member of an NFL promotional squad.

Continue reading Maryland Lady Maniacs

Miss Wisconsin USA

When the Miss USA Pageant aired a couple of weeks ago we neglected to mention that Miss Wisconsin USA 2010 Courtney Lopez is a member of the Milwaukee Brewers Diamond Dancers. Courtney was also Miss Wisconsin Teen USA 2008.


[Milwaukee Brewers Diamond Dancers]

[Miss Wisconsin USA]

Kim Diaz and the Las Vegas Locomotives Cheerleaders Auditions

kimdiazLas Vegas Locomotives Cheerleader Cheerleader Director Kim Diaz is a central Florida native who  relocated to Las Vegas tw0 years ago with her husband Marco and 2-year old son Nathan. She’s also expecting a little girl, Alissa, in 3 weeks. Yes, just three days after Locomotives Cheerleaders Finals!

Kim danced throughout college for UCF football and basketball teams while spending her summers as a Dance Instructor for Universal Dance Association traveling the Southeast teaching dance to high schools and colleges. She then went on to dance for the NBA Orlando Magic as well as the AFL Orlando Predators.

Kim tells us, “In the last month I have been very excited about my new position as Director for the Las Vegas Locomotives Cheer and Dance Team. This is a wonderful opportunity for Dancers in Vegas to experience the thrill and enjoyment working with a professional sports team. To me what makes a great cheerleader and dancer is enthusiasm, not only for your performance but for supporting your team and conveying that support that to fans and the community not just when in uniform but whenever out in public.”


[Locomotives Cheerleaders Registration]

Playoffs? Playoffs?! Nope, But Pacemates Will Make the Most of a Little Extra Time

There was a recent time when the events surrounding the Indianapolis 500 also were augmented by the Indiana Pacers still in the thick of NBA playoffs come Memorial Day weekend.  In those days, the crowd would get loud at the 500 Festival Parade, on the Saturday of the long weekend, when the Pacemates dance squad would pass by.  Enthusiasm for the team and the ability of the Pacemates to pump up the volume added to the excitement along the parade route.
But these days, the Pacers are in NBA limbo land: not good enough to make the playoffs and winning enough to have a no real shot at the draft lottery’s top prize.  This limbo can last a long time.  Season after season.  I have lived through it before. 
So during one of the final games of the year in April, I wondered what the busy Pacemates would do with the extra time afforded by a lack of playoff games.
Meredith and Brittany greet fans as they enter Conseco Fieldhouse

Meredith and Brittany greet fans as they enter Conseco Fieldhouse

Fans entering Conseco Fieldhouse were greeted by Meredith and Brittany who handed out programs.  Appropriately, the program cover featured the best performers in the organization, the Pacemates!
Now that's a program!

Now that's a program!

In the upper concourse, Jessica R and Jarin were signing the same photo (in souvenir card form) that graced the cover of program.   I asked Jessica what she would do with the extra time that no playoffs would provide.  Jessica laughed and responded, “It will be from one extreme to the other.  It will be short though, because we have auditions in July.  We’ll be right back into it before too long.  Just a little break, but I’ll take advantage of it. I am going to sleep, I know that.” 
Jessica R and Jarin

Jessica R and Jarin


Down near the club area “Legends” which is sponsored by Brighthouse, also the sponsor of the Pacemates, Tamara and Elizabeth met with fans.  Tamara shared with us all that this was Elizabeth’s birthday, and Elizabeth seemed thrilled about the sharing of this information. 


Tamara is about as fun and joyous as you can get.  If there is a little kid in sight range, Tamara will be making that child smile and giggle soon enough. I asked Tamara what she would do with the off season time, and she replied, “Some of the girls on the squad and I have some exciting trips planned.  We have a break, but the time is going to pass faster than you know it!  It’s definitely a break that we need, but once we get it, we are going to be ready to start right back up.”


On the main concourse, Ashley and Jessica L also were signing the souvenir cards.  It didn’t sound like the extra time would make much difference in their busy schedules.  “We will work and go to school,” they said, with an inflection that indicated busy days remained ahead as semesters wind down. 
Ashley and Jessica L

Ashley and Jessica L

Pulling double and triple duty with cheering, work and school is one thing, but on this game night, Shea would be pulling double duty as both a Pacemate and the on-court emcee during game breaks.  Shea not only performs these tasks, but also drives all the way from Ohio to be one of the Pacemates!  For those of you not from ’round here, that is over an hour drive (through some of the most exciting scenery, corn, you’ll ever see, too).   And this part of Indiana also gets its share of ice on the roads during the winter months, so a big THANK YOU to Shea for all the work and effort she puts into being on the squad and making the game breaks entertaining!
Shea I: The Pacemate

Shea I: The Pacemate

Shea II: Game emcee

Shea II: Game emcee

Jarin's fancy footwork avoids mascot Boomer's flag antics

Jarin's fancy footwork avoids mascot Boomer's flag antics

Tamara and Elizabeth amongst one of their many young fans

Tamara and Elizabeth amongst one of their many young fans

All of the Pacemates did their typical wonderful job, both greeting fans as gates opened to performing on the court, but the my Center Court Standout of the Game (drum roll please) is the amazing Tamara!  This Purdue grad is known as “Teyonce” to the rest of the squad because, according to Captain Melanie Tamara “can dance and sing just like the diva Beyonce!! Tamara is one of our best hip hop dancers on the team. She is known to serenade us at the games in the locker room and at practice as well. Teyonce can light up a room once she enters it!!” 
No doubt, Tamara is a joy to behold as a fan also!  Tamara also is head coach of the dance team at local Marian College.  So Tamara, and other Pacemates, enjoy this time off, recharge, and be back for try-outs in July!!  We need one star-laden team to see during basketball season!! 

Orlando Predators Prowlers

Last Friday I was in Orlando for the where the Orlando Predators hosted the Milwaukee Iron. It was a real nail-biter with three touchdowns scored in the last minute of play, including the game winner for Orlando with just three seconds left to play.


But exciting football wasn’t the purpose of my trip. The Predators Dance Team, The Prowlers were the reason I was there.

An actual stage was brought out for the pre-game performance.



Alexis and Giselle

Co-captain Roxanne

Prowlers with the Orlando All-Stars. The All-Stars were part of the half-time entertainment.




[Prowlers Gallery]

[Prowlers Website]

Vikings Cheerleaders Visit MP’s at Camp Victory Iraq

From NorthShoreJournal.org:

Minnesota Vikings Cheerleaders visit Soldiers assigned to the kennels of 501st Military Police Company, 1st Armored Division, at Camp Victory, May 20. The Cheerleaders took time to talk to service members and take photos with them to help build morale and lift their spirits. They also participated in a military working dog demonstration, which included take-down techniques and obedience skills. Photo by Sgt. Phillip Valentine.

Minnesota Vikings Cheerleader and Mahtomedi, Minn., native Peyton visits Gero, a German shepherd assigned to 501st Military Police Company, 1st Armored Division, at Camp Victory, May 20. This is Wight’s first visit to Iraq but said she has visited Soldiers in Afghanistan in the past. Photo by Sgt. Phillip Valentine.

Minnesota Vikings Cheerleader Meghan, a St. Cloud, Minn., native, tries on a Soldier’s equipment while visiting 501st Military Police Company, 1st Armored Division, at Camp Victory, May 20. Photo by Sgt. Phillip Valentine

Lissa, a Minnesota Vikings Cheerleader and Eagle River, Wis., native, tries on a Soldier’s body armor during a visit to Camp Victory, May 20. The cheerleaders toured the kennels of 501st Military Police Company to watch a K-9 demonstration, meet Soldiers, share stories and lift their spirits. Lissa has been with the Vikings for four years and said this is her second time in Iraq. She also said it has been special to see how Soldiers are doing, and she prays for their speedy return. Photo by Sgt. Phillip Valentine.

More from the Ben-Gals Final Audition

Click here for new photos on Bengals.com!

Work it, Teresha!