$templateURI = get_template_directory_uri(); $homeURL = get_home_url(); if ( isset($bfa_ata_preview) OR $bfa_ata['css_external'] == "Inline" OR ( isset($bfa_ata_debug) AND $bfa_ata['allow_debug'] == "Yes" ) ) { echo '

Kids receive school supplies from Cardinals players, cheerleaders

2010-backpacksThe Arizona Republic
July 31, 2010

Arizona Cardinals players and cheerleaders were in the West Valley passing out backpacks and school supplies to hundreds of area children as part of “Operation Backpack.”

It’s that time of year. West Valley schools open as early as Monday in the Glendale Elementary School District.

Children in Peoria Unified School District and Glendale Union High School District head back to classes on Aug. 9. In Deer Valley Unified School District, the first day of school is Aug. 16.

School children on July 24 lined up at Covenant International Church, 8807 N. 61st Ave., to pick out just the right supplies.

Hope Endures, a Glendale-based non-profit, has provided back-to-school supplies to families in need for 12 years.

They expected to pass out about 2,000 backpacks filled with supplies and 1,000 pairs of shoes and socks.

WCU alum uses dancing minor to become NFL cheerleader

taramullryanBy Brittney Burns
Staff Writer
July 29, 2010

With football season right around the corner, Panther fans are gearing up and anticipating a good season. Panther fan and Western Carolina University alumni, Tara Mull Ryan, isn’t just excited to watch the games, but is excited to start her fifth year as a Panther “TopCat” Cheerleader.

Ryan, who currently lives in Charlotte, graduated from Western in December of 2005 with a Bachelor’s degree in social work and a minor in dance. When asked if Ryan had any memorable professors she excitedly responded, “I LOVE this question! I have a lot of teachers that I still think about quite often, but there are two who I have also kept in touch with over the years.” Ryan demonstrated her appreciation and respect for Amy Dowling from the dance department and Jeanne Dulworth from the social work department. She said, “These two ladies were very influential in my education and helped push me to my potential and guide me to where I wanted to be. I really admire them for their passion and how they affect their students. I hope to stay in touch with them in the future!”

Before her success as a TopCat, Ryan made her dancing debut on the WCU dance team. She was a member of the dance team for four years and describes her experience as “an incredible time both for the friends I made, and also for what I learned about dance performance and commitment.” Not only was Ryan an impressive dancer, she also excelled in intramurals; she played co-ed intramural softball and won “all-campus champions” one year. Ryan gained leadership skills during her two years as a Resident Assistant for an all girls hall in the Walker dorms. She said she enjoyed getting to know the girls and staff each year and that she still talks about her experience as an RA to this day.

Aside from being a Carolina Panther Cheerleader, Ryan also works for Duke Energy; she works with technology for the corporate side of the company. She is with a team that is geared toward improving and upgrading internal applications as well as work with technology business managers to update and make changes whenever they are needed. As a TopCat cheerleader, Ryan has just started practicing for the 2010 season where she will take on the responsibility as line captain for the first time. One of her favorite aspects of working with the Panthers is having the opportunity to volunteer throughout the community as well as being able to interact with fans and increasing the Panther and TopCat fan base.

Even though Ryan didn’t major in a technology related field, she said, “my time and education at Western prepared me to go out into the professional world and prosper in a field that has endless opportunities for growth and learning.” She intends to someday return to the social work field and pursue a master’s degree. Ryan is thankful for the volunteer and community outreach opportunities she is exposed to through the Panthers because it “helps quench her desire to work with people and make a difference in the community.”

With all the changes that have occurred to our campus in the past few years, it’s understandable that the biggest change Ryan has seen is in the structure of the campus. She confessed, “I remember the first time I went back and I tried to take a road that had grass where two lanes used to be!” Helder, the dorm that Ryan stayed in her first two years and where she had her first roommate, is no longer standing and has been replaced with the new dining hall. She said the changes are “bittersweet” and is anxious to see what the campus is going to look like when everything is finished. She said, “regardless of the changes, I hope the dynamic of WCU is the same as it always has been!”

Aside from wanting to return to social work in the future, Ryan wants to work with kids in some capacity because she enjoys the interaction and energy children have to offer; she wants to someday teach dance and said, “What way to enjoy doing what I love than to pass it on?”

Ryan has two pieces of advice to offer current students: first, “Enjoy your time as a student. Looking back, I wish I would have ‘enjoyed’ more classes rather than seeing it as ‘work
and second, if a Masters is a goal of yours, do it while you are still in ‘student mode’. After you have graduated and started working, if it is something you would like to do, do it while you can!”

Washington Stealth Name Boprey Bombshells Director; Auditions Set for August 28

jillianThe Stealth Bombshells, dance team of the 2010 National Lacrosse League Champion Washington Stealth, announced today that auditions for the 2011 squad will take place on August 28 at the Comcast Arena at Everett. The Stealth has also announced that Jillian Boprey will take the reigns as the director of the premiere dance team in professional lacrosse.

Boprey takes over the Bombshells director duties after spending last season as a member and co-choreographer of the dance team. For three seasons, Boprey was a member of the NBA’s Seattle Supersonics Dance Team. She also danced in the NBA Madness Tour in Japan and worked as Motion Capture Talent for EA Sports NBA Live 2009. She continues to work as a choreographer and instructor for Elite Performance Dance Camps and Kirkland Dance Center. Boprey assumes the director role following the departure of Sheena Shive, who was instrumental in developing the Bombshells into one of the NLL’s top dance teams in just its first year in Washington.

“The Stealth organization is indebted to Sheena for her hard work and professionalism in making the Bombshells a showcase dance team in the NLL,” said Stealth President David Takata. “From auditions through uniform design, choreography and game performances, Sheena has excelled at every opportunity and our fans noticed. We wish her well in her future endeavors.”

“Jillian has worked closely with Sheena and has a pedigree of professional experience that makes her the logical choice to direct the Bombshells for the 2011 season,” added Takata. “I have the greatest confidence that Jillian will prove her leadership and talent are worthy of the standards set by Sheena.”

The Bombshells auditions will be held at the Comcast Arena at Everett on August 28. Registration will begin at 11am with the auditions starting at 12pm. The Bombshells will also be holding a pre-audition workshop for interested women on August 18 from 7pm-9pm at the Seattle Epicenter.

“We had such a strong team last year and we are striving for the Stealth to continue its reputation as not only the best lacrosse team in the league, but also the best dance team,” said Boprey. “With Bombshell auditions right around the corner, I am so excited to see the talent and potential at the Comcast Arena on August 28th. We had such a positive response from the community in our inaugural season and our second time around is going to be even better.”
For more information on the Bombshells workshop and auditions, visit www.stealthlax.com or email Bombshells Director Jillian Boprey at jboprey@stealthlax.com.

Bucs cheerleader calendar

Tampa Bay Online
July 29, 2010

Jennifer Leigh (WFLA): “Summer is about to get much hotter literally and figuratively and Larry (off screen here) is about to get much happier. The Tampa Bay Buccaneer Cheerleaders are about to unveil their new swimsuit calendar. As Cloe Cabrera reports, this year’s calendar will add an extra splash with swimwear by a local designer. Check it out.”

Cloe (Tampa Tribune): “Think the Buccaneers are the only ones who know how to work up a sweat? Think again. The Bucs Cheerleaders are busy working out the final details of their upcoming swimsuit calendar. And if twelve months aren’t enough, this calendar gives you sixteen months of cheerleaders starting with this September 2010. You may wonder which lucky lady will land this year’s cover. Sorry, the Buccaneers guard that secret like a Cornerback covering a Receiver. Next year’s calendar will give double exposure, to the Buccaneers cheerleaders and to a Bay Area designer that created all of the swimwear. The Bucs drafted local designer Essence Flowers, who met with each squad member before establishing her running game.”

Essence: “I kind of sized up each girl, looking to see what their personal style was, and I asked certain questions about which type of suit they preferred. I had to make sure that they fit the needs of being remarkable, then being sexy, and
still carrying through the image of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.”

Cloe: “As far as this team is concerned. There were no flags on these designs.”

Cathy Boyd (Bucs Cheerleading Manager): “The quality was great. It was the right kind of style, kind of sexy, classy, NFL Cheerleader, girl next door, but still sexy kind of look.

Rochelle Williams (Bucs Cheerleader): “She did such a good job on really capturing all of our personalities and make something unique for each of us.

Lisa Banspach (Bucs Cheerleader): “I love it. I mean, I love the style and it’s actually a swimsuit that you can really wear out to the beach.”

Cloe: “And squad captain Jeni Somers says her throwback style scores extra points.

Jeni: “I like to think that I’m feminine and flirty and just girly-girl and I feel like the ruffles on it, with the corset, with the laces, totally fits my personality.”

Cloe: “I’m Cloe Cabrera for News Channel 8.”

Jennifer Leigh: “Yeah, there are girls that live next door to me, and they don’t look like that. The Buccaneer Cheerleaders will unveil their calendar and sign copies starting at 9:30 Saturday morning during Bucs training camp at One Buc Place. It’s unclear to me whether they’re going to be wearing swimsuits or not. The calendar will sell though for $15. Flowers can also custom make any of the swimwear pieces shown in the calendar. You can go to TBO online, keyword ‘Hot Pursuits’, for more info.”


Local designer suits Bucs cheerleaders’ calendar

Cloe Cabrera
The Tampa Tribune
May 20, 2010

TAMPA – Every year, the Tampa Bay Buccaneer cheerleaders make waves with their annual swimsuit calendar.

In 2011, they’ll add an extra splash with swimwear by a local designer.

The team tapped St. Petersburg designer Essence Flowers to create all of the swimsuits the cheerleaders will wear in next year’s calendar.

Flowers came up with a look for each of the women incorporating Buccaneer colors – red, white, black, pewter and orange – and the team’s logo.

The weeklong calendar shoot, which wrapped up Tuesday, features the cheerleaders posing on the beach at Longboat Key and Jewfish Island. The photographs were shot by Jorge Alvarez.

It’s the first time the Buccaneers have used a local designer for the photo shoot, said Cathy Boyd, cheerleading manager.

“We’ve always used our uniform designer or had a store sponsor us,” Boyd said. “(This year), we wanted to use our brand in the suits. And we wanted to use someone locally. We have so much talent right here in our own backyard; we really didn’t need to look anywhere else.”

Flowers launched her clothing line in 2005, then took the plunge last year into swimwear with RDE, Remarquable Designs by Essence Flowers.

Her swimwear celebrates women, their curves and shapes, she said, and she designs for every mood and occasion.

Flowers met one-on-one with the cheerleaders to talk about swimwear likes and dislikes, and to customize the suits to their needs.

“I wanted the team to look cohesive, but at the same time be different,” Flowers said. “I wanted to design suits that were classy, sexy and memorable. I wanted to keep with the theme of the Buccaneers, but I didn’t want to make them out to be characters. I wanted them to look like cheerleaders. And I wanted them to like their suits.”

Most are two-piece suits; but there are also a few monokinis and one-pieces with plunging necklines.

Flowers said she finished most of the looks in about a week, though a few of them were completed just hours before the shoot began.

“That’s just me,” Flowers said with a laugh. “Sometimes I get inspired up until the end.”

One of Flowers’ favorite suits, worn by veteran cheerleader Jennifer Summers, is a throw-back-inspired, two-piece with an orange corseted top featuring the number 12 (Doug Williams’ old number) and the orange and red Bucco Bruce holding a knife in his mouth.

“Some of the girls are sexier than others,” Flowers said. “And some of them wanted to be a little more covered up. I got a feel for what they wanted, and that’s what I tried to do. They were easy (to design for) because they’re all in shape.”

Flowers can custom make any of the swimwear pieces shown in the calendar. Prices start at $90.

Ice Crew Candidates Prepare for Saturday’s Tryout

2010-pens-audition-prep_1By Jason Seidling
Pittsburgh Penguins

Fifty potential female candidates for the Penguins’ first-ever Ice Crew descended upon the Penguins’ practice facility at Southpointe on Wednesday night as Ice Crew coordinator Laura Spencer hosted the first of two practice skating sessions leading up to this weekend’s tryouts.

Spencer, a Pittsburgh native who spent two seasons with the Dallas Stars Ice Girls team, ran the girls through a one-hour practice session which was designed to mirror what the ladies should expect when they arrive for Saturday’s tryout.

“I would say that they got a good understanding of what we are looking for in a female Ice Crew team member,” Spencer said. “It takes a lot more than just skating well. It’s how you present yourself on the ice and how you carry yourself.

“Saturday will be very similar to what the girls saw on Wednesday. On Saturday the girls will audition by performing skating drills that showcase their speed, agility and ability to stop quickly. Sunday is going to be more focused on the on-ice positions. There are six on-ice positions (Snow Plow 1 and 2, Benches, Bucket and Long and Short Goal), and we are going to be performing 2-3 of those.”

2010-pens-audition-prep_2Considering the excitement and energy level from the girls who attended on Wednesday, Spencer is excited with the group she has to work with.
“I was extremely pleased with the large turnout we had Wednesday night,” Spencer said. “Not only because of the large turnout we had, but also because of the talent level we had there.”

Spencer will have a second chance to work out potential candidates prior to Saturday’s tryout when another group of potential team members arrives for a second prep class on Friday night. In total, 88 of the roughly 160 girls expected to try out will have the chance to experience one of the instructional sessions. Spencer had to cut off the number of girls at 88 because of the high interest level among the girls.

“Due to the great interest in the Ice Crew I had to shut the prep class off at 88 girls,” Spencer said. “I wanted the classes to be helpful and productive.”

Things certainly figure to get pretty crazy on Saturday morning when Spencer needs to take the 160 girls trying out and then pare that number down to a more manageable figure. To help her with that process, she will have a handful of talent evaluators on hand, including a former NHL Ice Girl.

While it won’t be easy for Spencer to narrow down the list, which includes several candidates with impressive resumes, she does have a checklist of criteria she will follow to help herself out.

“Speed would definitely be the first criteria we are looking for,” Spencer said. “We only have two minutes to clean the ice. You also need agility because you never know when a player or referee is going to stop right in front of you so you have to be able to account for those things. Finally, the personality that they are going to bring to the ice is going to be very important.”

2010-pens-audition-prep_3Wednesday night’s practice, which included a small crowd in the stands and sports bar overlooking the ice, began with Spencer watching each of the girls skate and then dividing them up into two groups at opposite ends of the ice.

Group 1, which was a little smaller than the second group, spent most of the hour working on their shoveling and figure skating skills.

Because removing excess snow from the ice during television timeouts is going to be among the girl’s most important duties, Spencer spent more time focusing on the finer points of snow removal. Towards the end Spencer began going over more figure skating techniques, as another function of the Ice Crew squad will be to entertain fans during the intermissions.

“When we do the TV timeouts, it is strictly the on-ice positions,” Spencer said. “When we go out there during the intermissions I want them showing off and showcasing their talent.”

At the opposite end of the rink a larger group of girls focused more on skating and stopping techniques. Many of these girls were taking advantage of the hour-long practice to get adjusted to the hockey skates that the Ice Crew will wear after growing up on figure sktates.

Once both ends finished working on their specific drills, Spencer brought the entire group back together at center ice for a five-minute review session that encompassed everything the girls learned. After a brief pep talk from Spencer, the girls then called it a night as they prepare for what should be a fun and demanding tryout on Saturday morning.

Scenes from Energee! auditions

The Milwaukee Bucks are still in the process of choosing their 2010-11 Energee! Dance Team. In the meantime, they’ve posted new photos from the callbacks. Click here to see who advanced to the second day of tryouts!

Scenes from Laker Girl Auditions

2010 Laker Girl auditions are over! While we wait (on pins and needles) to find out who made the team, check out these photos from this year’s tryouts! Click here for photos from the open call. Click here for photos from finals.

Boston Cannons Dance Team

Another hot and humid Saturday, this time at Harvard Stadium where the marvelous ladies of the Boston Cannons Dance Team cheered their team on to victory over the visiting Toronto Nationals.

This is Karen’s fifth season with the Cannons (she started when the team still played at Boston University) and third as Director. She graduated from Providence College with a degree in Marketing. Karen works as an event planner putting IT professionals, experts and vendors together. You may also recognize her from the Boston Blazers Sparks Dance Team (indoor lacrosse), where she served as Captain last season.

Jennifer has a Masters from the Harvard School of Public Health and works as a Clinical Research Finance Manager. She’s also the Director of the Sparks Dance Team. Yes, there are quite a few dancers on both squads.

Continue reading Boston Cannons Dance Team

Former NFL/NBA Dancer Publishes Book Half-Time Highlights


Dance studio and retail owner, Ashley Worrell, published her book, Half-Time Highlights: A Guide to Dancing in the NBA/NFL in April 2010. A native of Kansas City, and a graduate of Missouri Western State University, Ashley has been dancing since the age of three. Her studies have included tap, ballet, jazz, hip hop, drill/pom, and social/partner dancing. After graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in Recreation Administration with an emphasis in Commercial/Private Business, she moved to Dallas to pursue training and a career in dance. Her professional experience includes dancing for NBA teams, such as the Dallas Mavericks and the San Antonio Spurs, as well as her hometown NFL team, the Kansas City Chiefs. Now that she has been a dance studio owner for several years, her goal was to publish a reference guide for dancers wanting to dance in the NBA and NFL. “When I began the audition process, I was clueless. At the time, there was nothing to reference or help me along the journey. I hope this book will help others realize the dedication it takes to dance at that level and motivate them to achieve their goals.”


For more information on Half-Time Highlights, visit Half-TimeHighlights.com

Also available at Amazon.com.

KCD Team Announcement Party at the Empire Hotel Rooftop

Congratulations to the 2010-11 Knicks City Dancers! The new squad was unveiled last week at a party at the Empire Hotel.

Plenty of photos at the KCD’s website.

[Knicks City Dancers Announcement Party]

Worth The Price of Admission: The Inland Empire 66ers Dance Team

From a fan’s perspective, major league sports organizations can be impersonal.  For these teams, the relationship with their fans is strictly a business affair and one that can be operated from a healthy distance.  There are boundaries that are not crossed and sometimes you feel like their interest in you is only for your financial support.  You don’t get that warm and fuzzy feeling and sometimes you feel like you are only a number to them…your customer number, to be precise.

Now, I am not criticizing them because I understand it is a business and big business at that.  And with an organization at that level, you really can’t allow that closeness with the fans for obvious reasons.  My only point in bringing this up is to say that my experience in going to an Inland Empire 66ers game is the complete opposite.

I have been out to Arrowhead Credit Union Park three times to visit the Inland Empire 66ers and I can honestly say that as a fan, you do feel a sense of community with this team.  Every employee that I have met is really nice and you do get that warm and fuzzy feeling with this organization.  Perhaps it is in the nature of minor league sports that they have to get closer to their fan base.  Or perhaps it’s just the people.  I don’t know.  But every time I come out to visit the Inland Empire 66ers, I have a great time.

And the fact that the 66ers have a hot looking dance team is a plus.  The Inland Empire 66ers Dance Team is definitely worth the price of admission.





The last time I was out here, the 66ers Dance Team was performing in 50’s style hoops skirts for a special promotional night and that made a lasting impression on our readers.  On Friday and Saturday, I got to spend some time with them in more conventional attire and all I can say is WOW!

Continue reading Worth The Price of Admission: The Inland Empire 66ers Dance Team

2010-11 Arizona Cardinals Cheerleaders

Profiles and individual photos of this year’s team have been posted on the Cards’ website. Click here to go there now.


More Scenes from Heat Dancer Auditions

MiamiHeat.com has tons of new photos from this year’s open call auditions. I have to hand it to those Miami girls. They really know how to grab your attention! Click here to go there now.

KiXX Dance Team Auditions

Last Thursday, Temple University was the site of the 2010-11 Philadelphia KiXX Dance Team Auditions

Jillian Gonzales (center) is back for her third season as Director of the KiXX Dance Team. She was assisted at auditions by Kirstyn (left, former KiXX and Sixers Dancer) and Jessica (former Grizzlies and Sixers Dancer).

Veteran Wendy was a redhead last season.
Continue reading KiXX Dance Team Auditions