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Behind the Scenes at the Anaheim Bolts Dancers Photo Shoot

The Anaheim Bolts are one of the newest teams in the PASL. The PASL season starts at the end of the month, and the dance team has a lot to accomplish before then. High up on the priority list: team photo. They’ve got to have a photo to autograph and hand out to fans, so this is one item of business that needs to be handled ASAP. With that in mind, the Bolts Dancers gathered together early one day last month for the team’s first photo shoot. Team Director Taylor Hooks had an ambitious plan for the day: uniforms in the morning and swimsuits in the afternoon. With 15 dancers to prep and primp, they had their work cut out for them.

The morning shoot took place at a studio in San Clemente (between Los Angeles and San Diego.) By the time I arrived there, most of the hair and makeup was done and they were about ready to begin the photography. (Perfect timing on my part, if I do say so myself.) Each dancer was to be photographed in two outfits, the dance costume, and a Bolts t-shirt.

This was also a reunion of sorts, as five members of the 2007-08 Clippers Spirit Dance Team were in the mix. It was a nostalgia moment for me, since that year’s team was the first team I ever got to cover in person. (Thank you Jessie Christensen!) It’s always awesome to see what the girls have been up to since then. Taylor and Lynae are the Director and Assistant Director of the Bolts Dancers, respectively. Alex is a member of the team. Kelley, a professional make up artist, and Harmony, a professional hair stylist were part of the team responsible for beautifying the dancers. Ahhh, memories…

Back in the day: Taylor, Lynae, Alex, Kelley, and Harmony

The first thing that happens at any photo shoot is the waiting. You get your makeup done, and wait. You get your hair done, and wait. You put your outfit on, and wait some more.

Alex, Jolene, and Amber

Heather and Myra


Lynae customizes Elizabeth’s giant t-shirt

One thing I have learned over the past few years is that photo shoots are a unique and special kind of torture for dancers. On the one hand, they know they’re going to be wearing little bitty outfits, so they don’t want to eat anything. On the other hand, there is a lot of waiting around. It’s always a looooong day. And what’s the most common activity for the trapped and the bored? Eating. They resist and resist.

Eventually Amber broke down and had a rice cake.

Mmmmm….peanut butter. Between the 15 of them, I think they managed to polish off a whole jar of the stuff.

Harmony makes sure everyone’s hair is on point.

Kelley does a quick touch up on Alex

Christine, Alex, and Elizabeth (That doesn’t even look like the same shirt, does it?)

Amber and Lauren in their new uniforms

Taylor and the photographer fix Christine’s hair

Asst Director Lynae

Laura works it

Lauren strikes a pose

The fan kept blowing Mekayla’s skirt up…so Taylor had to tape it down with masking tape.

Careful peeling that off…




Around 1pm we jumped into our cars and drove to a house in Coto de Caza for the swimsuit shoot. Coto is a huge, gated, master planned community in the OC. If you’ve ever watched “The Real Housewives of Orange County,” this is the “Coto” they’re always talking about. As in “All the right people live in Coto” blah blah blah. (I only watched the first season. Hopefully they’re over themselves by now.)

I’m not entirely clear on how this house wound up being the location for the shoot. I think the homeowners were friends of the photographer, or something like that. Anyway, nice place! A great setting for the team’s calendar.

All of the shooting was done in the back yard, around the pool and outdoor barbecue.

Taylor explains the plain of attack

For the most part, everyone’s makeup was still looking good from the morning. All the makeup artists had to do was a little touch up.

Ashley gets a little more powder

The photographer, who has a swimwear company, provided swimsuits in the Bolts team colors for the shoot.

The blue team: Christine, Heather, Elizabeth, Myra, Mekayla, Alex, Danielle, and Laura

The yellow team: Amber, Lauren, Sarah, Kaylee, Ashley, Jolene, and Stephanie

While the girls were changing, Taylor and Lynae worked out the various locations around the property. They needed at least 12 setups, plus a location for the cover. There was an interesting rock feature behind the pool, that looked like a good spot for the group shot.

Taylor tries to figure out if they can fit 15 girls on there without anyone falling into the pool.
I’m thinking 10 girls, max. I hope everyone can swim.

Once all the girls were ready, Taylor gave everyone a once-over to make sure the whole look worked.

Between you and me, those were some tiny little suits. They were ruched in the back and everyone’s buns got a little more sun than they expected. (You’ll have to take my word for that, as there are no booty shots in this collection.)

When everything was ready, Taylor picked out the first few girls, and the shooting began.

Elizabeth, Amber, and Laura. I don’t think you’ll see this shot in the calendar. There was a lot of mix and match going on. I think in the end there will be a photo of Amber with Heather in this location, but Elizabeth and Laura were pulled into other setups.

Taylor had Elizabeth hop up next to the built in barbecue

Danielle’s background was really pretty, but I bet it was no party, kneeling on that wall.

Kaylee’s suit looked really great with her coloring

I don’t think Myra ever stands still for more than 5 minutes at a time, so this was a rare shot.

Lauren and Christine were in the jacuzzi for their shot. The light falling on them made the shot really pretty. I can’t wait to see how it turned out.

Laura and Sarah

I mentioned that there was a lot of waiting in the morning, right?
Well ditto for the afternoon. Luckily, entertainment arrived in the form of Stanko, the homeowner’s dog. A big sweetheart of a Boxer, looking to make new friends.

Stanko proceeded to make the rounds, sniffing everyone and their possessions thoroughly. He wandered into a couple of the shots, but that was an accident. See, Stanko thinks if you’re looking at him, it must be because you want to pet him, so of course he’s going to come over and make himself available for a good scratch behind the ears.

In his world “Stanko, get out out of there!” translates roughly into “Please let me rub your belly.”

Just as “Hi Stanko” means “Come sit on my lap”

Stanko isn’t familiar with the concept of “personal space”

It wasn’t until Myra pulled out some food that we discovered Stanko does in fact know how to sit and lie down.

It was just an orange, but his eyes were locked on it like it was Filet Mignon.
(I just think his butt looks funny in this picture)

The girls dealt with the waiting in different ways…

Jolene and Stephanie

Sarah and Kaylee

Sarah and Laura

Like I said, she doesn’t do a lot of standing still.

Some shoots were easier than others

I bet Stephanie was thinking “Hey, this is no sweat”…

…until they pulled her out of the water and told her to lie down on her back and lift up like that. And then hooooooold it. Stephanie definitely wins the prize for most uncomfortable shoot of the day.She didn’t complain though. Possibly because she has both abs and buns of steel.

Once all of the individual/duo/trio shots were done, it was time for the all-terrain portion of the shoot: the cover.

Taylor explained what she wanted the girls to do. They looked at her. They looked at the rocks. They looked at her again. They looked back at the rocks. Everyone’s thought bubble was “You’re kidding, right?”

Plenty of trepidation, but no complaints. What a bunch of troopers.

It was a little tense for a while. Clearly there weren’t enough good-sized, perfectly flat spots for sitting. Some people were going to be in awkward and/or precarious positions.

It took some finessing to get everyone in place. Once everyone was in place, Taylor started moving peple around so the yellow and blue suits were evenly distributed. I had my eye on a few of the girls as the ones mostly like to take a swim. The hair and makeup artists were long gone, so if anyone fell in the pool, it would NOT be a good thing.

I thought for sure either Alex (Blonde in blue in the front row) or Amber (Blonde in yellow on the far right) would fall in.The reason you only see one of Amber’s arms is because she is because her other hand had a death grip on Stephanie. In between takes, Amber was clinging to that rock like a life raft. I don’t even know how Alex got into her spot, just that it took a lot of baby steps to get there.

Once they got a few good shots for the cover, they did a few silly ones.

Go Bolts!

And then they carefully…ever so carefully, climbed down, one by one. At that point, I was kind of hoping that someone would fall in, but nope.

The shoot concluded like most of these shoots do – with FOOD. The girls had been day dreaming about El Torito all afternoon, and they wasted no time packing up and heading to the restaurant. I feel bad for not calling ahead to tell the staff to throw the nachos on the table and get the heck out of the way.

In all, they managed to accomplish everything Taylor had planned for the day. I was pretty impressed. I know I couldn’t have pulled it off.

From what I understand the calendar is at the printers right now.Hopefully we’ll see the finished product soon. In the meantime, you can click here to check out the rest of my photos from the day, and here’s a little sneak preview:


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