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Atlanta Falcons Cheerleader Auditions Underway

Hundreds Audition for 2012 Cheerleaders
Jay Adams
April 29, 2012

More than 200 of Atlanta’s best and most beautiful ladies turned out for the preliminary rounds of the 2012 Atlanta Falcons Cheerleaders auditions Sunday morning.

Facing two rounds of cuts, about 270 ladies learned a portion of a routine and then performed in groups of six in front of a panel of judges, including the AJC’s D. Orlando Ledbetter and 790 The Zone’s John Michaels. Oh, and me.

The large group was reduced by about half before learning more of the routine and stepping in front of the judges once again. The semi-finalists either became finalists or were left looking ahead to next year’s auditions.

The 65 finalists chosen from Sunday’s auditions will join Atlanta Falcons Cheerleaders veterans for final auditions Thursday night. Cheerleaders who were with the team last year and plan on returning automatically get a bye into the final auditions.

AtlantaFalcons.com will have live streaming coverage of the finals Thursday night. Check back during the week for more details.

For now, here’s a photo gallery from today’s auditions.
(Note: only the first 3 pages are from this year’s auditions. The rest of it is photos from last year’s tryouts)

Scenes from MDC Prelims

Click here to check out some photos on Flickr.

Video: Sea Gals Semi-Finals

Click here to watch the video, and don’t forget, the finals will be broadcast online at 5pm (PST) on Sunday!

File this Under “Never gonna happen in the US of A”

Chinese airport uses cheerleaders to soothe stranded passengers

While some Chinese travelers storm the tarmac when flights get delayed, others might wish their flights never take off — assuming they’re flying from the northeast China city of Dalian.

To entertain waiting passengers, Dalian International Airport recently recruited a squad of cheerleaders to perform kicks, jumps and splits in the airport’s main hall.

During massive fog-related delays in Dalian last week, the cheerleaders’ pom-pom routines “soothed emotion and alleviated fatigue” for more than 5,000 stranded flyers, according to the Dalian Evening News.

The cheerleading show is part of the airport’s effort to “bring more convenience to passengers in the summer-autumn air season,” said Zhen Qun (郑群), an airport official.

It’s also a way for the Dalian airport to “demonstrate spirit and shoulder social responsibility,” according to an airport press release.

The airport has launched a series of other innovative services, including free physical checkups and instant weather and flight updates by text message.

Zhen did not discuss the daily schedule of cheerleader shows, but the airport has staged at least one performance every day in the past week, each lasting two to three hours, with breaks.

“The cheerleaders are enrolled in different colleges in Dalian. We hire them on a work-for-study program,” added Zhen. “The performance is free of charge for passengers.”

That’s good, because we’re not sure we’d pay to see them, anyway.

Dalian International Airport (website in simplified Chinese) is the biggest airport in northeastern China and the fourth busiest in China (by international passengers). The hub handled more than 12 million passengers in 2011.

Amid a current boom in aviation in China, flight delays are becoming a major sticking point for travelers in the country.

Poor weather, restricted military airspace and logistical issues regularly play havoc with airline schedules.

Statistics from the Civil Aviation Administration of China had almost one in four flights suffering delays last year. However, that only measures the time a plane’s doors are closed, not when the aircraft actually took off.

2012-13 Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders

The 2012-13 Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders were selected at the Dolphins Fin Fest on Saturday at Sun Life Stadium.

The 2012-13 Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders were selected at the Dolphins Fin Fest on Saturday at Sun Life Stadium.

The new squad makes an appearance on the field stage at Sun Life Stadium.

The new squad makes an appearance on the field stage at Sun Life Stadium.

Bloomington Edge Dancer Rachel lives, and gives, a life of music

Rachel dances on the basketball court for the Central Illinois Drive Dance Team

As a musical director at an elementary school, Rachel utilizes the “Orff Schulwerk” method, which combines music, movement, drama, and speech into lessons that are similar to a child’s world of play. Rachel not only teaches this unified view of arts and life, she lives life with an “Orff Schulwerk” approach! With a degree in voice, playing guitar and piano, and having lead roles in plays, Rachel has added dancing for the IFL Bloomington Edge and PBL Central Illinois Drive Dance Teams to complete her own life of music. Singing, dancing, acting, teaching, and being a wife and mom to a little boy seem like way enough, but luckily for Bloomington’s indoor football and basketball fans, Rachel also takes her talents to pro cheer/dance. Rachel shared with UltimateCheerleaders parts of her musical life’s journey, including how performing in a play staged next to a zoo can provide unexpected sensory experiences, and why you might want to give her a call if you are planning a wedding.

Rachel is an Illinois native, as she recalls, “I grew up out in the country about forty-five minutes from the Bloomington area, in a small town called Fairbury. We had livestock when I was a kid, so I spent a lot of time out playing in the barn and with the animals.”

The animals probably heard some singing along the way, as music surrounded much of Rachel’s young life, as she remembers, “My mom plays the piano for church and my aunt sings with a small women’s group, as well as plays the piano. My mom worked Saturdays when I was growing up, so we used to go down to my grandma’s. She had a piano, so I would get out my mom’s and aunt’s old piano books and give little concerts in my grandma’s living room. I guess I was a self-inspired musician. The piano always interested me, the same with singing. I didn’t really go any further with singing until I was in Junior High. Then I joined chorus and did solo & ensemble. I think that was when my interest went more towards singing.”

While she was growing up, Rachel’s family dealt with the challenges of a caring for a loved one that required extensive attention. “I had one other sibling, Megan, who was born with a rare genetic disorder,” Rachel explains. “She was pretty much an infant her entire life. She could never walk or talk or do much on her own. In a sense, I was an only child, not that I didn’t have a sibling, but I never was able to do the things that most siblings get to do because her of disability. My parents spent much of their time taking care of my sister. My parents both loved me and I think that much of my independence as an adult comes from that experience as a child. She passed away when I was in eighth grade.”

But music provided Rachel an outlet for performance and creativity, and the life lessons to learn from mistakes, for instance in her first public singing performance. “In seventh grade I performed ‘Baby Mine’ from ‘Dumbo’ at Solo & Ensemble. I messed up the words and ended up getting a second place. I was really mad at myself for doing that. I don’t think I ever messed up any words after that.”

Rachel’s singing continued as she participated in various groups during high school in addition to her church choir. Rachel studied at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, and sang with the University Singers, University Choir, and Women’s Glee Club, prior to graduating with a bachelor’s degree in vocal music education.

Rachel’s musical talents also include playing piano and guitar, and applying her singing talents to the stage. “I took piano lessons starting in second or third grade,” explains Rachel. “I am an adequate piano player, but I guess my real passion is for singing. I did five musicals when I was in school: ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat,’ a dancer in ‘Little Shop of Horrors,’ Marty in ‘Grease,’ Sprintze in ‘Fiddler on the Roof,’ and my senior year, I was the Evil Step Mother in ‘Cinderella.’ I never really had any major rolls until I was an adult.”

“After college I was Peter Pan in ‘Peter Pan,’ Maria in ‘West Side Story,’ and Mrs. MacAfee in ‘Bye Bye Birdie,’” Rachel continues. “The funny part about that is first I did ‘West Side Story’ in 2007, and my leading man was a senior in high school, and I was 24 at the time. The worst part of it was that his dad was the director. It was kind of awkward kissing him. The weird part of it is that when I did ‘Bye Bye Birdie,’ the dad was my ‘husband,’ playing Mr. MacAfee.”

So Rachel, when playing Peter Pan, did you get to soar over the stage? “Ha,” laughs Rachel. “No, I actually wore ‘wheelies,’ the tennis shoes that have the wheels in the back of them. The theatre is basically a garage on a big cement platform, so there are very limited special effects. It was outdoors and by the zoo. It was very hot during our performances, and if the wind was just right, you got a great whiff of the animals at the zoo.”

Continue reading Bloomington Edge Dancer Rachel lives, and gives, a life of music

Introducing the 2012 Hawkettes

Back row: Danielle, Jade, Emily, Kelly, Stephanie, Amanda, Eve. Front row: Shiresse, Katelyn, Asst. Coach/ Captain Ashley, Asst. Captain Kim, Kristen, Taylor.

The Big Vanilla Athletic Club was once again the site of the tryouts for the  Hawkettes, the dance team of the Chesapeake Bayhawks. This year brings big changes to the squad.  Assistant Coach Becca has joined the Washington Redskins Cheerleaders, and Captain/Coach Joanna has taken on the role of Coach.

Ashley and Joanna teach the routine.

Joanna and the judges watch a video for a potential dancer.

3 year veteran Kim is now Assistant Captain.


Congratulations, Becca!





Video: Dolphins prelims

Dolphins Cheerleaders Make the Squad

Sean Logan
Miami Dolphins

At every Dolphins home game, the cheerleaders help contribute to the pageantry of the fans’ gameday experience.
The girls don’t hit the field, though, until they make it through a rigorous tryout period, which includes several rounds of cuts.

To determine who would represent this year’s team, the girls had to perform in a dance-off in front of a live audience of Dolphins fans and a panel of judges that would seal their fate.

Even for those with plenty of experience, the live tryout can still be a source of anxiety.

“Oh my goodness, the nerves,” said Amy, 25, who has been a Dolphins cheerleader for the past several seasons. “I can say that I get just as nervous now as I did five years ago. It never goes away.”

Their journey to making the squad, of course, doesn’t begin with the final performance. In the several weeks leading up to Fin Fest, new candidates had the opportunity toparticipate in cheerleader prep courses to catch themselves up to speed. Those who decide to go through with a tryout must participate in a boot camp with the returning members, who also have to perform again to regain one of the coveted spots.

From there, the cuts began and a pool of finalists was chosen for the final performance.

“We were just run, run, run,” Amy said, referring to the boot camp. “You learn dances, you learn style, you learn personality to try to make you glamorous for the whole big show today.

“It’s the final judgment.”

What started out as a group of about 300 girls was quickly whittled down to 79 finalists for the final performance on Saturday. During the first half of the final show on Saturday, the girls were introduced and performed in groups. Once the groups wrapped up, each girl picked a song and hit the stage by themselves.

Having the fans attend what is essentially a live tryout is certainly an added element for the candidates, but Madill said that their presence helps relieve some of the tension.

“The fans pump you up when you hear them cheering for you,” Amy said. “It’s so much better to have them there because it takes the pressure off the judges you know are staring at you.

When the show was completed, and the new cheerleaders were selected, the team was revealed for the first time on the field at Sun Life Stadium in front of a group of fans at Fin Fest.

SI.com: Timberwolves Dancers

Click here to check out Sports Illustrated’s photos of the Minnesota Timberwolves Dancers in action!

HTC Finalists at the Texans Draft Party

The finalists for the 2012-13 Houston Texans Cheerleaders got a taste of what it’s like to be on the team at the Texans draft party this week. The candidates performed, took photos, and signed autographs for fans in attendance. Click here to check out some photos on the Texans website.

More from Eagles Cheerleader Auditions

Click here to check out photos from The700level.com

Photos: Denver Broncos cheerleaders’ athletic 2012 squad ahead of actual team

By Michael Roberts
Apr. 27 2012

The Broncos spent the first night of the NFL draft picking absolutely no one after trading down twice. But another Denver team is ready for the season. This past weekend, the 2012 Broncos cheerleaders squad was announced, and while all-man Sacha Heppell didn’t make the final cut, the women who did are incredibly athletic, as seen in photos of the finals shared by DenverBroncos.com. Check out a sampling below. They’ll get you ready for some football.

[photo gallery]

Meet Me In St. Louis – The 2012 St. Louis Rams Cheerleaders Final Auditions

The St. Louis Rams have one of the most impressive cheerleading squads in the NFL.  Now I may be a little biased because when I was growing up in Los Angeles, the Rams were my favorite NFL team.  I grew up watching Roman Gabriel and the Fearsome Foursome.   I agonized when the Rams seemingly lost every year in the playoffs to the Dallas Cowboys in the early 70’s.  I endured quarterbacks Vince Ferragamo, Dante Pastorini, Bert Jones, and a bevy of pretty boy signal callers.  And I remember the Embraceable Ewes, the Rams first attempt at fielding a professional cheerleading squad.

So you can say, I have had a long love affair with the Rams.  They were my team as much as I can call any NFL team my own.  But when the Rams left Los Angeles in 1995, the realities of teams moving on to greener pastures kind of killed that.  I have since become a season ticket holder to the San Diego Chargers, the only remaining team left in Southern California.  NFL football is no longer a life or death existence for me.  Its just an enjoyable way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

But you never forget your first love and as my “hard core” passion for NFL football has waned, I still have a special place in my heart for the Rams…the St. Louis Rams.

This past Tuesday, I was fortunate to cover the 2012 St. Louis Rams Cheerleaders Final Auditions.  And let me say, that passion was rekindled.

The 2012 St. Louis Rams Cheerleaders final auditions were held at The Pageant Theatre in the Delmar Loop district.   Fans were lined up well before the doors opened at 5:00 pm.  The festivities were scheduled to start at 6:30 pm and would include an interview portion, a swimwear segment and a final dance audition.

This was my first pageant style audition final and I was concerned about where I would be able to shoot from, so I got to the venue a little early to check out the floor plan and the lighting.  My concerns were unwarranted because venue was amazing and Keely Fimbres, the Rams Director of Special Events, ensured that I had full access to cover the event.

And it was an amazing event, non stop action from the moment the finals began…but I am getting ahead of myself.

When I arrived the girls were finishing up a last minute run through.  Upon completion of the rehearsal, the girls queued up for make up and hair.  With 51 finalists, this was a major undertaking, but one well worth the effort for this was not an audition as so much as it was a formal performance in front of a live audience.

While they were getting made up, the Captains arrived.  Three of them would be on the 2012 squad and two were retiring from the squad  They would be leading off the festivities with a performance, but I took the opportunity to take a few posed photographs of them in their Angela King designed uniforms.

2012 Captain Christa

2012 Captain Ashley

2012 Captain Tiffany

Retiring 2011 Captain Shannon

Retiring 2011 Captain Megan L.

Continue reading Meet Me In St. Louis – The 2012 St. Louis Rams Cheerleaders Final Auditions

Laker Girl Jenn

At the Top of Her Game
Laker Girl Jennifer Albeanu is dancing for one of the most recognized teams on Earth.
Rafu Sports Editor
Rafu Shimpo
April 25, 2012

As the Los Angeles Lakers prepare for the 2012 playoffs, one member couldn’t be happier to be a part of all the excitement. Though her name isn’t widely known, her refreshing smile is seen by millions, during games at Staples Center, at Lakers community events around Southern California and nationwide on television.

Jennifer Megumi Albeanu is a member of an exclusive sorority. She is a Laker Girl.

“I would never have thought I could accomplish such a big goal,” said the 29-year-old from La Habra. She managed to catch the eye of the judges during tryouts last year and went on to earn a spot on the roster of dancers who keep the home crowd entertained during breaks in the game.

“The auditions are crazy, because there’s 600 girls here and only 22 make the team,” she explained. “I feel very blessed to have been chosen for the team and to be on an NBA court, to represent one of the biggest organizations in the NBA.”

The tryouts are a logistical madhouse, with each young woman having only a few seconds to make an impression.

“I would hope that they saw my dancing ability,” Albeanu said. “I feel that as far as clean, classic style goes, that’s an area where I’ve been strong. Other NBA teams may have a different style they’re looking for, but I hope the Lakers saw a strong dance background from me.”

Dance was not something Albeanu found interesting at a very early age. It took a fair amount of prodding from a grade school friend to finally coax her into giving it a shot in 1993.

“My parents always encouraged me to dance, but it was my best friend in first grade who approached me to try out for her team,” she recalled.

By the end of her third-grade year, she had made the Squirettes team from Dansations Studio in La Habra, where she continued to dance through high school, college and into adulthood. She also participated in gymnastics and cheerleading at Whittier Christian High School, both of which eventually gave her a skillful edge over other Laker Girl hopefuls.

Albeanu directed much of the credit for her success toward her parents, Japanese natives Jun and Eiko Kawai. She described them as being atypical Asian parents who steered her toward pursuing her dreams, rather than a relentless regimen of academics.

“They encouraged me to do whatever I wanted to do. They were very supportive of me dancing,” she said. “I also rode horses, and that’s definitely not a typically Japanese thing. They were always supportive of anything I wanted to accomplish.

“They’re fairly Americanized. Of course, they’re still Japanese by culture, but they haven’t fit the super-strict stereotype. They’re pretty normal people, very loving parents.”

They did, however, send her to Saturday Japanese school, which she said she didn’t appreciate much.

“I hated it at the time,” she admitted, “but now I can read hiragana and katakana and a little bit of kanji, so I think it was a good thing for me. I wish I had liked it at the time.”

After earning her degree in journalism from Cal State Long Beach, Albeanu spent several years coaching dance and cheerleading at the high school level, as well as at summer dance camps for young girls.

She had always had the idea of dancing professionally in the back of her mind. “I had seen some of the older dancers at the studio who had been Lakers or Clippers dancers,” she explained. “Looking up to them, I always felt I’d like to do that, and I started feeling in junior high that I wanted to try.”

The opportunity came up in 2010, when she joined an audition to dance for Chivas USA of Major League Soccer, made the squad and danced for two seasons.

As much as she enjoyed her time with Chivas USA, Albeanu said there is simply no higher achievement than donning the purple and gold of the Lakers. After trying and failing at auditions three straight years, she made the cut, and recalled her first appearance as almost dream-like.

“It was a surreal feeling, having grown up in L.A. and knowing the Lakers Girls as such a big name,” she said. “To finally find myself on the court during the national anthem with all these basketball players you see on TV standing next to you, it was surreal. At the same time, I had to focus and remember that this is my job.”

The Laker Girls maintain a roster of 22 dancers, rotating and keeping a squad of 18 on the court. They learn a dozen or so routines for the season, mostly with professional choreographers, but some they arrange themselves.

Albeanu can’t remember any particular mistakes, but said she has made many. She said that fortunately, she hasn’t had a Cinderella moment – in which a shoe goes flying.

“Having grown up in L.A. and knowing the Lakers Girls and to finally find myself on the court during the national anthem with all these basketball players you see on TV standing next to you, it was surreal,” Albeanu said of her debut with the dance team.

“That’s probably the hardest thing, to be reminded that I’m human after all. My goal is to do clean routines, so I practice a lot,” she said.

As with any attractive young woman whose job it is to interact with occasionally unruly spots fans, Albeanu acknowledged there is a certain “creep factor” involved in her high-profile position. The Laker Girls are, after all, professional athletes, but she admitted that most pro athletes don’t wear a skimpy, two-piece uniform.

“For the most part, the fans are pretty good, but we have a few [problems] here and there,” she explained. “Luckily, I feel the organization protects us well, by not putting us into situations that could create a stir.”

She said they need to keep a smile and trust everything is okay, but that it can be critically important to remain aware of one’s surroundings.

She must keep aware of her own skills; Laker Girls are all signed to a one-year contract. To continue, they must audition again – with the hundreds of other hopefuls.

Albeanu hopes to continue advising and coaching cheer and dance after her Laker days are finished, hopefully at the professional level. She also said she is very near her next big step: starting a family with her husband, Tim.

“I don’t want to wait too long. My parents don’t want me to wait,” she said. “My dad’s a big baseball fan and he had a dream about us having a son, so he saw our son in a baseball jersey. I guess that’s a little bit of a hint.”