2012 Anaheim Bolts Dance Team Auditions

The Anaheim Bolts begin their second year of play in the Professional Arena Soccer League and on Sunday, they held auditions for the 2012 Anaheim Bolts Dance Team.  I was there to cover all the action for UltimateCheerleaders.com.

Registration was at 9:00 am and the auditions were scheduled to begin promptly at 9:30 am.  Because I got home rather late from the previous night’s Charger game, I arrived at the Double Tree Hotel around 9:15 am to get set up for what would be a long day.  I introduced myself to Lynae de Leon, the Anaheim Bolts Dance Team Director and Bernie Lilavois, Co-owner and coach of the soccer team.  We chatted for a bit about the evolution of the team and the cheerleaders and how in the second year of existence, both sides of the organization faced the same challenges in building awareness and support throughout the community.  Lynae indicated that seven veterans were trying out again this year, which meant that there were approximately eight open positions.  With forty girls in attendance, ranging in age from 18 to 30, there was a very good chance that several rookies would make this squad.

A short time later, the guest instructors arrived and as I said in my Charger Girl report of a few days ago, there was a strong L.A. Clippers Spirit presence at auditions.  Lynae, of course, was a former Clippers Spirit dancer as were three of the guest instructors: Nicole, Lauren P. and Rhea.  Retiring Bolts Dancer Ashley was the final guest instructor.   And one of the judges, Taylor Hooks, was also a former Clippers Spirit dancer and the Director of the Bolts Dance team for most of last year.

Lynae and Bernie addressed the girls before the auditions to discuss their organization and what they were looking for in a dancer.

Lynae talked about the day’s audition process and introduced the judges and the guest instructors.

At 9:30 am, the auditions began with a brief warm up and stretching session led by Nicole Cohen, the former Clippers Spirit dancer who also happens to be the UCLA Dance Team coach.

 

After the warm up session concluded, Nicole along with her assistants, taught the audition routine by introducing it in 8 count segments.

When the audition routine was demonstrated, the girls were given several minutes to rehearse the material.

At 10:20 am, the first round began.  Girls were brought up in groups of two to perform the routine in front of the judges.

After each girl had performed the routine, the judges excused themselves to review the score sheets and to determine the first round cuts.  Twenty minutes later, Lynae and the judges returned.  Of the thirty eight girls that started the auditions, only thirty would be continuing on with the audition.  Eight girls were let go at this point in the process, but not before Lynae encouraged them to keep working on their technique and try out again next year.  Bernie also let them know that they were welcome to come to a game and support the squad and see what game day is all about.

It was a little after 11:30 am and the next phase of the auditions began.  Nicole was back with her assistants to add more steps to the audition routine.  All in all by the end of the instruction, the routine would be a little more than a minute and a half, but first things first…more instruction and more rehearsing.

 

 

After the instruction portion, the candidates were once again allowed a few minutes to rehearse the entire routine.  While there was a lull in the action, I snapped a few photos of the Lynae and the judges, one of whom was a familiar face…former Charger Girl Tiffany.

I usually take a photo or two of the dance team director for my article…so here’s the official photo of Lynae.

And here’s the unofficial photo of Lynae…demonstrating the proper posing technique of a cheerleader.

Still got it.

A little after noon, the second round of judging began.  The remaining contestants were called back to perform the entire routine before the panel of judges.

At 12:45 pm, the judges retired for lunch and to deliberate over the candidates.  At 1:25 pm, the judges reconvened in the ballroom to reveal the results.

The girls anxiously waited to hear Lynae call out their audition number.

Of the thirty girls who began round two, only twenty four would make it through to the next round including all seven veterans.  Those girls whose numbers were not called were excused for the day.  Once again, Lynae encouraged them to try out again next year.

The next phase of the auditions began with interviews.  The ballroom was cleared and the girls were called up in groups of six.  The judges asked them a series of questions, some serious and some humorous, to get a sense of how they would respond in a public speaking setting.   We have to remember that the dance team represents the organization in many community service events and selecting the “right” girl involves more than just being a good dancer or being attractive.

So here’s a list of some of the questions asked.

  • “Why do you want to be a Bolts Dancer?”
  • “How do you think it will be trying to balance work, school and the Bolts?”
  • “What is the your favorite thing about being a Bolts Dancer and what’s your least favorite thing?”
  • “If you could have one super power, what would it be?”

I thought all of the girls answered the questions in a professional and conversational manner, as you would expect a polished public speaker to do.  None of the girls were tongue tied or provided controversial answers that might provoke an undesirable reaction from the public.  So, in my estimation, all the girls passed this portion of the audition with flying colors.  Fortunately, there would be no further cuts this day as all 24 girls were named finalists.

It was 2:06 pm and the final scheduled portion of the audition began with the individual dance.  Candidates were instructed to make a semi-circle and called to the center of the dance floor to perform at least six eight-counts of original dance.  There was no judging during this session, only the chance to show that you belonged on the team.

As the final dancer performed her original dance routine, I pretty much concluded my day of shooting as I accidentally dropped my camera and broke my external flash.  It was too dark in the hotel ballroom to shoot without a flash, so I picked up the pieces of my flash and packed up my gear.

Lynae called all the remaining girls to the dance floor one more time.  She broke the girls down into small groups and they perform the audition routine a few more times for the staff still in attendance.  I took the opportunity to video a couple of the routines with my iPhone.   I have attempted to link a video below (we will see if I was successful).  As you can see it was quite dark.  I guess I was fortunate to drop my camera when I did because the auditions were pretty much over…and I guess my flash needed a tune up anyway.

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/48049035[/vimeo]

It was a little after 3:00 pm and the girls were excused for the day.  And my day was over as well.  It was a long day…a tiring day…but a great day of shooting.  If you are in Anaheim in the fall and winter, be sure to check out an Anaheim Bolts game.  The soccer is fast paced and entertaining…and the dance team is spectacular.

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I would like to thank Bernie Lilavois, Lynae de Leon, and the staff of the Anaheim Bolts for allowing me the opportunity to cover their 2012 dance team auditions.  I had a great time.

For more cheerleader photos and articles, please visit my personal blog: thehottestdanceteam.wordpress.com.

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